Planckendael

Zebra Plays Outside for the First Time at Planckendael

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A newborn Grevy's Zebra colt has joined the herd at Planckendael in Belgium! The colt, born December 2, has been named Oscar. He joins a herd of eight other Zebras, including his year-old sister Noni, mom Betina, and father Chris.

Grevy's Zebras, also known as Imperial Zebras, are the world's largest living species of horse. These horses are territorial and live in small groups that consist of a several females and one dominant male. Non-dominant males form separate 'bachelor' groups. Individual Zebras have stripe patterns on their hind legs that are as unique as a human's fingerprint.

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Grevy's Zebras are the most Endangered of the three species of Zebra, with an estimated 2,500 individuals left in Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Over the past 30 years, their numbers have decreased by 80 percent. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, these Zebras have undergone one of the greatest reductions in habitat range of any African mammal. This habitat loss and degradation is largely due to overgrazing by livestock. Zebras are forced to compete with livestock not just for food but also for limited sources of water. They are also threatened by poaching and disease. 

Zoo Planckendael participates in the European breeding program to conserve this species, and also supports the Marwell Wildlife conservation project in Kenya. Using transmitters attached to collars, the group collects data on the movements and territories of wild Zebras in order to set up effective management and conservation strategies to save the species. 


Baby Koala Noses Its Way Out of the Pouch at Planckendael

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The Koala family in Planckendael has had a baby! After seven months, Dad, Goonawarra, and Mom, Guwara, welcomed their little bundle, who recently announced itself from Mom’s pouch with a fairly loud squeak! Koalas are timid, sensitive to stress and fussy eaters. It can be difficult to see them in zoos, but this little one made it easy to snap some photographs. The baby seems to be most active in the afternoon.

Like other marsupials, the baby is born after approximately 34 days, though underdeveloped. Emerging hairless and blind and about the size of a bean, it makes its way into the mother’s pouch, where it attaches itself to the nipple. There, in safety and security, it continues to develop and grow over a period of about six months. Then they are ready to peek into the world, as this little one has done.

Once the gender of the baby is known, he or she will receive an Aboriginal name with a beautiful meaning, starting with the letter N -- thus following a tradition that all born at the zoo in 2012 will have names beginning with an N. 

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Photo Credit: Planckendael / Jonas Verhulst


First Red Panda Birth at Planckendael!

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For the first time in Zoo Planckendael's history, a baby Red Panda has been born! The timid little new born is difficult to spot, but if you're lucky, you'll catch him scampering from one nest box to another under the watchful eye of her mother, Lolita. The female cub, named Nangwa (Tibetan for "appearance") by keepers, is an ambassador for her imperiled species. The Red Panda is listed on the IUCN Red List as "Vulnerable" because of habitat loss in their native Nepal. Timber from their natural environment is increasingly cut down for fuel and construction. Additionally, their reddish-brown fur is highly sought after.

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Photo credit: Planckendael


Grevy Zebra Foal for Planckendael

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There is a new baby Grevy’s Zebra, at KMDA Planckendael, born last Monday evening. Mom Betina gave birth to a strong and healthy female foal weighing just over 66 pounds (30 kg). She looks just like a mini-version of her mother and has been named Noni, an African name meaning gift of God.

Grevy's Zebra are endangered; Planckendael takes an active part in the European breeding program for this zebra species and has done so successfully. There are now 5 in Planckendael Grevy's on African Savannah living with their giraffe herd: Mom Betina, mares Fanny and Asra, breeding stallion Chris and now Noni, the new foal.

This is the first foal of young stud Chris. He arrived at Planckendael last year as a new breeding stallion and immediately took to his task! After about 13 months gestation, he was father. Noni is the fourth foal for Betina.

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Photo Credit: Planckendael


Baby Giraffe Born in Belguim

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There's a brand new baby giraffe calf on the savanna at the KDMA 's Planckendael in Belgium. Born to mom, Diamond, in late July after a gestation period of 15 1/2 months, the newborn is probably a male, weighing about 132 pounds (60 kg). The mother gave birth peacefully over 3 1/2 hours in the stable of her lodge, with her keepers nearby. That is a long time for a giraffe birth, but it is shorter than it was for Diamond the first time she gave birth. The calf was on its feet in only 20 minutes and is estimated to be 5' 9' (1.8 meters) tall.

Once the baby's gender is confirmed, they will start a poll for names on their website, There will be five African names the keepers provided from which to choose.

The newborn is getting used to the outdoors first in a small part of the savanna arena. The door remains open to the stall so mother and baby can go in or out as they please. Soon the new calf will be able to explore the greater plains together with his or her family, to which baby makes five:  Mom Diamond, Sarah, Barbie, and the lone male, Karega Baridi.

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Photo Credit: Planckendael/KDMA

Did you know that giraffes are are the tallest land animals in the world and yet they have only seven cervical vertebrae, just like a mouse (and like us!)?



Baby Giraffe Drops 6 Feet into the World!

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Planckendael Zoo in Antwerp rang in the New Year with bells and whistles with the birth of a baby giraffe. New mother Barbie is caring for her calf in the warm stable where visitors can admire them for now. The little calf was born yesterday at around 3 pm. First his two front legs dangled out en then his head followed. It all happened very fast. He fell almost six feet before hitting the ground! The actual birth lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. After 30 minutes the "little" guy was already trying to balance on his long legs. This is Barbie’s second calf. In early 2009 she gave birth to a daughter, Kianga. Beginning this spring, the newborn can be seen running around on the savannah with his 6 family members, as well as antelopes, impalas and the strange-looking helmet guinea fowl.

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Rare Debut of Asiatic Lion Cubs

Belgium's Planckendael Zoo has something to be very proud of. Five tiny Asiatic lion cubs made their public debut today, and the quintuplets are healthy, happy, and ready for mischief. Mom keeps the little rascals under control, but her own amusement is palpable in photos taken earlier today. Wild Asiatic lions are in danger of extinction, and only 411 individuals remain today. Breeding efforts like these help to bolster the reserve population as efforts to increase wild populations continue.

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Photo Credits: Planckendael Zoo


Belgium Welcomes First Baby Snow Leopard

Belgium's Planckendael Zoo is proud to announce the debut of Laila, the first Snow Leopard cub ever to be born in the country. A short while after her birth in April, Laila's mother Maili's health declined rapidly and, sadly, she did not survive. Planckendael keepers stepped in and have raised the orphaned cub by hand. It is believed that only between 4,000 and 6,000 Snow Leopards remain in the wild. Laila represents an invaluable new bloodline for the European Snow Leopard Breeding Program.

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Photo Credits: Zoo Planckendael

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