Prague Zoo

UPDATE! Prague Zoo's Baby Elephant Learning to Use Trunk

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On February 11, Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic welcomed an Indian Elephant calf, which we originally covered a few weeks back. Now 23 days old, the calf continues to grow stronger and more independant under the watchful eye of mom, Donna.

While the calf builds relationships with the others in the herd and explores her habitat (sometimes on still-awkward legs), Donna is always close-by to provide help and encouragement with a little nudge from her trunk. Speaking of trunks, the baby has begun learning to use her own, following the lead of Mom and others. The calf is realizing it can be used to put things in her mouth, to communicate, and to act as a brace if she's unsteady or clamboring up from the ground. She gets exhausted running around with big sister Tonya; afterward she nurses and promptly curls up for a nap.

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Photo Credit: Tomas Adamec, Prague Zoo

Video of the birth and the calf's first days of life


Baby Elephant Birth the First in Prague Zoo's History!

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This baby Indian Elephant came into the world at 1:20 p.m. on February 11, at Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic. Very shortly after, the baby succeeded in getting to its feet. The next step was to nurse.  This is cause for extra celebration, as it is the first elephant born at the Zoo in their 82-year history. 

The birth follows on the heels of the growth of the Indian Elephant herd, when two female elephants arrived from Sri Lanka to join the male and three other females living at the zoo. This new calf's mom, Donna, was one of those females, and herself had arrived from Rotterdam, already pregnant! Jaroslav Simek, Prague Zoo's Deputy Director, said that this birth was very special as it is a great help in expanding the genetic base of European breeding of Indian elephants. 

The herd now lives in the newly completed large mammal pavillion and habitat created especially for them, which will open to the public on March 30. Zoo guests will then be able to see the baby for the first time.

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Photo Credit: Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Praha


Baby Gorilla's Arrival Celebrated at Prague Zoo

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The Prague Zoo received a very special Christmas present this year:  Western Lowland Gorilla Kijivu delivered a healthy baby boy on December 22, just a few months after another of her offspring died in a freak accident.

The baby’s delivery went smoothly with no problems, according to Prague Zoo staff.  Kijivu is an experienced mother, and this is her fourth baby with the zoo’s male Gorilla, Richard. 

In July, Kijivu’s second offspring, 5-year-old male Tatu, accidentally hanged himself with a climbing rope in the Gorilla enclosure.  This devastating event was called one of the worst tragedies in Prague Zoo’s history, and makes the new infant’s arrival even more significant for the zoo staff and the captive Gorilla population. 

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Western Lowland Gorillas are the most widespread of all Gorilla subspecies, inhabiting the dense rain forests of western and central Africa.  In some parts of their range, the population is decreasing by 5% each year as Gorillas are captured as pets or killed for bushmeat.  As timber and mining companies encroach on the area, valuable Gorilla habitat is destroyed.  The deadly Ebola virus is estimated to have killed up to one-third of wild Gorillas. 

Photo credit  Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

Two Rare Tayras Born at Prague Zoo!

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These two little female Tayras were born on August 8 at the Prague Zoo and are being successfully raised by their parents. Tayra babies are very rare. There are only three zoos in Europe who can actually breed this species. These babies are the second in the CZ; in 2011 the Prague Zoo bred them for the very first time in the history of Czech zoos. 

Two to four babies are the norm in a litter. These girls should grow to be about 24 inches (60 cm) long, plus an 18 inch (45 cm) tail. Most Tayras have either dark brown or black fur with a lighter patch on its chest. The fur on its head changes to brown or gray as it ages. Tayras grow to weigh an average of 11 pounds (5 kgms).

The Tayra is an omnivorous animal, from the weasel family. The species as a whole is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, but the northernmost subspecies, Eira barbara senex, is listed as Vulnerable. They live in the tropical forests of Central America, South America and on the island of Trinidad. Wild Tayra populations are slowly shrinking, especially in Mexico, due to habitat destruction for agricultural purposes. 

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Photo Credit: Prague Zoo

Tayras travel both alone and in groups during both the day and the night. They are expert climbers, and can leap from treetop to treetop when pursued; they can also run fast and swim well. Tayras eat mainly rodents, but also consume carrion, other small mammals, reptiles, birds and fruits. They live in hollow trees, burrows in the ground, or terrestrial nests made of tall grass. Tayras are opportunistic eaters, hunting rodents and invertebrates, and climbing trees to get eggs and honey. In Central Brazil they are called "Papa Mel" (honey eater). They are attracted to fruit and can be found raiding orchards.


Take a peek at Prague Zoo's baby Tapir!

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The Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo celebrated the birth of a Malayan Tapir on November 6.  Born to mother Ivana, the male baby is only the second Tapir ever born in the history of the zoo.

The baby’s birth lasted only 30 minutes, and the calf was immediately “alive and kicking,” according to staff reports.  For now, the calf prefers to stay close to Ivana in the zoo’s exhibit.

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All Malayan Tapir calves are born with a dappled brown and white coat, which offers excellent camouflage in its native southeast Asian rain forest.  By the time the baby is about six months old, it will develop the solid black and white coloration of the adults. 

Malayan Tapirs are endangered.  Once found throughout the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, their range has been drastically fragmented in recent years due to deforestation, damming of rivers, and illegal trade. 

Photo Credit:  Prague Zoo


Five Bat-eared Fox Kits are Zoo Prague's Newest Handful

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Prague Zoo has a new litter of Bat-eared foxes. The first weeks of their lives involve snuggling close to mom within a safe underground burrow, but the quintuplets are now venturing out into their exhibit. The adult foxes in the zoo's Bat-eared Fox family must patiently endure love bites and playful attacks from their young during these first weeks.

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Photo credit: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo


Giraffe Lovers Look No Further... Two Calves Born At Prague Zoo!

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It was a very busy weekend at Prague Zoo. Two Giraffes were born within 12 hours of each other! Three-time mother Diana delivered her 4th calf on Friday evening and nine-time mother Kleopatra gave birth to her 10th. Kleopatra is the oldest female Giraffe at Prague Zoo. These two babies are the 73rd and 74th Rothschild Giraffes ever  born at Prague Zoo. They are 3rd and 4th born this year. Rothschild Giraffes are an endangered subspecies of Giraffe, particularly at risk of hybridization with other subspecies. While difficult to "spot", one feature that distinguishes this subspecies from other giraffe subspecies is a 5th horn that sticks up out of the center of its forehead.

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Photo credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha

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Two Little Reindeer Born at Prague Zoo

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Prague's Zoo Praha has two new baby reindeer, a boy and a girl. The male was born on Friday the 13th and the female came along about three days later. They went out in the zoo's large paddock for visitors to see for the first time on April 20. The mothers can be seen with their babies following closely behind them.  The father of both is Mirda, who himself was born in Prague Zoo.

Their large, broad hooves spread apart to form a nearly circular print and help them navigate the soft ground that covers much of the tundra in which they live in the wild. They also aid in digging for food under the snow. 

Reindeer are a species of deer found in the far northern areas of arctic Europe, Asia, and North America extending onto the tundra above the tree-line. They are called Caribou in America. Domesticated for thousands of years, they were mainly used as beasts of burden and farmed for milk, meat and their hides, reindeer have been the economic basis of the Lapp culture. Today they are raised in many areas of the world outside of their native arctic.

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Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha


Double Delight: Two Rothschild Giraffe Babies for Prague Zoo

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There are two reasons to celebrate this month at Prague Zoo. After 14 months of gestation, two Rothschild Giraffe calves were born within days of each other. The first arrived on February 9, born to mom Nora, one of the best known animals at the Zoo. Nora is 13 years old and a very experienced mother -- this is her fifth baby and she successfully raised all but the first on her own. The father of the newborn is the twelve-year-old Johan. Their calf is a female and has been named Apolena.

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Just two days later, on February 11, another female in the herd named Eliška began to go into labor. She had not eaten anything since the morning and was nervously pacing up and down the dormitory. As if to lend support, Nora paid close attention to Eliška's process from the neighboring dorm. Eliška successfully gave birth to a little male, cleaning him thoroughly. He stood and suckled soon after. His name will be chosen out of three options by public vote.

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Photo Credit: Photos 1-4, Tomas Adamec/Prague Zoo, Photo 5: Martin Smrček/Zoo Praha


Ringing In The New Year With 6 Tiny Turtle Hatchlings

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Zoo Prague rang in the New Year with the hatching of six baby Leopard Tortoises. Three of the six had hatched yesterday and the remaining three emerged in time for New Year's day. The fourth largest Turtle species in the world, Leopard Tortoises can grow to be 28 inches long and weigh 120 pounds! The striking pattern on its shell gives the Leopard Tortoise it's name. While little is known about the reproduction requirements for these Tortoises, Zoo Prague were the first breeders of the species to learn that cool temperatures (between 10 and 15 degrees celsius) were needed for the initial development of their eggs.

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Photo credit: Peter Velenský, Prague Zoo

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