Paignton Zoo

Zoo Keepers Make It Rain For Endangered Frog

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Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has bred a Critically Endangered frog for the very first time.

Keepers from the charity’s Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates Department used artificial rainstorms to help set the mood for the Lemur Leaf Frog, a species found mainly in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama.

Paignton Zoo is one of only four collections in the UK working with this species. Keeper Andy Meek, from the Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates Department, explained, “We have a total of 18 tadpoles, a number of which have now become full froglets. We also have 10 adults. The species is Critically Endangered. There is a studbook currently being set up to manage this species in Europe. This is a first for Paignton Zoo, so I’m really pleased.”

The keepers prepared a rain chamber using a water pump and a timer system to make it rain every few hours during the day. The rainfall and the humidity together helped to replicate the sort of conditions the frogs would encounter at the start of the wet season, which is when they breed.

This is a tiny but welcome success in the face of the huge extinction crisis facing amphibians.

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3_2016 09 PZ adult lemur leaf frog 1Photo Credits: Paignton Zoo

The Lemur Leaf Frog (Agalychnis lemur) is a slender, lime-green frog with bulging eyes and no webbing on hands and feet. It is a nocturnal tree frog associated with sloping areas in humid lowland and montane primary forest.

Their eggs are usually deposited on leafs; the larvae wash off or fall into water.

This endearing little frog also has a trick up its sleeve: it can change color. Light green during the day, and it turns a less obvious reddish-brown at night when it is active.

It was once considered to be reasonably common in Costa Rica, but most populations have now disappeared. The species is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The huge declines are probably due to the chytrid* fungus, which is decimating amphibians around the world.

(*Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease in amphibians, caused by the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a nonhyphal zoosporic fungus. Chytridiomycosis has been linked, by experts, to dramatic population declines and extinctions of species in western North America, Central America, South America, eastern Australia, and Dominica and Montserrat in the Caribbean.)


Rare Lions Cubs are the Pride of Paignton Zoo

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A pair of male Asiatic Lions born June 16 at Great Britain’s Paignton Zoo are two of just 15 born in zoos around the world so far this year. 

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Photo Credit:  Paignton Zoo
 
Only about 500 Asiatic Lions are found in the wild today, all living in India’s Gir National Park & Sanctuary.  These cats once lived across southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, and India.  The subspecies is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Hunting and habitat destruction through the centuries have caused the cats’ decline.

The cubs’ mother, Maliya, has kept the cubs tucked away in the birthing den for several weeks.  The zoo staff is pleased with how Maliya, a first-time mother, has been caring for her babies with the help of her mother, Indu, and the cubs’ father, Lucifer. 

Asiatic Lions are smaller than Africa Lions and have a distinctive fold of skin on the belly and a smaller, lighter-colored mane on adult males.


‘Tall Order’ for Giraffe Keepers at Paignton Zoo

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo. The male calf was born to mother Janica on the morning of May 19. Sadly, his mother rejected him, so zookeepers have stepped in to bottle feed him.

Senior Keeper, Craig Gilchrist, said, “He has taken milk from us; he is getting the hang of it. Mammal keepers, Helen Neighbour and Jim Dicks, are doing the feeding. He is separated from the group but can see them all. For the first few days, it is important to keep him separate to allow him to bond with the keepers so he feels comfortable enough to feed from them. As soon as possible, he will be reintroduced to the herd so he doesn’t forget he is a giraffe!”

Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, added, “At this stage we don’t know why Janica has rejected him. Giraffe mothers are fickle beasts. Sometimes they will rear their calves, sometimes they won’t. For example, Janica reared her first, Tonda, who is now the breeding bull at Chessington Zoo, Surrey, but declined to rear her second Valentino, who was successfully hand reared by the keepers, reintroduced to the family group, and is now in Port Lympne Zoo, Kent.”

Paignton Zoo is going to get through a lot of milk over the next few months. Craig added, “At the moment we need about 4 to 6 litres of gold top milk each day. He will take in around 10% of his body weight in milk each day and gain weight just as quickly. As he grows, so will his milk requirements.”

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4_2016 05 PZ giraffe 3Photo Credits: Paignton Zoo

Hand rearing a giraffe is a lot of extra work and commitment for the keepers. “He is fed 4 times a day and could need milk for up to 9 months. We will start weaning him when he is around 5 to 6 months, depending on how he gets on.”

The calf stands at nearly six feet tall at birth. The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. The mother gives birth standing up, and the fall breaks the umbilical cord. The calf can stand and run within a few hours.

Father, Yoda, came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born on 14th November 2004. He arrived at Devon in September 2006. Janica came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The Zoo’s other adult female is Sangha, who came from Liberec Zoo, also in the Czech Republic. The other youngsters at the Zoo are Otilie, who was born in September 2012, and Joanna, born in January 2014 (both to mother Sangha) and Eliska, born in January last year to Janica.

All the giraffes at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park (a registered charity in the UK) are Rothschild’s Giraffes.

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Kangaroo Joey Tumbles Into the Sunshine

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A Western Grey Kangaroo joey emerged into the sunshine recently at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon, UK.

The rather ungainly exit from its mother’s pouch was probably the youngster’s first attempt. Born in May or June last year, it’s been developing in its mother’s pouch for months.

Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, “It’s been peeking out for a while, but the weather was just too chilly and wet for it to want to come out completely...and who can blame it!”

Photographer, and regular Paignton Zoo visitor, Miriam Haas, who took the photos, said, “It [the joey] spent a good 10 minutes or more enjoying the sunshine before returning to the safety of the pouch.”

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The Western Grey Kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus (also referred to as a Black-faced Kangaroo, Mallee Kangaroo, and Sooty Kangaroo) is a large and very common kangaroo found across almost the entire southern part of Australia.

The Western Grey Kangaroo is one of the largest macropods in Australia. An adult can weigh 28–54 kg (62–120 lb) and have a length of 0.84–1.1 m (2 ft 9 in–3 ft 7 in), and a 0.80–1.0 m (2 ft 7 in–3 ft 3 in) tail. They stand approximately 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) tall.

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Lemurs, Tigers, and Pumpkins, Oh My!

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It's Halloween, and that means zoo animals around the world are enjoying encounters with pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes.  Animals' reactions to pumpkins vary, but critters may sniff, munch on, or completely destroy their pumpkin treats.

The pumpkins are more than a seasonal celebration - they serve as enrichment for zoo residents. Enrichment provides physical, mental, or sensory stimulation and encourages natural behaviors in animals.  Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Lion Cubs 9982 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
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Photo Credits (top to bottom)
Ring-tailed Lemur:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Galapagos Tortoise:  San Diego Zoo
Komodo Dragon:  San Diego Zoo
North American River Otter:  San Diego Zoo
Gorilla:  Paignton Zoo
Asian Elephant:  Oregon Zoo/Shervin Hess
Sumatran Tiger:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
African Lion:  Columbus Zoo & Aquarium/Grahm S. Jones
Red Panda:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Spider Monkey:  Paignton Zoo
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko:  Dallas Zoo


Baby Giraffe Being Raised By Zoo Keepers

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe born at the United Kingdom’s Paignton Zoo on January 11 is thriving under the care of zoo keepers after her mother rejected her.

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2015 01 PZ giraffe 2Photo Credit:  Miriam Haas/Paignton Zoo  

Keepers are not sure why the mother, Janica, refused to care for her female calf, which has been named Eliska, but they have wholeheartedly taken on the daunting task of caring for a six-foot-tall baby who drinks up to two gallons of milk a day.

Senior head keeper of mammals Matthew Webb, who has been helping to feed Eliska, said, “She will take in around 10% of her body weight in milk each day and gain weight just as quickly. She was 63 kilos (139 pounds) at birth, but as she grows, so will her milk requirements.”

Luckily, a local organic dairy farm has offered to supply the zoo with milk as long as Eliska needs it.  Eliska is fed four times a day and could need milk for up to nine months.  She will begin weaning at around five to six months of age. 

As soon as possible, keepers plan to introduce Eliska to the rest of the herd.  This is an important step and will ensure that Eliska knows that she is a Giraffe, not a human.  Paignton Zoo has successfully hand-reared one other Giraffe calf.

Rothschild's Giraffes, also known as Baringo Giraffes, are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Those living in European zoos are managed by the European Endangered Species Program.

See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.

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Pygmy Slow Loris Baby Is in Good Hands at Paignton Zoo

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Dedicated keepers at Paignton Zoo in England are caring for a rare baby that weighed little more than a CD at birth.

The Pygmy Slow Loris – which weighed just 22 grams when it was born - was one of twins born to a first-time mother. One twin did not survive, and keepers stepped in to save the other when its mother abandoned it.

For the first night Head Mammal Keeper Craig Gilchrist slept in an office at the zoo, feeding the tiny youngster every couple of hours. It was given a milk replacer using a 1 milliliter syringe and a small rubber teat.

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Seven mammal keepers now take turns feeding the tiny baby day and night. One takes the incubator home each evening. The baby needs more frequent feeds overnight as Slow Lorises are nocturnal and eat more at night.

Now, at around a month old, it has gone from 22 grams - less than a single AA battery - to over 30 grams – the weight of a dessert spoon. 

Keeper Lewis Rowden said, “You have to take care not to squirt the milk into the lungs – you have to let the baby suckle at its own rate. We are just moving on to feeding some solids now – small amounts of mashed boiled sweet potato.”

See and read more after the fold.

Continue reading "Pygmy Slow Loris Baby Is in Good Hands at Paignton Zoo" »


Paignton Zoo Welcomes a Giraffe Calf

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo in the UK! The female calf was born to mother Sangha and father Yoda on the afternoon of January 25.

“She was born during the day, which is unusual but not unheard of. Giraffes mostly give birth overnight,” said Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment. 

The yet unnamed calf is doing well and stands nearly six feet tall.

The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. Mothers give birth standing up – the calf's fall to the ground breaks the umbilical cord. The little calf's head is protect by small, knoby horns. Calves can stand and run within a few hours of birth. 

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See a video of the birth:

 

Paignton Zoo's giraffes are a subspecies called the Rothschild or Baringo Giraffe. Rothschild's Giraffes are classified as Endangered, and their breeding across European zoos is managed by a European Endangered Species Program. 

Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born in November 2004. He arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2006. Sangha came from Liberec Zoo in Slovakia. The Zoo’s other female is Janica, who came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The other youngsters at the zoo are Valentino, born to mother Janica in February 2012 and Otilie, who was born to mother Sangha in September 2012. A male calf was born in August 2013 to Janica and Yoda, but sadly, he died soon afterwards.


Baby Boom at the UK's Paignton Zoo

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Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has welcomed a crop of early summer babies. Among them is this Capybara, who was born on May 15, getting a nuzzle from mom. The Capybara hails from South America and is the largest rodent in the world. To aid them when in water, where they go for tender greens to eat and to beat the heat, they have webbed feet and thick fur -- and their eyes, ears, and nose are positioned high on their head, which they hold above the surface.

Just five days later, on May 20, this Brazilian Tapir was born. The Tapir uses its short, trunk-like nose to sniff its way through the forest, to pull leaves and shoots towards its mouth, and as a snorkel - they love water and are excellent swimmers.

And a Bornean Orangutan baby came into the world on April 11. In the wild, Orangutans are threatened by hunting, the pet trade, and the destruction of their rainforest habitat. Their forest home is rapidly being replaced by palm oil plantations due to a massive demand for this product in many of the foods we eat. You can help by looking at labels and switching to products that don't use palm oil. 

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2013 05 PZ yawning orang baby by Ray Wiltshire
Photo Credit: Ray Wiltshire


Paignton Zoo's New Baby Orangutan is a Girl

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Paignton Zoo's Orangutan mom Mali gave birth on May 11 to what keepers are 99% sure is a little girl. She is healthy and has bonded exceptionally well with Mom. Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said:  “Mali and baby are doing well. They have the largest of our Orangutan islands and an off-exhibit den to themselves. We hope that visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the youngster, which will become more mobile over the coming months."

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of its rainforest habitat. That forest is being destroyed to create plantations producing palm oil, an ingredient found in an enormous amount of products people use daily Given the declining populations, measures such as switching to alternative oil products and maintaining sustainable populations of Orangutans in zoos are becoming ever more important. Everyone can help by reading labels at the grocery store to determine what products are made without palm oil. 

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Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2 4: Ray Wiltshire, Photo 3: Simon Maddock

Bornean Orangutans have suffered declines and the population is estimated at around 50,000. To put this in context, there are fewer Bornean Orangutans in the entire world than there are human beings in Torquay (the population of Torquay is about 62,000).

Article continued after the fold:

Continue reading "Paignton Zoo's New Baby Orangutan is a Girl " »