San Diego Zoo

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

Semba's calf_RPZ_2

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

Semba's calf_RPZ_7

Semba's calf_RPZ_4

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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Baby Okapi Shows Off Stripes at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

OkapiCalfJacksonmedTammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.


Okapi mother Ayana watched over her 2-week-old calf as he took a break from nursing this morning at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The male calf, named Jackson, was born on July 6 and is spending time with his mother in the Okapi barn at the Safari Park as he gets to know his surroundings.
Okapi newborns can stand up within 30 minutes of birth and nurse for the first time within an hour of birth. They have the same coloring as an adult but have a short fringe of hair along the spine, which generally disappears by the time they are 12 to 14 months old. 
To honor those who devote their lives to animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, along with zoos nationwide, are celebrating National Zoo Keeper Week July 20 through 26. There are more than 6,000 zoo keepers across the U.S. who care for animals in fields that involve medical care, training, research, enrichment and education.  San Diego Zoo Global salutes the animal care professionals who contribute to wildlife care and help increase public awareness about the need to preserve habitats and the creatures that inhabit them. 

Baby Gorilla Born by Rare C-Section at San Diego Zoo

A baby Gorilla born by emergency C-Section at the San Diego Zoo on March 12 is recovering from pneumonia and a collapsed lung, but zoo officials are optimistic about her future.

BabyGirlGorilla2_webPhoto Credit: Tammy Spratt 

When 18-year-old female Gorilla Imani showed no signs of progress during labor, zoo veterinarians performed an emergency C-section, a very rare procedure among Gorillas.

The full-term baby Gorilla weighed 4.6 pounds and was delivered by a team of San Diego Zoo Global staff and outside consultants, including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from UCSD Medical Center. 

By the time the baby was eight days old, she was strong enough to breathe on her own without supplemental oxygen.  Veterinary staff were able to start giving the Gorilla bottles with an infant formula, which the baby Gorilla quickly gulped down.

“The baby Gorilla is in critical care, but we’re optimistic she will have a full recovery,” said Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services.

The baby, who has not yet been named, is the first for Imani and the 17th Gorilla to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Zoo officials said Imani is recovering well from her surgery.

See more photos of the baby below.

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Baby Giraffe Groomed for Introductions

1 giraffePhoto credit: San Diego Zoo

On December 31, a 10-day-old female Masai Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo took her first venture around her exhibit, meeting other members of her herd and running, kicking and appearing very comfortable with her new surroundings. The calf was born in the early hours of December 22 and, until today, has been in a restricted 'playpen' area of the habitat until animal care staff felt she was old enough to venture into the larger space. 

Mom, Bahati, introduced her new calf to the rest of the herd, after tenderly grooming her to make sure she was presentable enough to meet the rest of the family. 

Keepers report the calf is healthy and progressing very well, even though she is still getting used to her legs, as evidenced by a few spills taken during her morning run. She measured 6 feet 1 inch tall (185.4 cm) and weighed 157 pounds (71 kg) at birth. She may weigh as much as 500 pounds (227 kg) and stand up to seven-and-a-half-feet tall (229 cm) by the time she is six months old. 

Masai Giraffes are native to Africa and are threatened in some areas. Also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, the Masai Giraffe is the largest Giraffe subspecies and tallest land mammal on Earth.  

This is the tenth calf born to mother, Bahati; the father is the herd sire, Silver.  Other Giraffes in the herd include two adult females and a female youngster born last May. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can see the active and curious Giraffe calf, yet to be named, on exhibit in the Urban Jungle.  

Hand-raised Lion Cubs Growing Strong at San Diego Zoo Safari Park


Lions Izu and Oshana of San Diego Zoo Safari Park are parents again! On December 6, Oshana gave birth to two healthy cubs, one male and one female. Although Oshana is an experienced mom who nursed and cared for her previous litters, she shows no interest in nursing these two. We may find it upsetting, but animal mothers both in captivity and in the wild may reject their young for many reasons, and we don't always understand why.

Zoo staff are hand-raising this litter in the zoo's animal care center, so that the little Lions will be able to grow up healthy and safely. So far the yet-to-be-named cubs are doing well under the care of dedicated staff. Keep an eye out—zoo visitors will be able to see them in the coming weeks!

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2 lion

3 lionPhoto credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park. First photo credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo's Newest Ambassador Needs A Name!

The youngest member of the San Diego Zoo's animal ambassador team is a five-month-old Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth, and this female baby needs a name!

Photo Credit:  Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

The zoo staff has selected four names for the public to vote on:

Xena (pronounced ZEE-nah): The taxonomic superorder Xenarthra is comprised of Armadillos, Sloths and Anteaters.

Dulce (pronounced DUEL-say): This is Spanish for sweet

Guiana (pronounced gee-ON-a): Two-toed sloths are native to this region in northeastern South America.

Subida (pronounced soo-BEE-dah): In Spanish, this word means rise, increase, ascent, and way up.

Visit this website to cast your vote.    The baby Sloth is currently being trained to meet people up close during special animal presentations and outings.

Sloths are slow-moving, solitary, arboreal, forest-dwelling nocturnal herbivores, found in tropical forests and cloud forests in Central and South America. Their sharp claws are 3 to 4 inches long and come in handy for hanging onto trees. Sloths sleep 15 to 18 hours per day and (slowly) look for food the rest of the day.

San Diego Zoo's Pacific Pocket Mouse Nibbles on a Leafy Snack

PacificPM9-4-13webPhoto Credit, Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Global

A Pacific Pocket Mouse at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park enjoyed a late-night snack in the zoo's off-exhibit breeding facilities. The mouse is part of the first-ever breeding program of the critically endangered species. The program has yielded five litters of pups since June. Pacific Pocket Mice are nocturnal animals. True to the name, these mice are pocket sized—they weigh less than 9 grams. Aside from the occasional lettuce, they eat seeds and have been known to eat insects. Interestingly, these rodents don't drink water. Instead, they are hydrated from the vegetation they eat. The breeding program is managed by the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services. Scientists are working to increase the overall population and to maintain genetic diversity within the native-Californian species.

Okapi Calf Shows Her Stripes at San Diego Zoo


This 24-day-old female Okapi calf took her first stroll around her exhibit at the San Diego Zoo last week. She stepped out first thing in the morning with her mother, Safarani, who she stayed close to for most of the time. While she appeared a little tentative she was nevertheless still quite curious about her new surroundings. Okapis are naturally shy in the wild as well, relying on the thick foliage found in their environment to protect them from predators.

Born on May 19, she had up until that day been raised behind the scenes and out of public view in the Zoo's Okapi barn with her mom. The Animal Care staff report the calf is healthy and progressing well. In fact, she almost doubled her birth weight in a little over two weeks! This is the fourth calf born to Safarani and the 23rd okapi born at the San Diego Zoo.



Photo Credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

Okapis look a little like they might be related to horses or deer and yet have some stripes as if they were part zebra, but are in fact a relative of the giraffe. They are native to the Ituri Forest, a small,dense rain forest in Central Africa. The species is Near Threatened, mainly due to habitat destruction. It is believed there are currently less than 25,000 Okapis in the wild and less than 90 Okapis reside in zoos across the United States. 

UPDATE! Panda Cub's First Snow Day at San Diego Zoo

Panda 1

It was all about new experiences as the youngest member of the Giant Panda family, Xiao Liwu, got to play in the snow for the first time today at the San Diego Zoo. The seven-month-old cub explored his snowy exhibit and had fun climbing all over mom Bai Yun, playfully nipping and wrestling with her in the snow.

Over 15 tons of fresh snow was blown into the pandas' exhibit early in the morning on March 19th as part of an enrichment surprise for the pandas. The snow for the Giant Pandas was made possible by generous donors who contributed enough funds to the Zoo's online Animal Care Wish List to provide 30,000 pounds of snow.

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Photo Credits: San Diego Zoo

Watch the pandas enjoying their snow day: 

See more photos after the fold.

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