Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Name These New Snow Leopard Cubs!


Syracuse, New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo is proud to announce the birth of its first Snow Leopard cubs in 14 years! Born June 14th to parents Zena and Senge, the cubs are set to be on exhibit daily from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. To mark the rare occasion, Rosamond Gifford Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a contest for the cubs.

Guidelines for the Snow Leopard cub naming contest:

  • Entrants may submit name suggestions via the zoo website at
  • Suggestions must be received by 4:00 p.m. on August 22.
  • Preference will be given to names that originate from languages of the Snow Leopards’ native countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar).
  • Entrants must complete all fields on the entry form; incomplete entries will not be considered.
  • The contest is open to those 5 and older.
  • Each entrant may submit two name suggestions – one per cub.
  • A committee at the zoo will select the top names of those suggested.
  • The top names will be posted on the zoo’s web site from August 27 through August 30 and the public will vote on their favorites.
  • The winning names will be announced at the zoo on September 4.



Photo credits: Amelia Beamish

Snow Leopards are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP)—a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. Snow Leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. It is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,500 Snow Leopards left in the wild. There are currently 137 Snow Leopards in 63 zoos in the United States.  As first time parents, Zena and Senge are genetically valuable within the captive population and will likely have the opportunity to breed again in the future.

Snow Leopards are found in the mountains of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar (Burma). They prefer steep, rugged terrain with cliffs, ridges, gullies and slopes interspersed with rocky outcrops. The cat’s habitat is among the least productive of the world’s rangelands due to low temperatures, high aridity and harsh climatic conditions. Very little is known about the social behavior of Snow Leopards in the wild.

Hey, Kid! Markhor Baby Welcomed at Rosamond Gifford Zoo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York welcomed a baby Markhor on July 20.  Born to parents Edith and Sunny, the 5.8 pound female kid is the first Markhor born at the zoo in nine years.

“The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has long been committed to international Markhor conservation efforts,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “We’ve been working on expanding our herd over the past year, and the addition of some younger animals is allowing us to make valuable contributions to the North American population.”

The Markhor is the largest member of the goat family, standing up to 45 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 250 pounds. There are several differences between the males and females of the species, with males having longer hair on the chin, throat, chest and shanks, and longer horns, which are up to five feet in length.



The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.  Its name comes from the ancient Persian words “mar” and “khor,” which translate into “the snake eater.” Although male Markhors have been known to occasionally stomp on snakes and kill them, they don’t actually consume the snake afterwards. Markhors are herbivores – the males are just protecting their harems (groups of females) from danger.

Photo Credits:  Amelia Beamish

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Meet Rosamond Gifford Zoo's First Baby Fennec Foxes in 21 Years!


Syracuse, New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced today the first birth of Fennec Fox kits in 21 years. The birth is a great breeding success for a species which is notoriously difficult to reproduce. Fennec Foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well.

Their large ears not only help them locate insects, but they also help them to dissipate the harsh desert heat. Long, bushy tails serve as built in scarves which Fennecs wrap around their noses to keep warm when temperatures drop at night.



Photo credit: Amelia Beamish, taken at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Fennec Foxes are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) - a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival.

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Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtles Hatch at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced that 27 Yellow-Spotted Amazon River turtles hatched at the zoo between April 5 and April 12. Named for the yellow spots on the side of its head, it is one of the largest river turtles in South America.

“The hatching of these once-endangered species is exciting for us, as many of them will enhance the exhibits at other accredited zoos around the country,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “Captive breeding programs are often critical in the survival of a species, and this is a success story we are proud to tell.”

Females typically lay two clutches of eggs each year, each with up to 50 eggs in it. They make their nests in sandy areas on the banks of rivers where the eggs will hatch two to three months after they are laid. In the wild, eggs are laid at the peak of the dry season so the nest will not be washed away.




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Photo Credit: Amelia Beamish/Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Webcam Watch! The Third Patas Monkey Baby for Rosamond Gifford Zoo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the birth of a third Patas Monkey. Parents Sara and M.J., welcomed the new baby – a boy, named Ty –  on January 17. “Ty is Sara’s first baby,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “She's proven to be an excellent mother, no doubt due to the skills she learned by watching and assisting her mother, Addie, care for D.J. and Kibibi over the past year.”

Patas monkeys are members of the Guenon family, a diverse group of African monkeys found from the rainforest of Western Africa through the savannahs of Kenya. In the wild, breeding typically occurs in the summer, which is the wet season, while births occur in the dry winter months. After an average gestation length of 167 days, the female gives birth to a single offspring. The nursing period extends for approximately six months.

In celebration, Friends of the Zoo funded the installation of a web cam for zoo fans to observe the monkeys online. Janet Agostini, president of Friends of the Zoo said, “Our group of patas monkeys is very active and this web cam will give people the chance to watch them as often as they’d like.”


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Photo Credit: Photo 1: Ashley Redhead, Photos 2-6:Terri Redhead

See additional photos and read more about Patas Monkeys after the jump!

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Name That Baby Penguin!

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Photo credit: Amelia Beamish

Onondoga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined the staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo yesterday to announce the earlier-than-usual arrival of the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin Chicks.

"I am pleased to announce that five Penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo this year," said Mahoney. "It’s always exciting when baby chicks are born, and so many in one year is great. We are fortunate to have such a thriving Penguin program and the credit goes to our talented zoo staff."

Two chicks were introduced at a press conference including the first chick of the year, which hatched on January 9 to parents Wylie and Mara as well as the most recent hatchling, which arrived on January 17 to parents Frederico and Poquita. Three other chicks also hatched on January 13 to Mario and Montana, January 14 to Jake and Bianca and January 15 to Phil and Carmen. Over a seven year span, a total of 34 chicks have hatched. 

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“It appears our mild winter weather started the breeding season a bit earlier than usual. It’s very exciting to be talking about penguin chicks so early in the year; perhaps it means spring will be arriving soon,” said Ted Fox, Zoo Director. “It’s wonderful that our zoo continues to play an important role in conserving this species. Like the chicks before them, many of this year’s babies will eventually end up at other zoos around the country to continue populating the species.”

Learn about the zoo's naming contest after the jump...

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Amur Tiger Triplets Visit the Vet

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An update on the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Amur tiger triplets from our recent post found here.

We reported that the cubs mother, Tatiana, 11, and father, Toma, 10, were introduced to each other this past December. The vivacious trio was the result. “Tatiana is an excellent mother,” said Tom LaBarge, curator of animals at the Zoo. “With the exception of occasional veterinary health checks, we’ll allow her to take care of the cubs without interference."

When the cubs were 26 days old, the time had come for that vet visit. County Executive Joanie Mahoney came to see it happen.

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Photo Credits: Amelia Beamish, Rosamond Gifford Zoo

And now you can see the check up too:

The cubs will be weaned and ready to go on exhibit in late August or early September.

Amur Tiger Triplets!


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three Amur Tiger cubs. Parents, Tatiana and Toma, welcomed the trio – two boys and a girl -- in the afternoon hours on May 7, the day before Mother’s Day. Mother Tatiana, 11, and father Toma, 10, were introduced to each other this past December. It is the second litter of cubs for Tatiana. Her first, consisting of Korol, Kunali and Naka, was born on June 7, 2004. Brothers, Korol and Kunali, now reside at The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, while Naka lives at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, where she has been recommended for breeding.


Photo credits: Courtesty of Amelia Beamish, AB Photography

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Baby Sloth Slinks into Rosamond Gifford Zoo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of its 44th Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth. Ocabo (Oh-cob-oh) was born on February 9; he is the son of Bite Lip and Beauregard. The name, Ocabo, comes from a Latin American word meaning “head,” and was chosen because of the young Sloth’s exceptionally large skull. After some initial supplementation from zoo staff, Ocabo is thriving and can be seen on exhibit with the other Sloths.


Photo credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Meet Ruth the Tiny Baby Sloth

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has an exceptionally sleepy and exceptionally adorable new addition - a 6-week-old baby Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth. Born underweight, Ruth as she has been named has bounced back thanks to keepers supplanting her nursing with nutritional formula. Now Ruth is happy, healthy and as active as Two-toed Sloth ought to be, which is to say, pretty laid back. Sloths are not on the endangered species list. However, their habitat is quickly being destroyed, leaving them homeless and vulnerable to a decrease in their population size. They are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) - a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. 

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Baby two-toed sloth rosamond gifford zoo 1_picnik

Baby two-toed sloth rosamond gifford zoo 1_picnik

Baby two-toed sloth rosamond gifford zoo 1_picnikPhoto credits: Amelia Beamish, Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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