Staten Island Zoo

New Guy at Staten Island Zoo ‘Gets to the Point’

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Staten Island Zoo is home to a new African Crested Porcupette!

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Photo Credits: Staten Island Zoo

The male was born in early January and was donated to Staten Island Zoo by the Bright’s Zoo, in Tennessee, on recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program.  The new guy has been given the African name, ‘Bintu’, which means “precious/beautiful one”.

The African Crested Porcupine is the largest rodent in Africa. It lives in hilly, rocky habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy. “Porcupine” comes from the Latin ‘porcus’ for pig and ‘spina’ for spine. The name was given based on their appearance, as porcupines are not related to pigs.

Porcupines primarily eat roots, tubers, bark and fallen fruit. They are also known to eat cultivated root crops, and they are considered agricultural pests in some areas.

Wild predators include owls, leopards, and pythons. The porcupine warns predators to retreat by stamping their feet, clicking teeth, growling or hissing, and raising their quills and vibrating them to produce a rattling sound. If the predator doesn't retreat, the porcupine will run backwards and ram their attacker with the quills. Scales on the quill tips lodge in the skin of the predators, much like a fishhook, and become difficult to remove.

Crested Porcupines are terrestrial. They seldom climb trees, but they are able to swim. They are also nocturnal and monogamous. Porcupines prefer to reside, solitarily, among roots and rocks, and will often inhabit holes made by other animals. They reserve the use of burrows for larger family units.

Female Crested Porcupines will, generally, have only one litter per year. After a gestation period of about 66 days, one or two well developed young will be born in a chamber within a family burrow. The young weigh about 1,000 grams (2.2 lbs), at birth. They will leave the den, under adult supervision, about one week, after birth. Crested Porcupines reach adult weight (13-27 kg or 29-60 lbs.) at one to two years of age, and they are often sexually mature just before then.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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Lots of Lizards for Staten Island Zoo

Crocs_7_3Seven rare Chinese Crocodile Lizards recently were born at the Staten Island Zoo.  This may seem like a large litter, but the last litter included 11 babies!

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Photo Credit:  Staten Island Zoo

Chinese Crocodile Lizards are native to China and Vietnam, where they live in cool forests. These Lizards are semiaquatic, often sitting in streams or among vegetation, awaiting passing insects, worms, and tadpoles. Unlike most reptiles that lay eggs, they give birth to live young.

Due to extensive habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade, Chinese Crocodile Lizards are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Just over 1,000 of these Lizards are thought to remain in the wild.

See more photos of the Lizard hatchlings below.

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Baby Tamandua Hitches a Ride at Staten Island Zoo

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Staten Island Zoo in New York City shared with us the birth of a new Tamandua baby, born January 12. The male baby, MJ, was born to mother DJ and father EJ. He is doing well and is being raised by mom. 

Tamandua are a kind of anteater found in Central and South America west of the Andes. They have partially prehensile tails and spend much of their time in trees. Solitary animals, they are generally active at night, foraging in trees for food, mainly ants and termites. They have long tongues that can extend up to 16 inches (40 cm), but have no teeth to chew; instead, they have a gizzards that grind up food.

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2 tamoretPhoto credit: Steve Yensel (1-8) / Staten Island Zoo 

Both species of Tamandua, the Northern Tamandua and Southern Tamadua, are species of Least Concern on International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. 

See more photos after the fold!

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Playful Baby Binturong at The Staten Island Zoo

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What smells like popcorn, purrs like a kitten, and has a tail as long as its body?  Why, a Binturong of course! Meet the The Staten Island Zoo's newest resident a six-week playful and inquisitive Binturong named “Oliver Wolf.” The four-pound creature, also known as Bearcat, is a viverrid found in South and Southeast Asia. It is uncommon or rare over much of its range and listed as vulnerable because of a population decline estimated to be more than 30%.

Weighing 50 lbs or more at maturity, Oliver Wolf will eventually serve as an ambassador animal, meeting and educating the public about the plight of his species in the wild. 

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Binturongs are identifiable by a prehensile tail that is as long as its body and are classified as carnivores although they eat mostly fruit. They are related to civets and fossas. In the wild, Binturongs sleep during the day high in the forest canopy and love to bask in the sun. They play a special role in rainforest ecology by spreading seeds from the fruits they eat and subsequently poop out.

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From 2005 to 2009, the Staten Island Zoo exhibited the only Binturong in the New York metropolitan region and was among only 27 zoos in the country to have them in their collection. They are considered a “red” program in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) due to the low numbers available for breeding and thus low genetic diversity. The Staten Island Zoo participates in the international Species Survival Program the strategy of which is to add to the breeding population of threatened and endangered species.