The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating a baby bonanza – dozens of babies have been born at the zoo in the past few months. In fact, there are so many babies that the zoo is celebrating “Zoo Babies” month in May.
Photo Credit: Cassandre Crawford, Jeff McCurry, Cincinnati Zoo
All the little ones have kept their parents – and zoo keepers – busy. The three female African Lion cubs are particularly feisty, testing their “grrrl” power on a daily basis with their father John and mother Imani.
Other babies include three Bonobos, two Gorillas, a Bongo, a Serval, two Capybaras, a Rough Green Snake, Giant Spiny Leaf Insects, Thorny Devils, Little Penguin chicks and Kea chicks. “This is the largest and most varied group of babies we’ve had. We’re particularly excited about the successes we’ve had with the endangered African Painted Dogs and the hard-to-breed Kea,” said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo Executive Director.
See more photos of Cincinnati's Zoo's babies below.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s newest resident is a two month old male Serval kitten! ‘Zeke’ was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo, in Brownsville, Texas.
Photo Credits: Cassandre Crawford
The feisty boy is currently in quarantine, at the Zoo’s nursery, to ensure he is healthy before introduction to the other animals. He will remain in nursery, for the remainder of the spring. During this time, staff will also have the opportunity to work hands-on with him and prepare him for future participation in the Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program.
Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program is a unique experience that allows visitors, by special arrangement, to see some of the beautiful cats, up-close and without bars. Not only are guests allowed to witness the cat’s athletic abilities, they are provided an opportunity to learn more about their importance to the world and the challenges they face as a species. Zeke will, eventually, become a member of the Cheetah Encounter Show, which features cats with exciting running and jumping prowess.
The Serval is a medium-sized African wild cat. They have the longest legs of any cat, relative to body size. Most of the increase in length is due to the greatly elongated metatarsal bones in the feet. The toes are also elongated, and unusually mobile, helping the animal to capture partially concealed prey. The Serval also possesses an acute sense of hearing, which is attributed to their large ears and auditory bullae in the skull.
In the wilds of Africa, they prefer to inhabit the savanna. They do, on occasion inhabit mountainous areas, but tend to avoid equatorial jungles. They are able to climb and swim, but have no partiality to either.
The Serval is mainly nocturnal, and they generally stick to hunting of smaller prey. Because of their legs, they are record jumpers and are also able to run at speeds of, up to, 50mph /80 km/h. They are also known to be highly intelligent and lovers of mischief.
As adults, Africa’s Serval cats are one of the world’s most successful hunters. But as kittens, these future spotted killers are one of the cutest creatures you’ve ever seen. Making their debut this week in Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, the brother and sister Servals are just two months old. You can see them in the new Animal Training Session presentations held daily in the Zoo’s Safari Canyon theater at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Meet Sheldon, Point Defiance Zoo's baby Serval. In addition to little Sheldon, there are a few other young cats at the zoo right now - Kali the Tiger cub and Tien the baby Clouded Leopard. Keepers get them together for playtime both behind the scenes and now at certain times within public view so guests can enjoy their antics. Sheldon can always be identified by his big ears. That size, along with the ability to rotate them independently, allows them to pinpoint small animals close by when hunting.
The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a medium-sized cat found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, lives mainly in thickly
covered areas close to water. This species is
unusual in that it loves to play in the water. They practice leaping in it as well, a hunting method they use to catch birds in flight, as well as pouncing on hares and mole rats, which round out their carnivorous diet.
Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
Although the Serval is not considered to be at great risk in the wild, they are being subjected to increasing loss of their wetland habitats, which has led to population declines in certain areas. They are also extensively hunted for their fur.
Late last month, Zoo Boise welcomed two tiny new born Serval Cats. Servals are small African spotted cats. The kittens (one male, one female) are being hand-reared by zoo staff, because their mother was not caring for them properly. Visitors are able to see them in their incubator at the zoo's Simplot Education center.