Taronga Zoo

Meet Frankie, Taronga Zoo's Playful Kid

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These little goats just keep coming! Born Friday 9th August, Frankie is the new female kid at Taronga Zoo in Australia. Frankie needed some extra care from keepers after her mom, BJ, was not able to feed her. With the help of bottle-feedings, Frankie is healthy and kicking.  Just like her dad, Gucci, she has a very playful personality and has won the hearts of staff and visitors. Taronga Zoo's goats are part of an interactive exhibit called Backyard to Bush, which includes a farm area.

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Photo credits: Taronga Zoo

Addax Calf Adds a Boost to Declining Species

A delicate and rare Addax calf was born in early February at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  Named Yasna, which translates to ‘white rose’ in an African language, this little female calf is the third born at the zoo in the last 12 months.  Yasna is an important addition to the captive Addax population because fewer than 500 of these antelope remain in Africa’s Sahara Desert region.

Yasna has spent her first few weeks of life in hiding, which is exactly what this species would do in the wild.  She is now becoming bolder and mingling with the zoo's herd.




Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

Addax are distinguished by their 30-inch-long (80 cm) spiral horns, which are present on both males and females.  To escape the extreme heat of the desert, Addax find bits of shade and dig into the sand where they rest until sundown.  These nocturnal antelope feed on grasses and the leaves of certain shrubs. 

Because Addax are slow-moving, they are easy targets for hunters who prize Addax meat and hides, which are made into leather goods.  With the state of the wild Addax population so precarious, zoo breeding programs are vital to preserving the genetic diversity of this rare species.

UPDATE! Beau the Orphaned Echidna Now Has Spikes


You’ve been watching Beau the orphaned puggle (baby Echidna) grow up on the pages of ZooBorns ever since it was found on a hiking trail near Sydney, Australia and brought to the Taronga Zoo.   

Upon arriving at the zoo in October, Beau was about a month old and nearly hairless.  About a month later, you could see fine hairs beginning to sprout.  Now, Beau is growing the coat of protective spikes typical of adult Echidnas. 



Photo Credits:  Taronga Zoo

 “I’m thrilled with Beau’s speedy development!  With fur and larger spines, Beau certainly looks like an Echidna now!” said veterinary nurse Annabelle Sehlmeier, who also acts as Beau’s surrogate mother.

More agile and co-ordinated, Beau is also starting to explore the surroundings and exhibit Echidna behaviours.

“Beau’s become adventurous and now climbs out of the travelling box. When disturbed, the young Echidna will flinch, curl up, or dig into the dirt, which is exactly what Echidnas do,” Annabelle explained.

The puggle, which weighs about three pounds (1.3 kg), lives in a large plastic tub with dirt for burrowing, although it still finds comfort in its nesting box that contains shredded paper and a tea towel.


Orphaned Red Kangaroo Joey Rescued by Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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Workers at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia are currently hand raising a Red Kangaroo joey after it was found orphaned in the wild. The little joey was brought to the zoo's Wildlife Hospital where veterinarians examined the youngster to ensure its health. It was then assigned a vet nurse who will act as a surrogate mother. This surrogate will help the joey thrive and grow for the next few months until it is ready to be released back into the wild.

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Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo

The Red Kangaroo, endemic to Australia like all kangaroos, is the largest mammal found on the Australian continent. The species is very abundant across the majority of the country and is currently listed as a species of "least concern" by the IUCN.

Meet Jarrah the Quokka Joey from Taronga Zoo

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Jarrah is a six-month-old Quokka joey being hand-raised at Taronga Zoo by Keeper Kristal. Kristal was delighted to become a surrogate mum after the youngster left its mother’s pouch too early. At this age, the joey is tiny and needs full time care. 

For the next few months, wherever Kristal goes Jarrah will go too. By day Jarrah stays in a specially set-up nursery with a bag that mimics a pouch which the youngster can hop in and out of. While Kristal is doing office work, Jarrah likes to be extra close, curling up near Kristal’s chest. This makes little Jarrah feel extra secure.

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Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo

Read about Jarrah's nighttime care, and see more pictures, after the fold:

Continue reading "Meet Jarrah the Quokka Joey from Taronga Zoo" »

Taronga Zoo Sees Double with Birth of Two Critically Endangered Foals

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Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia have double the reason to celebrate with two Przewalski’s Horse foals born just three days apart, the first on January 29, and the second on February 1! Both foals are fillies, and will grow up to take part one day in the important breeding program for this endangered species.

Mothers Genghis and Suren are showing all the right maternal behaviors in caring for their offspring. Keepers have witnessed the foals feeding well from the time they were able to stand. Keeper Jackie Stuart observed, “Both foals are quite outgoing and enjoy a little gallop around the paddock and after a drink, have a nap in the sun at their mothers’ feet.” 

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Photo Credits: Jackie Stuart/Taronga Western Plains Zoo

“This is Genghis’s second foal, so she is taking it all in her stride and is less concerned and protective of her offspring," Jackie continued, "while Suren, a first-time mum, is being kept on her toes with her very curious foal.” 

Keepers have named one of the foals ‘Zaria’, meaning ‘sunrise’ in Russian, as foals are often born in the early morning. While the Zoo has named one of the foals, they are welcoming suggestions on a name for the second foal from members of the public via their Facebook page. The foal to be named is a curious but outgoing female -- and suggestions should also reflect the origin of the species being Mongolian or Russian. 

See more pictures of these foals after the fold!

Continue reading "Taronga Zoo Sees Double with Birth of Two Critically Endangered Foals" »

New Bloodline of Fennec Foxes Born at Taronga Zoo

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Australia's Taronga Zoo welcomed three Fennec Fox infants, the first to be born to a new breeding pair from Europe. The kits, which are just starting to emerge from their nest box, were born on December 19, 2012, a year after the zoo introduced their parents, Zinder and Kibali, a new breeding couple from Europe.

Carnivore Keeper Tamara Bell said, “Any new arrival is special, but what makes these Fennec kits even more important is that they’re the first offspring born to Zinder, the male who came from Germany, and Kebilli, the female from Poland. This means that these kits are not related to any of the Fennec Foxes here in Australia.” 

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Photo Credit: Rick Stevens

Aside from expanding the genetics in the Australasian region, the young Fennec Foxes have also provided a boost to the captive population of the species, which dropped to only six throughout Australia prior to 2010.

Fennec Foxes are the smallest of the canines, growing up to only 16 inches (40 cm) and weighing up to 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg's). Their distinct feature is their large ears that dissipate body heat and keep them cool. Commonly found in the deserts of Sahara and North Africa, Fennec Foxes are burrowing animals that dig tunnels as deep as 15 feet (4.5 m), where their kits are reared.  

Read more about the kits, and see more pictures, after the fold:

Continue reading "New Bloodline of Fennec Foxes Born at Taronga Zoo" »

Meerkat Pups Emerge From the Den at Taronga Zoo


Two Meerkat pups born on December 15 at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo are emerging from the den to explore their surroundings. This is the fifth litter of pups for their mother, Umi, who keeps a close watch on her adventurous pups.

Keepers named the female pup Zola, meaning “love,” and the male Kato, meaning “second born of twins” in an African language.  “The two Meerkat pups are doing well and Umi is displaying all the right maternal behaviours, which is great to see,” said zoo keeper Karen Ellis.




Photo Credits:  Taronga Zoo

Both Umi and the father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups.  Other members of the Meerkat troop pitch in to care for and protect the pups as they grow.  The zoo’s Meerkat troop now numbers 11 individuals.

Native to southern Africa, Meerkats live in large family groups within underground burrows.  Members of the group take turns acting as sentries, standing upright at the burrow entrance to warn others of threats.  When danger approaches, the sentry barks a warning, alerting the group to seek shelter in the burrow. 

UPDATE: Beau the Orphaned Echidna Puggle is Going Strong


ZooBorns has been keeping fans of Beau the Echidna puggle updated on his progress ever since he was introduced on October 23.  That's when the Taronga Zoo first shared photos of the tiny baby Echidna after he was found orphaned on a hiking trail near Sydney, Australia.  Taronga Zoo staff estimate that he was about a month old at the time of his rescue.




Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

Two months later, Beau is growing strong under the care of the Taronga Zoo staff.  Beau will take milk from his keepers' hands for several more months, as Echidnas are not fully weaned until they are seven or eight months old.  Echidna puggles normally suck milk from patches on their mothers' bellies, rather than from teats. 

Echidnas are mammals, but they belong to a subgroup of mammals called monotremes.  This speical group includes Echidnas and Platypus, and they are the only mammals that lay eggs.

Star Tortoise Hatchlings Live Life in the Fast Lane

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Just a few inches long, two Indian Star Tortoises hatched at the Taronga Zoo in late October are already living life in the fast lane.  These normally slow-moving babies can really hoof it when lunch is delivered at the zoo.

Once their meal of greens, veggies, and berries is placed before them, the Tortoises climb into their food bowl.  Surrounded by their tasty treats, the Tortoises start munching away. Hibiscus flowers are offered as a special delicacy.

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Taronga Zoo has enjoyed recent success breeding Indian Star Tortoises.  The zoo’s collection includes five adults, a four-year-old, and a one-year-old, in addition to these two new babies. 

Indian Star Tortoises are named for the striking black markings on their high domed shells.  Highly sought after for the exotic pet trade, populations of these Tortoises are declining in their native India and Sri Lanka.  Because Indian Star Tortoises have low reproduction rates, the Taronga Zoo’s breeding program is important to the captive population. 

Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo