Prague Zoo

Prague Celebrates First Elephant Conceived and Born at Zoo


Staff at the Prague Zoo are celebrating the April 5 birth of a male Asian Elephant, the first to be both conceived and born at the zoo.

Other Elephants have been born at the zoo, but they were conceived at other zoos, and the females were subsequently moved to Prague.  Elephants are pregnant for an average of 640 days.

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Foto_1_L1010502_export – kopiePhoto Credit:  Miroslav Bobek/Prague Zoo

This was the first baby for female Janita and male Tamara.  Keepers monitored Janita closely in the weeks leading up to her due date.  Levels of progesterone were measured frequently – these levels drop to nearly zero when the birth is imminent. 

Keepers were present during the birth and monitored this first-time mom closely.  Though the birth went smoothly, Janita became aggressive toward her calf immediately after the birth.  The zoo’s veterinarians say that this is not unusual in inexperienced Elephant moms and may be attributed to the pain associated with giving birth. To keep the calf safe, keepers pulled him aside while Janita quieted down. 

The baby was then gradually brought closer to his mother, and her behavior changed.  About four hours after the birth, the baby nursed from Janita.

Keepers report that both Janita and her baby are progressing well.  Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to loss and fragmentation of habitat.  Elephants require huge home ranges to survive, so there are frequent conflicts with humans as their ranges shrink.  Elephants are also hunted illegally for their ivory tusks, which are present only in male Asian Elephants, though females may have small tusks present inside the mouth.

Baby Aardvark's Big Adventure

A baby Aardvark born last summer at the Prague Zoo recently explored his outdoor enclosure for the first time with his mother, Kvida.

12716273_955971561153441_1304517961057498001_oPhoto Credit:  Prague Zoo

The baby, named Kito, munched on some tasty mealworms - an Aardvark favorite - during his big adventure.  Kito’s expedition took place on a recent sunny winter day, and keepers report that Kito was very curious about his surroundings.  He climbed over logs and squeezed in between rocks, testing his skills.  Weighing nearly 50 pounds, Kito is strong and healthy. In the wild, baby Aardvarks remain with their mothers for about a year before moving off to live on their own. 

Aardvarks are native to Africa, where they emerge from burrows at night to feed on ants and termites.  They break open termite mounds using powerful font legs, and insects are taken up using their long, sticky tongue.   Up to 50,000 insects can be consumed in one night.

At this time, Aardvarks are not under threat, and so are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Giant Anteater Birth Is a First for Prague Zoo


Prague Zoo is celebrating yet another breeding success. On January 20, a baby Giant Anteater was born. For Prague Zoo it is the first baby anteater born in its breeding history. The proud parents are mom, Ella, and dad, Hannibal, who arrived at the zoo in summer 2014.

A baby Giant Anteater is truly an exceptional sight; it looks like a miniature version of its parents, and spends the first few weeks on its mother's back. When visitors carefully focus on the mom Ella, they will see the small anteater holding firmly on to her.

1 1IMG_9806_exportPhoto Credits: Prague Zoo /Petr Hamerník (Image 1) and Miroslav Bobek (Image 2)

Ella and Hannibal came to Prague Zoo in 2014, after a twelve-year break in the breeding of Giant Anteaters. Ella comes from Warsaw, and Hannibal from Madrid. They both grew accustomed to their new environment quite quickly, but it took roughly three months for them to bond. A certain role in this may also have been played by the fact that, in nature, male anteaters are normally larger than females, but for the Prague pair it was the opposite case. Ella, who is now three years old, was roughly one quarter larger than Hannibal when she arrived, and weighed ten kilograms more, even though they are both the same age.

Ella takes exemplary care of her baby, and, when she feels danger, actively defends it. The baby anteater currently weighs 1,990 grams (4.4 lb), and is doing well. Starting February 5, visitors to Prague Zoo have been able to see him in the ‘Exhibition of Giant Anteaters’.

For now, the mother and baby spend most of their time in the nesting box, which will remain covered for some time. Visitors will have the greatest chance of seeing them when Ella walks to the exhibition next door, where she gets fed around noon.

Giant Anteaters arrived in Prague Zoo in the 1950s, but attempts to breed them always ended in failure. That is why this year's baby is a huge success, and the breeders themselves are, obviously, extremely happy with the birth.

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the Ant Bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is one of four living species of anteaters and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa.

Giant Anteaters have a very peculiar appearance. Their tubular snout conceals a long, sticky tongue up to 60 cm long. They specialize in collecting social insects, especially termites and ants, of which they can consume up to 30 thousand a day (in the zoo they are fed a special mash). They rake apart hard termite mounds using their strong, long claws.

The Giant Anteater is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “Myrmecophaga tridactyla is at risk from habitat loss in parts of its range, and this is a significant threat to Central American populations in particular. Where this species inhabits grassland habitats it is particularly susceptible to fires. In Brazil, burning of sugar cane plantations prior to their harvest leads to the death of significant numbers of giant anteaters due to severe burn injuries (F. Miranda pers. comm. 2013). Animals are sometimes killed on roads or by dogs. Giant anteaters are hunted for food throughout their distribution, and are additionally hunted as a pest, for pets or for illegal trade in some parts of their range.”

“It has been recorded from many protected areas. It is listed on several national Red Data lists, and is protected as a national heritage species in some provinces in Argentina. There is a need to improve fire management practices, especially in sugarcane plantations and within the regions of grassland habitat occupied by this species. Population and genetic data, as well as habitat use information, are needed, especially for areas that are being subjected to land use change. A reintroduction program is being carried out in Corrientes province, Argentina.”

World's Tiniest Hoofed Mammal Born at Prague Zoo

A tiny Lesser Mouse-Deer was born on November 1 at the Prague Zoo.  This species is the smallest of all known hoofed mammals.  Adults have bodies about the same size as rabbits, have legs the size of pencils, and weigh only about four pounds.

DSC_5337_exportPhoto Credit:  Prague Zoo

Mouse-Deer fawns usually stand within 30 minutes of birth, an important survival tactic for these leaf-eating animals.  Females will safely tuck their fawns into the brush and leave them hidden while they go out to feed.  Fawns are weaned when three to four months old, and are sexually mature at about six months.

This fawn is the second born at the Prague Zoo since they acquired Lesser Mouse-Deer in 2011.  Also known as Lesser Malay Chevrotains, this species is found across Southeast Asia.  The wild population is not well studied, but for now, Lesser Mouse-Deer are not under significant threat.

Prague Zoo’s New Tapir Calf Was a Long Time Coming


Prague Zoo is very excited to announce the birth of a new star in their tapir nursery. A Malayan Tapir was born October 15th to mom, Indah, and father, Niko.

The birth of the new calf is also being celebrated as a big success for the zoo’s keepers. It is the first Malayan Tapir to be born in Prague after nearly 40 years. Prague Zoo and the Zoo Zlín are the only facilities in the Czech Republic where the Malayan Tapirs are kept.


3_PrahaTapirPhoto Credits: Petr Hamerník / Prague Zoo

Visitors to the Prague Zoo can now see the small baby tapir on exhibit. In the past twelve months, there have been just six Malayan Tapirs born in Europe. The Prague Zoo has been keeping Malayan Tapirs since 1967.

Mom, Indah, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 26, 2008. As a near two-year-old calf, she came to Prague from the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Sandwich, Kent, chaperoned by her older brother Vasan. It took no time for them to settle into their new home, within the Water World exhibit.

This new baby tapir is Indah’s first offspring, and she is proving herself to be a very good mother. In the coming weeks, keepers will be able to determine the sex, and then a proper name can be selected for the new baby.

The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of the five species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. The scientific name refers to the East Indies, the species’ natural habitat. In the Malay language, the tapir is commonly referred to as cipan, tenuk or badak tampung.

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Second Guanaco Birth of the Year in Prague


Zoo Praha, in the Czech Republic, welcomed their second Guanaco birth of the year. The new baby was born September 10th and has been enjoying the zoo’s outdoor exhibit with mom. 


3_11947891_10152947098272581_2237233441214893911_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Praha

The Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a camelid native to the mountainous regions of South America. Llamas are descendants of wild Guanacos that were domesticated 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. Andean peoples raise Guanacos for wool, meat, and skin and also utilize them as pack animals.

They are one of the largest wild mammal species found in South America. They generally stand between 3 ft. 3 inches to 3 ft. 11 inches (1.0 and 1.2 m) at the shoulder and weigh about 200 pounds (90 kg).

Guanaco live in herds composed of females, their young, and a dominant male. Bachelor males form separate herds. When feeling threatened, Guanacos alert the herd to flee using a high-pitched, bleating call. The male usually runs behind the herd to defend them. They are known to run at 35 mph (56 km/per hour).

Gestation for the Guanaco is about 11.5 months, with offspring being able to walk immediately after birth. Young Guanaco are called ‘chulengos’. Male chulengos are chased away from the herd at around one year of age.

The Guanaco is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Aside from being occasionally hunted by man, their natural predators include: cougars, jaguars, and foxes.

Prague Zoo Celebrates Newest Tapir Calf


An incredibly cute…and incredibly stripy South American Tapir calf was born, May 19, at Prague Zoo. The little male is the offspring of 15-year-old ‘Ivana’ and 12-year-old ‘Tex’. 



4_11351239_836023563148242_5206025150772566683_nPhoto Credits: Prague Zoo

The delivery was smooth, and Ivana immediately stepped into her role as new mom. Ivana has successfully reared two other calves, and so far, the newest baby appears healthy and content.

Father, Tex, is very attached to his mate, Ivana, and keepers decided not to separate them during the pregnancy and birth. Tex has been a model father, and has been responding very well to his new son.

South American Tapirs were first bred in Prague Zoo between 1950 and 1957.  Then, for a period of almost 47 years, there was not another tapir birth until the arrival of Ivana’s first offspring in 2004.

The South American Tapir, or Brazilian Tapir, is one of five species in the tapir family, along with the Mountain Tapir, Malayan Tapir, Baird’s Tapir, and the Kabomani Tapir. It is the second-largest land mammal in South America, after the Baird’s Tapir.

The tapir is an herbivore. It uses its mobile snout to feed on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches it tears from trees. Tapirs also enjoy fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.

The Brazilian Tapir is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Dwindling numbers are due to poaching for their meat and hides. Habitat destruction also plays a role in their endangerment. 

Grant’s Zebra Born at Prague Zoo

PragueZooZebra_byMiroslav Bobek

After 46 years of waiting, Prague Zoo is finally home to a brand new Grant’s Zebra foal! The young stallion is in excellent condition, and he is receiving the attentive care needed from his mother. 

PragueZooZebra_3_byJozef Sebíň

PragueZooZebra_4_byJozef Sebíň

PragueZooZebra_2_byJozef Sebíň

Photo Credits: Miroslav Bobek /Prague Zoo (Image 1); Jozef Sebíň /Prague Zoo (Images 2,3,4)

Grant’s Zebra is the smallest of six subspecies of plains zebra. They are native to Zambia west of the Luangwa River and west to Kariba, Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north to the Kibanzao Plateau. In Tanzania, north from Nyangaui and Kibwezi, into southwestern Kenya as far as Sotik. The subspecies can also be found in eastern Kenya and east of the Great Rift Valley, into southernmost Ethiopia.

The Grant’s Zebra is vertically striped in front, horizontally on the back legs, and diagonally on the rump and hind flanks. Shadow stripes are generally absent. Northerly specimens may lack a mane.

Grant’s Zebras eat the coarse grasses that grow on the African plains, and they are resistant to diseases that often kill cattle. Therefore, the zebras do well in the African savannas.

They mature to a size of around 3.9 to 4.6 feet (120 to 140cm) tall, and generally reach a max weight of about 660 lbs (300 kilograms). The Grant’s Zebra live in family groups of up to 17 or 18 individuals, and they are led by a single stallion. They live an average of 20 years.

Recent civil wars in its native area have caused dramatic declines in the Zebra’s wild population. However, they are still classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Playful Giraffe Calf Meets the Herd at Zoo Praha

10496192_10152172955692581_3537528698723972847_oBorn on August 9 at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Praha, this baby Giraffe is already integrated into daily life among the herd.

10580934_10152172955022581_8755031019253461923_oPhoto Credit:  Petr Hamernik

The male calf took his first steps within hours of birth to Fary, his mother.  When he was introduced to the rest of the herd, the other Giraffes reacted with great curiosity to the newcomer.  The calf ran, frolicked, and explored the Giraffes’ automatic waterers with interest.  He also got up close to zoo guests through the exhibit window.

Moving among the herd can be intimidating for a little Giraffe, so he still spends much of his time very close to his mother. 

Giraffes were once plentiful on Africa’s savannahs, but recent studies show that Giraffe populations are declining at an alarming rate.  

See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.

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Zoo Praha Breeds an Endangered Philippine Scops Owl


Zoo Praha has managed to parent-rear a Philippine Scops Owl chick. The endangered species of owl lives only in the northern part of the Philippines. Prague Zoo actively contributes to its protection in cooperation with the rescue station for owls on the Philippine island of Negros. So far, the sex of the chick is unknown. Currently Zoo Praha has one breeding pair of Philippine Scops Owls. The female came from Luzon Island and the male was reared at Wroclaw Zoo.




Photo Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo