Philadelphia Zoo

Philly Zoo’s Red Panda Twins Need Names


Philadelphia Zoo recently announced the birth of two Red Panda cubs. The twins, male and female, were born to parents Basil and Spark (both 5-year-olds), on June 26.



4_PhillyZooRedPandaTwinsPhoto Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

 “We are thrilled at the birth of these new cubs,” said Kevin Murphy, Philadelphia Zoo’s General Curator. “The birth is important in the Zoo’s efforts in Red Panda conservation. We work with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability. This birth marks an important step towards the plan.”

Mother and twins are doing very well. Spark, an excellent mother, is tending to the very active cubs. The duo are nursing from Spark, as well as eating independently. Their diet consists of fresh bamboo, grapes, apples and biscuits formulated for Red Pandas.

Keepers continue to observe the cubs and their mother, while providing as much privacy as needed. The cubs made their public debut on Wednesday, November 18.

Currently, the Zoo is enlisting the help of Zoo visitors and social media followers to name the Red Panda cubs. Today, November 25, is the final day to vote on the selected names for the twins.

To caste your vote, check out the Philadelphia Zoo’s special webpage:

The Zoo has preselected the following groups of names for the contest:

Ning (pronounced Nink) - male means of peace

Liling (Pronounced LiLink) - female means white Jasmine sound

Betsy - Ross

Benjamin – Franklin



Ceba - Tibetan for "dear to hold"

Pabu- Tibetan for "puffball"

Ponga-  (from Nepali nyala ponga, meaning "eater of bamboo") 

Kaala- (name used by the Limbu people of Nepal meaning "dark")

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New Lambs at Philly Zoo Are ‘Spot On’

11025948_10152719069257934_4040006812025222370_oKidZooU, at the Philadelphia Zoo, is home to two new baby Jacob Sheep! 



11018870_10152719069267934_1840938447650503660_oPhoto Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Born to mom, ‘Cambria’, both lambs are strong, healthy, and bonding well with their mother. The pair were standing, walking, and nursing within an hour of birth. 

The Jacob Sheep is a rare breed of small, multi-horned sheep. Mature rams weigh about 54 to 82 kg (120 to 180 lb), while adult ewes weigh about 36 to 54 kg (80 to 120 lb). They may have anywhere from two to six horns, but they typically have four. Both sexes grow horns, but females exhibit smaller, shorter, and more delicate horns than rams. They are ‘piebald’ (colored with white spots), and their most common coloring is black-and-white.

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Pride at Philly Zoo Now Complete

Lion Reunion

In early September, ZooBorns introduced you to four new African Lion Cubs, at the Philadelphia Zoo.  The cubs have now been joined by their father in the zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls exhibit.

Lion Reunion 2


10368807_10152478806807934_2393254229883012435_oPhoto Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Gradual reintroductions between the cubs and their father proved successful. The cubs are now in residence with their five-year-old dad, ‘Makini’, and the entire pride can be seen together, regularly, in the exhibit.

Two of the cubs were born on June 25, 2014, and the other two were born the next day on the 26th.  The proud mother is four-year-old ‘Tajiri’. They are the first lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1996!

The Philadelphia Zoo conducted a contest, through social media, and the public was able to cast votes for their favorite names for the cubs.  ‘Mali’, ‘Kataba’, ‘Sabi’, and ‘Msinga’ are already known to be as unique as their new monikers.  Kataba has marks on both front feet, Mali has no dye marks, Msinga has a lighter mark on the left front foot, and Sabi has a mark on the left hind foot.

The African Lion is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Main threats to lions include: killing to protect livestock and depletion of their prey. Habitat loss and conversion for agriculture have also led to a decline in some population sizes.

The Philadelphia Zoo works in partnership with the Ongava Research Centre (ORC), part of one of the largest private nature reserves in Namibia, Africa. Their research projects closely monitor the activities of lions in the wild, specifically, how lions form groups and how those groups expand and disperse.

New Pride at Philly Zoo


The Philadelphia Zoo recently celebrated the public debut of some amazing new residents: Four African Lion cubs!



PhillyZooLionCubs_3Photo Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Two of the cubs were born on June 25th, and the other two were born the next day on the 26th.  The proud mother is four-year-old Tajiri, and their father is five-year-old Makini. They are the first lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1996, and the quad makes their home at the zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls.

Keepers have tried to keep first time mom, Tajiri, as comfortable as possible and allow her as much space as she desires with her new family.  It will be a little while longer before keepers are allowed to get close enough to the cubs to determine their sexes. However, the cubs have been given names. The Philadelphia Zoo conducted a contest, through social media, and the public was able to cast votes for their favorite names for the cubs.  Mali, Kataba, Sabi, and Msinga are already known to be as unique as their new monikers.  Kataba has marks on both front feet, Mali has no dye marks, Msinga has a lighter mark on the left front foot, and Sabi has a mark on the left hind foot.

See more, learn more, below the fold.

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Philly Zoo's First Ever Black-footed Cat Kittens are Thriving!


Philadelphia Zoo's female Black-footed Cat Aza gave birth to a litter of kittens on April 8, 2014: the first Black-footed Cats ever to be born at the Philadelphia Zoo! Their names are Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Drogon and Viserion are male and Rhaegal is female.

Before making their debut, the kittens underwent a routine wellness check to make sure they’re healthy. In addition to weighing and sexing them, veterinarians completed full physical examinations of each kitten. They also gave the kittens dye marks so the keepers can tell them apart from a distance. Philly Zoo also baby-proofed the kittens' exhibit ahead of the big debut. They lowered the water level in the exhibit and added climbing structures so they could enter and exit their pool with ease, and before entering their exhibit, they practiced with different amounts of water in their indoor bedroom. They also added another feeding dish so Aza could eat separately from her kittens, and they placed the kennel they had been sleeping in inside the exhibit so they would have some familiar scents. A keeper is present to monitor them throughout the day to make sure they're maneuvering through their habitat well, but as you can see in these photos, they are feeling quite at home already.

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Just last week, the kittens received another checkup, which included vaccinations, reapplication of dye marks and weighing. Their weights now range from 631 to 757 grams (from a little more than 22 oz. to a little less than 27). All three babies are in great health.

These small but mighty cats are terrestrial and crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn). They are not great climbers, but are skilled diggers when looking for insects or creating birthing dens. They have been observed to have several hunting styles that include: fast hunting (running through and over vegetation, flushing out prey), slow hunting (slow, stalking movements- which indicates they are low to the ground in an almost serpentine motion), and finally "sit and wait" hunting (motionless vigilance at a rodent burrow waiting for an animal to come out of their den). All of these methods have proven successful for this cat. On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Black-footed Cat is listed as Vulnerable.


There's Snow at Philadelphia Zoo - Snow Leopard Cubs That Is!

The Philadelphia Zoo welcomed two Snow Leopard cubs to its growing animal family on June 9 when Maya, the Zoo’s 3-year-old female snow leopard, gave birth to two cubs in the afternoon. This is Maya’s first litter as well as for their father Amga, who is 5-years-old. 

Maya was in constant physical contact with them once they were born, caring for and feeding them. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff. There is video of them at a very early age after the jump.

Mother and cubs are thriving, and normally the cubs would have made their public debut at around 3 months of age, but it was delayed due minor surgery to correct eyelid abnormalities in October. In this condition, called an upper eyelid coloboma, a portion of the upper eyelid fails to develop properly, leaving a gap at the edge of the eyelid which can lead to eye irritation. The cause of this condition is not well understood, but it occurs in a variety of animals and in humans, and appears to be more common in snow leopards than in other species. The cubs have otherwise developed well, playing, eating, running and jumping normally - see the video of them playing with their mom after the jump.

Nursing crop

Snow 7

W mom


Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

More photos, videos and conservation information after the jump.

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Single Jaguar Cub A Welcome Addition

Lucha CU

On June 3, one tiny Jaguar cub was welcomed into the world by The Philadelphia Zoo. Kanga, the Zoo’s 10 year-old female, is the mother. The baby is the first offspring for Jutai, the Zoo’s 7-year-old male jaguar, who came to the Philadelphia Zoo in 2007 after being rescued as an orphan in Belize.

Jaguar cubs are essentially helpless, and in those early days Kanga was in constant physical contact with her cub from the moment it was born, caring for and feeding it. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and so the cub was monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff via video (see below). When they finally were able to get close enough to determine the gender they learned it was a male. They've named him Lucha.

Look back

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

Below is how the keepers watched as Mom Kanga cared for tiny Lucha back in June. The video below just following shows Lucha taking his first steps outside into the habitat with his mother, just a few days ago. 



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I Vant Them! Baby Vampire Bats!

Vampire bat baby crop
Two new vampire bats were born at The Philadelphia Zoo on March 9 and April 7, 2011. Though they ususally nurse for only three months, the babies are still able to be seen clinging to their mothers and are still nursing on her milk, as seen above. This one does look kind of cute and fuzzy in it's own way These bats do drink blood, so their teeth are few, but razor sharp. In the wild they hunt at night --usually feeding off sleeping cattle or horses -- and drink for about 30 minutes.

Bats have two means of locomotion: They are the only mammals that can fly, and the vampire bat is also able to run.Their small but strong legs can reach speeds up to 4.9 miles per hour!  The common vampire bat is found in the tropics of Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Philly Zoo Vampire Bat crop
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

Take a look at this video to see them in action, and learn more about this fascinating species:


Zoo Miami Makes History with Giant Otter Pups


For only the second time in history, Giant River Otters have been successfully bred at a North American zoo. Born January 31st at Zoo Miami, there are two pups, one male and one female, each weighing between 2 and 3lbs. While they might be small now, these pups will grow up to be truly giant at a length of 6ft and a weight of around 75 lbs.! This landmark event represents the culmination of years of collaboration between Zoo Miami, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Cali Zoo in Columbia and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment.



Photo credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami

Since their birth, the parents and pups have been left alone in seclusion because of how sensitive they can be to external activity. After giving the parents and pups several weeks alone to bond and establish themselves, they were briefly separated yesterday (for the first time) so that the Zoo’s veterinarian could perform a neonatal exam on the newborns.  Neither of the pups has opened their eyes yet but all indications from the quick exam are that they appear to be healthy and strong.

A first-time mother, Kara was born at the Philadelphia Zoo in March of 2005 and arrived at Zoo Miami on June 4th, 2008.  She is on loan from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources in Brazil.  The first time father’s name is “Witoto,” and he is on loan from the Cali Zoo in Cali, Colombia where he was born in April of 2004.  This is truly an international collaboration in an effort to preserve this extremely rare animal!  The pair has been a visitor favorite at “Amazon and Beyond” since the exhibit’s opening in 2008.

More photos below the fold!

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Smeagol! (the Aye-aye)

Meet Smeagol, the Philadelphia Zoo's new baby Aye-aye, named after the less than handsome character from the Lord of the Rings. These strange lemurs are the world's largest nocturnal primate and, despite their Gollum-like looks, they are shy and gentle. Born July 14, to the zoo’s female, named Medusa, it's a healthy 105g baby boy.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Philadelphia Zoo

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