Schoenbrunn Zoo

Vienna’s Giant Panda Twins Un-Officially Named

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In the past few weeks, around 12,000 fans of Tiergarten Schönbrunn’s Giant Panda twins cast their online votes for names for the popular, wiggly duo.

Almost half of the votes were in favor of the Chinese name Fu Ban, which translates to “Happy Companion, Happy Half” and refers to the fact that there are twins. Fu Ban is the name being given to the male cub. Fu Feng, the name given to the female, was chosen by the Zoo. Feng stands for “phoenix”, which together with the dragon forms the imperial couple in Chinese mythology.

“Ever since our first young Panda was given the name Fu Long, we were keeping Fu Feng in mind for a female offspring,” explains the Zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

The Panda twins were born to mom, Yang Yang, on August 7. They will be officially named on November 23, in a traditional name-giving ceremony. There will also be a big family celebration on November 27.

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4_Pandas_TGS_Zupanc_31Photo Credits: Daniel Zupanc/ Tiergarten Schönbrunn

 

Aside from their un-official naming, the twins were also recently weighed. Keepers took advantage of Yang Yang being away in the outdoor enclosure. The female offspring tipped the scales at 4.26 kilograms, while the male weighed 3.97 kilograms. Schratter remarked, “This is a fantastic weight. Compared to the other young Pandas born in Schönbrunn, this is exactly average. Fu Long was a little bit lighter at that age, our second offspring Fu Hu and the third one Fu Bao were a bit heavier.”

After the weighing process, the twins were of course returned immediately to their tree hollow in the indoor enclosure. The Zoo will allow Yang Yang and the twins to decide when they will make a public appearance for visitors. Towards the end of the year, they will probably be big enough to climb out of their tree hollow.

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UPDATE: Vienna’s Giant Panda Twins Keeping Mom Busy

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The Giant Panda twins at Schönbrunn Zoo are 18 days old and keepers report they are developing splendidly.

Mother Yang Yang is confident and relaxed in her care of the two young ones. Staff daily observes her (via a den camera) suckling them, cleaning them and keeping them warm. The babies also get more and more active every day. “The young Pandas stretch, wave their little paws in the air, and make first tentative efforts to crawl on their mother’s tummy,” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter. Their pink tinge is also increasingly being replaced by black and white fur, resulting in their looking more like miniature Pandas every day.

The next big step in the development of the Panda twins is the formation of their auditory senses, which takes place at about five weeks of age. On top of this, the young animals are still blind and will only open their eyes when they are approximately 40 days old. It will be the end of the year before they can really crawl and leave the breeding box.

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As we previously shared, the Panda mother will rear her babies in their breeding box, behind the scenes, which is out of sight of Schönbrunn Zoo visitors. At about four months old, the young Pandas will make their first excursions to the indoor enclosure, where the visitors will be able to watch them. The Zoo will do its best to keep Panda fans all over the world informed. At regular intervals, videos from the breeding box will be published on Schönbrunn Zoo’s website: https://www.zoovienna.at/ …YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thezoovienna … and other social media pages. There is also a public video screen in the Zoo that allows visitors to peek in on the new family.

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) also known as “panda bear” or simply “panda, is a bear native to south central China. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The Giant Panda is native to a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in neighboring provinces (Shaanxi and Gansu). As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. It is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Giant Pandas give birth to twins in about half of pregnancies, and generally, only one twin will survive. The mother will select the stronger of the cubs, and the weaker will die. Experts believe that the mother is unable to produce enough milk for two cubs, since she does not store fat. (The father has no part in helping raise the cub.)

When the cub is first born, it is pink, blind, and toothless, weighing only 90 to 130 grams (3.2 to 4.6 ounces). It nurses from its mother's breast six to 14 times a day for up to 30 minutes at a time. For three to four hours, the mother may leave the den to feed, which leaves the cub defenseless. One to two weeks after birth, the cub's skin turns gray where its hair will eventually become black. A slight pink color may appear on cub's fur, as a result of a chemical reaction between the fur and its mother's saliva. A month after birth, the color pattern of the cub's fur is fully developed. Its fur is very soft and coarsens with age.

The cub begins to crawl at 75 to 80 days of age. The cubs can eat small quantities of bamboo after six months, though mother's milk remains the primary food source for most of the first year. Giant Panda cubs weigh 45 kg (100 pounds) at one year, and live with their mothers until they are 18 months to two years old. The interval between births in the wild is generally two years.


Giant Panda Mom Has Her Paws Full

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On August 7th, not just one…but…two Giant Pandas were born at Schönbrunn Zoo!

Dagmar Schratter, Schönbrunn Zoo’s Director, remarked, “As we believe in natural rearing, we will simply be watching via camera what is happening in the breeding box. It had sounded as if there were two young animals squeaking, but the pictures only ever showed one. On Friday [August 5th], the keepers could see two babies on the screen for the first time.”

According to the Zoo, it happens quite often that Giant Pandas give birth to twins, but the mother usually only rears the stronger of the two. However, after the first few days, the two young offspring seem to be developing very well. Nevertheless, the survival rate for Pandas, in their first few weeks of life, is only by 50 percent. This is why according to Chinese tradition names are only given after 100 days of life.

Zoologist, Eveline Dungl, said, “Both little Pandas have fat little tummies, and Panda mother Yang Yang is totally relaxed”. The experienced mom cares lovingly for her babies and cleans and feeds the twins (with their estimated length of 15 centimeters).

Dungl added, “The little ones can be rarely seen on the pictures because Yang Yang warms them between her large paws most of the time. Their fluff gets more every day, and one can already make out the black and white marking. The sound of their contented noises, when they are being suckled or cleaned, can be heard quite clearly over the speaker.” The keepers watch the rearing round the clock via the box camera.

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4_Pandazwillinge4Photo Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo

 

For now, the Panda mother will rear her babies in the breeding box, behind the scenes, which is out of sight of Zoo visitors. At about four months old, the young Pandas will make their first excursions to the indoor enclosure where the visitors will be able to watch them. The Zoo will do its best to keep Panda fans all over the world informed: at regular intervals, videos from the breeding box will be published on Schönbrunn Zoo’s website: https://www.zoovienna.at/ and other social media pages. There is also a public video screen in the Zoo that allows visitors to peek in on the new family.

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) also known as “panda bear” or simply “panda, is a bear native to south central China. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The Giant Panda is native to a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in neighboring provinces (Shaanxi and Gansu). As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. It is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Continue reading "Giant Panda Mom Has Her Paws Full " »


Lynx Kittens Play All Day

20150717_091006_02_Zoo_Vienna_DxOTwo Lynx kittens born June 5 at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo like to play all day!  The kittens scramble up tree trunks and explore their naturally wooded habitat.  But when they take too many chances, mom grabs them gently by the neck and carries them out of the way.20150716_085211_Zoo_Vienna_DxO

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Foto_42_idPhoto Credits: Norbert Potensky, Franz Wunsch

The kittens are still nursing but have started tasting small pieces of meat.  Finding them in their wooded enclosure requires patience – their brown spotted coats provide excellent camouflage for the youngsters, who are about the size of housecats right now.

Lynx are well adapted to live in temperate forests.  Their huge paws act like snowshoes to prevent the cats from sinking into deep snow.  Tufts of hair at the tips of the ears may contribute to their excellent sense of hearing.

Although not listed as threatened, Lynx are under pressure from legalized hunting and loss of habitat in some areas.

See more photos of the kittens below.

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New Emperor Tamarin at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Schönbrunn Zoo’s mustache collection increased by one this spring. A new Emperor Tamarin was born April 26, at the Vienna Zoo.

The infant is frequently seen, riding piggyback, on the father or older brother. “The male Emperor Tamarins take on the care and rearing of the young. If the baby gets hungry, however, it is returned quickly to mother,” said Zoo Director, Dagmar Schratter.

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4_pa_baertigeraffennachwuchs3_animal_detail_801Photo Credits: Georg Blaha (Image 1), Franz Wunsch (Image 2,4), Norbert Potensky (Image 3)

The Emperor Tamarin is a species allegedly named for its mustached resemblance to the German Emperor Wilhelm II.  Both male and female Emperor Tamarins are known to sport the distinctive facial hair.

This species of tamarin is native to the southwest Amazon Basin, eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, and the western Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas.  They prefer Amazonian lowland and lower montane rain forests, as well as remnant, primary, and secondary forests.

They consume a wide range of specimens in their daily dietary routine, including: fruits, flowers, exude of plants (gums and saps), insects, frogs, and other animal prey.

The age of first reproduction in Emperor Tamarins is around 16 to 20 months old, with a gestation period of up to 6 months. Tamarins are seasonal breeders, and breeding is based around food availability, with most births occurring during the wet season when food resources are in abundance.

Tamarin species were once thought to be monogamous, but observations of Emperor Tamarins in the wild shot they often have a polyandrous mating system, with one dominant female mating with multiple males.

Due to the high rate of twins or multiples at birth, Emperor Tamarins rely on parental and paternal care to ensure infant survival. Helpers are either older female offspring of the dominant female that have remained a part of the group, or they are males that have frequent interaction with the dominant female. Infant carrying has a high energetic cost due to the relatively large fetal weight of infants to the weight of adults. Helpers provide the extra support needed for caring of multiple infants. Male Emperor Tamarins have been observed to spend the most time with infants, often carrying several while the mother forages for food. The males have also been observed to be more protective of the young and are known to react faster to distress calls.

Emperor Tamarins are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are currently no conservation efforts aimed directly toward this species of primates. However, their populations have been in decline due to threats of deforestation and human encroachment.   

 


Arctic Wolf Pups Explore Exhibit at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Recently, at Schönbrunn Zoo, in Vienna, five Arctic Wolf pups were seen exploring their exhibit for the first time, with mom, ‘Inja’. The pups were born April 25, in a protective, low-lying burrow in their forest exhibit enclosure. 

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3_pa_wolfswelpen2_animal_detail_801Photo Credits: Norbert Potensky

The curious wolf pups are eager to explore, but zoo visitors will need patience if they want a glimpse of the juveniles.  “The pups are still very timid and only take very short trips from the building. For Inja, it is her fourth litter, and as an experienced mother, she takes very good care of her offspring, said Zoo Director, Dagmar Schratter.

After three months, the pups will be weaned and begin to eat meat. Their current coloring is in stark contrast to the gleaming white fur of adult Arctic Wolves. “The white coat is an adaptation to their many months in their snow and ice-covered native habitat. Even the coat of young animals is every day brighter,” Schratter continued.

The Arctic Wolf is a sub-species of the Grey Wolf and is native to the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland.  Because of the isolation of their native habitat, they are not threatened by hunting or habitat destruction like their southern relatives. However, industrial development (mines, roads and pipeline construction) is gradually encroaching on their native territory, and will most likely interfere with food supplies, in the future. The Arctic Wolf is the only sub-species of wolf that is not classified as threatened.

They are smaller than Grey Wolves and typically grow to a length of 3 to 5.9 feet (including tail) and a max weight of 99 to 154 pounds.  In the wild, the Arctic Wolf survives mainly on muskox, arctic hares and caribou.


Baby Cheetahs Frolic at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Three Cheetahs born on April 16 are frolicking, playing with each other, and cuddling up with mom now that they are on exhibit at Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo.

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Gepard_06_TGS_ZupancPhoto Credit: Daniel Zupanc

At five weeks old, the Cheetah cubs, whose sex has not yet been determined, are already the size of domestic cats and tip the scales at around nine pounds (4 kg). The triplets also have roly-poly milk tummies.

“All three young animals are developing splendidly.  Two of the babies come out several times a day, the third one is a bit more timid and prefers to wait in the litter cave until his mother and siblings come back,” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

Baby Cheetahs grow very quickly. Schratter says, “Cheetahs are pure carnivores, but up to now the young are being suckled, although they have already broken their milk teeth. Before long, the little feline predators will be enjoying their first meal of meat.”

Once hunted for their fur, Cheetahs are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction and the lack of prey. Only around 10,000 of these animals still live in Africa. The Schönbrunn Zoo participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), despite the difficulty of breeding Cheetahs in a zoo setting.  The new triplets are the first Cheetahs born at the zoo in 13 years.

See more photos of frolicking Cheetah cubs below.

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Schönbrunn Zoo Welcomes Capybara Pups

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Introduced last April, Capybaras Nancy and Sam hit it off immediately at Schönbrunn Zoo in Austria. After a gestation period of about six months, Nancy gave birth to three healthy pups on November 29!

Capybaras are born well-developed and grow quickly. Pups are able to follow behind their mother almost immediately after they are born. Excellent swimmers, these rodents even have webbing between their toes. The three little ones have already ventured into their pool with mom. 

Capybaras are found throughout South America and eat mainly plants. The world's largest rodents, Capybaras can reach a shoulder height of about 1.6 feet (50 cm), and are most closely related to Guinea Pigs.

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Photo credits: Schönbrunn Zoo / Friedrich Mader (1); Daniel Zupanc (2-8)


Six New Baby Meerkats Make Their Own Little Mob at Schönbrunn Zoo

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Making their own little mob, no less than six baby Meerkats were born on June 2 at Vienna's Schönbrunn Zoo! Last year, Meerkats were voted to be the favorite animals there by zoo guests, so this big addition is exciting news.

“We are of course thrilled that all six are doing great at the moment,” says the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter. “At birth, Meerkats are blind and naked. They spent the first few weeks in the safety of their burrow but to the delight of the visitors, they are now already exploring their surroundings, running the rest of the clan off their feet.”

Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannas in the south of Africa. Typically, these small predators get up on their hind legs to watch out for possible danger. In a Meerkat colony, tasks are carefully distributed by a matriarch in the group (also called a mob). They also work together in raising their young whereby one of the animals always acts as “babysitter”. For the first few weeks, the six mini-Meerkats were suckled by their mother but since then, insects have been added to their diet.

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Photo Credits: Photo 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14: Daniel Zupanc, Photo 1, 8, 13: Tiergarten Schönbrunn/Norbert Potensky, Photo 4, 11: Walter Wodal,  

The plethora of pictures continues, after the fold:

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And Babies (Meerkats) Make Three for Schönbrunn Zoo

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Crowds of visitors can be found jostling for space in front of the meerkat enclosure in Viennas' Schönbrunn Zoo. The reason for this is the three baby Meerkats with their black button eyes and snub noses that are beginning to discover their surroundings.

“The lively triplets were born on February 20th, but as Meerkats are blind and naked at birth they spend their first few weeks in the safety of their burrow” says Dagmar Schratter, the Zoo’s director, who is delighted about the offspring of this popular species. “With ten animals we now have a really extended meerkat family”

The three mini-meerkats are still being suckled by their mother but in a few weeks time the first insects will be added to their diet. The mother is not the only caregiver for the young animals. Meerkats live in social groups and each animal has clearly defined duties. Only a few days after their birth, a member of the clan assumes the role of “babysitter” and keeps an eye on the little ones while they play with each other, dig around in the sandpit or get up on their hind legs like tin soldiers. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.

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Photo Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo/ Norbert Potensky