San Diego Zoo

Sumatran Tiger Born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Baby Tiger_WEB

A single male Sumatran Tiger cub was born at 1:54 a.m. Sept. 14, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail, to first-time parents Teddy and Joanne.

Although Joanne cared for the cub the first few days, keepers noticed the cub was losing weight, and felt he wasn’t receiving the proper care he needed to thrive. The Safari Park’s animal care team made the difficult decision to hand-rear the cub. He was moved to the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center, at the Safari Park, where he is now being cared for around the clock.

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Baby Tiger Feeding_WEBPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The cub is the 26th endangered Sumatran Tiger to be born at the Safari Park, and he is the first cub to be hand-reared at the park since 1984. At the care center, he’s being bottle fed seven times a day with an easily digestible goats’ milk formula, made especially for carnivores.

“We’re very happy with our little cub’s progress; he took to the bottle and started nursing right away,” said Lissa McCaffree, Lead Keeper, Mammal Department. “He’s been gaining weight very consistently each day, and last night he reached a milestone—he opened his eyes for the first time.”

The cub now weighs 3.36 pounds and is gaining strength in his legs, walking around his nursery enclosure. He’s also learning to make tiger vocalizations, such as meows, grunts, and low chuffing sounds. Chuffing is a vocalization tigers make as a way to express excitement, or as a greeting.

Guests will be able to see the cub in the near future at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center in the Safari Park during his bottle feeding times, which will be posted daily in front of the viewing window.

With the addition of this tiny cub, the Safari Park is now home to seven Sumatran Tigers. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran Tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020, unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it.

Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to conflicts with humans, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers who illegally sell tiger body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by avoiding products made with non-sustainable palm oil, an industry that harms tiger habitat; and by refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

San Diego Zoo’s Jaguar Cub Needs a Name

1_SanDiegoJaguarCub_byDebbieBealsZooBorns has been following the San Diego Zoo’s Jaguar cub since he was born, to mom ‘Nindiri’, on March 12th.  Our features, “Jaguar Cub Debuts at San Diego Zoo” and “Jaguar Cub Is a Handful…and Mouthful”, were filled with adorable pics and are testimony to why the cub has become so popular.



4_SanDiegoJaguarCub_byNancieCunninghamCaseyPhotos: Debbie Beals(1); Penny Hyde(2); Mike Wilson (3,5); Nancie Cunningham Casey (4); Neil Solomon (6)

The Zoo is asking for help in selecting a name for the amazing little cub. They have compiled a list of seven names and are encouraging fans and zoo supporters to cast their vote.

San Diego Zoo has set up a page, just for voting! Follow this link: or check out the Zoo’s facebook page for more info and updates:

The Jaguar is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. It is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and it is the largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States, Mexico, across much of Central America, south to Paraguay and into northern Argentina.

Continue reading "San Diego Zoo’s Jaguar Cub Needs a Name" »

Jaguar Cub Is a Handful…and Mouthful

SDZooJaguar_3_Nancie Cunningham Casey

San Diego Zoo’s photogenic Jaguar cub is proving himself to be quite the handful…and mouthful. 

SDZooJaguar_2_Debbie Beals

SDZooJaguar_4_Darlene McAfee

SDZooJaguar_1_Ion MoePhoto Credits: Nancy Cunningham Casey (Image 1); Debbie Beals (2); Darlene McAfee (3); Ion Moe (4)

ZooBorns introduced you to the yet-to-be-named-cub last week, with a series of adorable photos. He was born March 12th to mother, ‘Nindiri’, and he has been putting her mom-skills to the test.

The Jaguar is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. It is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and it is the largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States, Mexico, across much of Central America, south to Paraguay and into northern Argentina.

Unlike many other cats, Jaguars do not avoid water. They are known to be quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as deer, peccaries, capybaras, and tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.

Most Jaguars are tan or orange, with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some Jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.

Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.

Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young Jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.

The Jaguar is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. The loss of parts of its range, including its virtual elimination from its historic North American areas, and the increasing fragmentation of the remaining range have contributed to this status. Jaguars are still hunted for their attractive fur. Ranchers also kill them because the cats sometimes prey upon their livestock.

Jaguar Cub Debuts at San Diego Zoo

A three-week-old Jaguar cub made his first public appearance this weekend at the San Diego Zoo.

Born on March 12 to Nindiri, the male cub has just begun to explore the world outside his den.  The cub, who has not yet been named, is Nindiri’s third cub and weighs just under five pounds.

Photo Credit:  Ken Bohn

The cub’s eyes are now open and he’s becoming steadier on his paws, so the zoo staff feels he is ready to safely explore the different terrain outside his den.  So far, he has navigated through piles of hay and investigated a rock – both important steps in his development.

Jaguars are the largest cats in all the Americas and are powerful predators, able to kill prey in a single strike.  Their jaws are extremely powerful, enabling them to pierce the skulls of their prey with just one bite. 

Though they are widely distributed from Mexico to Argentina (plus a very small population in southern Arizona in the United States), Jaguars are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Primary threats include loss of habitat, illegal hunting, and persecution by farmers and ranchers.  

A Big Bottle For a Big Baby

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At three weeks old, a Greater One-horned Rhino calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has no problem with the super-sized bottle wielded by a zoo keeper.  This little Rhino gulps down a bottle every two hours and gains almost four pounds each day.

Born on November 27, the male calf, who has not yet been named, was cared for by his mother for almost two weeks, but he was not gaining weight as he should.  To provide the calf with the optimal care to thrive, he was taken to the Safari Park’s animal care center where he is watched around-the-clock, bottle-fed every two hours, and taken outdoors for exercise each day.

After only a week in the nursery, the little Rhino is growing:  he weighed 160 pounds at birth and currently weighs 190 pounds.  Adult Rhinos weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds.

Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. This species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching threats. There are an estimated 3,250 Greater One-horned Rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th Greater One-horned Rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this species. 

Photo Credit:  Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park




It’s All About that Pumpkin

African Lion Cub_San Diego Zoo

Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

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Daddy Day Care at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

LionDadCubIzuEvelyn_WebPhoto Credit: Ken Bohn

African Lion Cub, ‘Evelyn’, recently spent a beautiful morning, at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, tackling her regal father, ‘Izu’. Evelyn is one of four cubs who, for the first time, are sharing the Lion Camp Habitat with their father. Prior to this, the almost four-month-old cubs only had visual access to the adult male while being cared for solely by their mother, ‘Oshana.’

During the October 2nd photo-op, all four of the cubs eagerly ran into the grassy habitat with their mother, who stayed a short distance away.  Izu tried to remain patient as the cubs, three females and one male, took turns pouncing, climbing and sniffing at him, even swiping playfully at his tail.

The four cubs were born on June 22nd and are named ‘Ernest’, ‘Evelyn’, ‘Marion’, and ‘Miss Ellen’, in honor of longtime San Diego Zoo Global supporters Ernest and Evelyn Rady and Marion Wilson, and in memory of Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, the San Diego Zoo's first benefactor.

Visitors to the Safari Park's Lion Camp may see Oshana, Izu and their cubs daily.


Cheetah Cub Sisters at San Diego Zoo Safari Park


Two Cheetah cubs, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Animal Care Center, recently posed for a photo after a bottle feeding. The female cubs are being hand raised by animal care staff at the Safari Park and receiving around-the-clock care, which includes bottle feedings every few hours.

Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Global © 2014

The female cubs were born at the Safari Park's Cheetah Breeding Facility. As the mother, Allie, has been unsuccessful in raising her previous litters, animal care staff made the decision to hand rear these littermates, born on Sept. 1. 

The nearly three-week-old cubs are growing quickly and now weigh around 3 pounds each. They are becoming increasingly active now that their eyes are open and their vision is becoming clearer. Animal care staff says that the cubs are full of personality, noting that at only a few days old, the youngsters were already swatting and interacting with each other. 

"Every baby's different, but these Cheetahs really seem to be developing quickly in our eyes," said Eileen Neff, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "They are great eaters; they started playing when they were just three or four days old. They could barely walk at that time, so it was pretty interesting seeing them tumbling around with each other."

These cubs with be Animal Ambassadors and each will be paired with a domestic dog for companionship, as are all ambassador Cheetahs at the Safari Park and San Diego Zoo. The dog's body language communicates to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the Cheetah.

Visitors to the Safari Park may see the two cubs at the Animal Care Center from 9 a.m. for a few hours daily.

Fireball Fennec Fox at San Diego Zoo


The Children’s Zoo exhibit, of San Diego Zoo, has a dynamic new inhabitant, a three-month-old Fennec Fox cub!



SanDiegoFennecFox_3Photo Credits: Ion Moe (Photos 1,3,5); Deric Wagner (Photos 2,3)


The new ball of energy weighs just less than 2 pounds. He will remain in quarantine for a while, but will soon begin training for his new position as Animal Ambassador for his species at the San Diego Zoo. 

Animal Ambassadors serve an important role at the zoo. Their job is to help educate guests, especially children, by allowing them to get up close and learn even more about animals they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity with which to interact. This kind of intimate education encourages a vital interest and concern for species preservation.

Native to the Sahara of North Africa, the Fennec Fox is the smallest species of canid in the world. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

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Girl Power at Reid Park Zoo

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Reid Park Zoo, in Tucson, Arizona, had a special birth announcement last week. The zoo’s first baby African Elephant was born August 20th

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Semba's calf_RPZ_9Photo Credits: Reid Park Zoo


The female calf was delivered at 10:55pm on August 20, 2014 to mother, Semba, and father, Mabu. Although tiny in comparison to her parents, the yet-to-be-named calf weighed in at 245 pounds.

The new African Elephant calf is a first for Reid Park Zoo, but mother, Semba, has two older sons who were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Seven-year-old, Punga, and three-year-old, Sundzu, arrived at Reid Park with the rest of their herd in 2012. 

Mother, Semba, had been preparing for the birth of the new calf by gradually pushing away her youngest son, Sundzu, to feed on his own and encouraging his independent play.  As the matriarch in the zoo’s exhibit, Semba has also continued to strengthen bonds with the rest of the herd through play and interaction. Her positive involvement with the herd has ensured support from Lungile, the other mature female, and strengthens the support system she will need for her new baby.

African Elephants are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.  This is a step-up from almost 20 years ago, when the species was still considered endangered. The support provided by accredited zoos and wildlife refuges, and the conservation measures involving habitat management and law protection, have helped provide for the future survival of the African Elephant.

**Special thanks to ZooBorns reader, Liz Davis, for providing links and info about the new baby!

See more photos of the new baby below the fold.

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