Tel Aviv Zoological Center

Thank Heaven for Not-So-Little Girls

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After 20 years of eager anticipation, the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan (Safari), can now say they are home to a female White Rhino calf!  

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0770_2014_08_15_020Photo Credits: Tibor Jager

Twenty-one year old mother, Tanda, gave birth to the 100 lb. calf on September 3rd.  The new little girl has been given the name Teshi, which is Swahili for ‘joyful and happy’.  The new name is the perfect moniker, as she has already brought much joy to the staff and visitors of the Safari!

Zookeepers closely monitored the mother and noticed her marked weight gain and other indicators of the impending birth.  Tanda, who suffers from chronic inflammation of her eye, had spent the last few months in a fenced-off enclosure in the African Savannah exhibit area to enable her to receive regular medical treatment.

Till now, Tanda’s youngest son, Terkel, was in the enclosure with her, but as her time of birth approached, she tried to distance him from the area.  Keepers helped her by moving her young son out and allowing her the space she desired.

In the end, Tanda gave birth at night, and zookeepers discovered the new baby the next morning.  Within a few minutes, they managed to identify the calf as female.

Rami Tam, Supervisor of the African Savannah area, said, “It’s been 20 years since a female rhino was born here, and the significance is that she will be able to stay with us in the Safari also after she matures, and that’s the cause for much joy!”

During recent years, two males were born in the Safari: Tibor and Terkel.  When they mature, they will be transferred to other zoos that participate in the White Rhino Reproduction Project.  The little female rhino just born will remain in the Safari, and continue the zoological center's dynasty.

More great photos and info below the fold!

Continue reading "Thank Heaven for Not-So-Little Girls" »


Fennec Fox Digs Tunnel of Love

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For over 15 years, the keepers at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan, have eagerly hoped for zoo babies in their Fennec Fox enclosure.  Their patience has been rewarded, and they are excited to announce the birth of two new Fennec Fox cubs!

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Fennec fox_tel aviv_4Photo Credits: Tibor Jager

Four-year-old “Penny” and her mate, “Louis de Fennec”, also four-years-old, are the proud parents of the cubs.  Zookeepers observed the pair during their mating rituals and waited for the 50 day gestation period to occur.

During the gestation period, Penny and Louis spent their time digging burrows and tunnels, preparing a home for their growing family.  As the days passed, Penny became more and more aggressive, and all passersby were greeted by a chorus of thunderous barking. 

Finally, the much anticipated day arrived, and two tiny Fennec Fox cubs were born at the Safari Ramat Gan enclosure.  Penny hurried to hide the new babies in the burrows and in large pitchers that were purposefully placed in the enclosure by keepers.

Until recently, the Fennec Fox enclosure’s outer fence was covered with cloth to allow the young mother to feed her babies and bond with them in peace.  At present, keepers are gradually removing the covers and allowing Penny and her cubs to grow accustomed to the Safari’s visitors.

Native to North Africa, the Fennec Fox is also found in Asia.  They are currently not endangered and are listed “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List


Two Baby Gorillas in Two Weeks for Tel Aviv Zoo

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There's baby boom going on in the Primate Department at The Zoological Center Tel-Aviv Ramat-Gan, as two Western Lowland Gorlilas were born in the last two weeks. 

The zoo was delighted in the birth of a baby Gorilla by mom Anya, 25 years old. Much to the delight of all, in less than 2 weeks, 34-year-old Lia added to the troop with a baby of her own. Anya's little one has been named Amelia, after Zoo Tel Aviv's curator Dr. Amelia Terkel, who is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years of dedication.

Both babies are thriving. In these early days of life, they cling to their mother's chest and belly, gradually moving to riding on her back. Soon after, these two will advance to exploring their habitat. The best part is that they will each have a play-pal in each other! 

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Photo Credit: Tibor Jager

The Zoological Center Tel-Aviv Ramat-Gan, tried introducing three different males into the group before they started breeding. It wasn't until Lucas, their silverback, arrived from the Netherlands 15 years ago that things started to change for the better. A total of ten Gorilla babies have been born to date at the Tel-Aviv Zoo, which makes them one of the leading zoos in Gorilla breeding, proudly contributing to Gorilla preservation through the European Endangered Species Programme.


It's Baby Tapir Time at Zoo Tel Aviv

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Only 15 months ago, Zoo Tel Aviv's 7-year-old Tapir mother gave birth to her first calf. Now the zoo is celebrating the arrival of its first male ever male calf. The spotted bundle of joy weighs only 11 pounds and has already begun to explore his exhibit. Now experienced mother Passiflora has demonstrated outstanding mothering skills, but to ensure that her baby gets enough milk, keepers coax her to lie on her side with belly rubs. Father Tapiro is spending these first days separated from mom and her calf to allow them a stress free bonding period.

Brazilian Tapirs are considered "vulnerable" to extinction. Zoo Tel Aviv and its Tapir pair are playing a part in Tapir conservation through the EEP (European Endangered Species Program).

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Photo and video credit: Tibor Jäger

 


Extinct in Israel, Sand Cat Kittens Emerge at Zoo Tel Aviv

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In early August, keepers at Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan were thrilled to discover that mother cat, Rotem, had given birth to four wriggly little kittens. Initially there was concern that Rotem would be unable to care for so many kittens, but she has proven to be a capable mother for her curious youngsters. Now at three weeks old, the kittens have just begun to emerge from the den to the delight of visitors.

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Specially adapted for desert life, Sand Cats can thrive in some of the world's driest areas beyond, the range of any other feline. Much like the Fennec Fox, Sand Cats sport big furry pads between their toes to dance along the hot sand and oversized ears, which act like radiators to disperse heat.

Despite these unique feline characteristics, the Sand Cat has not been able to outrun the triple threats of habitat destruction, inadvertent trapping by farmers, and predation and disease from domestic animals. Today they are extinct in the wild in Israel and on the decline throughout their native range of deserts in Asia and North Africa.

Mother Sand Cat and Her Pile of KittensPhoto credits: Tibor Jäger


Baby Siamang Swings into Tel Aviv

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Earlier this month, Siamang mom and dad, Jamby and Jan (Jan is the boy), welcomed their first baby, which also marks the first baby Siamang for Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat Gan. Even though Jamby's pregnancy lasted eight months, the healthy baby weighed in at just 170 grams (1/3rd of a pound)!

When these Siamangs first arrived at Zoo Tel Aviv, they were exhibited with the Orangutans but the match was not meant to be. Jamby and Jan felt the need assert their dominance over their gentle roommates. When keepers decided the Siamangs were being bullies, the red apes were relocated.

Siamangs are endangered in their native home of Southeast Asia due to habitat destruction.

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Baby Siamang at Tel Aviv ZooPhoto credits: Tibor Jäger


You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby! White Rhino Born at Tel Aviv Zoo

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After a year and a half of pregnancy, Tanda, the Tel Aviv Zoological Center's White Rhino gave birth to a beautiful, healthy male calf on June 15. Keepers were waiting for the birth to happen, as they had observed Tanda pushing a way her 4.5 year old son Tibor. When Tanda secluded herself from the rest of the rhinos on Friday morning they knew the moment they were waiting for was about to arrive.

Tanda is 20 years old (born in South Africa), and this is her third birth, and second successful one. She proved herself to be a great mom with Tibor, and she is being so again with her new calf. The calf has been named Terkel in honor of curator Dr. Amelia Terkel, who will be retiring after more than 30 years on the job.

The Tel Aviv Zoological Center White Rhinos are part of the European program for endangered species, and report they are honored to contribute to the conservation of this magnificent animal.

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Photo credit: Tibot Jäger

Warning: Full birth shown in the video below. Incredible footage but perhaps not for the squeamish!


After 6 Years of Trying, Israel's Ramat Gan Zoological Center Succeeds!

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Israel's Ramat Gan Zoological Center has succeeded with its first birth of an extremely rare Somali Wild Ass Foal on the 26th of April, Isreal's 64th Independence Day. The newly arrived foal was appropriately named Israela. Anticipating a 12-month gestation period, keepers kept the foal's father and mother separate until last Spring so that their baby would be born in the most favorable weather conditions. During mother Yelenyo's pregnancy, she was separated from father Abeba so that she would have a peaceful and interruption free gestation period.

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Photo credit: Tibor Jäger

The Somali Wild Ass is critically endangered with only 350 wild individuals remaining in its native Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. There are only 130 individuals in captivity worldwide.


Baby Giraffe Kicks Up Its Heels at Tel Aviv Zoo

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On November 13 a baby giraffe was born at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat Gan-SafariThe new addition to the reticulated giraffe family is named Dolittle because of the dramatic way he was born.

Once labor started, the mother started pushing the baby out legs and head first in the usual "Para diving" position. This is where both front hooves come out first, followed by the head and shoulders. However, soon the keepers noticed that the labor did not progress as expected and that the calf was stuck in the birth canal with only its head and front limbs showing. Dr. Horowitz, the zoo's vetrenarian, rushed to the giraffe barn and decided to help the mom by gently pulling the calf. Every time the mother pushed, the vet pulled... hence the name Do-little!

Because the mom was trained to stand in a chute it was possible for the vet  to intervene without danger of being kicked. After a few stressful moments, the calf landed on the ground, and soon stood up!

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Photo Credits: Tibor Jager

Little Dolittle stayed for a few days in the night stall with this mother and grandmother and now everyone can see him roaming in the yard -- or testing out his long legs, as in the video below -- with the rest of the family, his aunts and young cousins Diana and Darwin.


Rare Sand Kitten Birth Gives Hope for Conservation

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After 63 days of gestation, a rare Sand Cat Kitten was born at Israel's Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat Gan - Safari. Once plentiful in numbers in the dunes of Israel, the Sand Cat has become extinct in the region. This is Safari Zoo's first successful Sand Cat birth and it is hoped this kitten will join Israel's Sand Cat Breeding Program in order to help reintroduce the species into the wild.

Three weeks ago, the kitten's mother Rotem refused to go into the night chamber at the end of the day. Keepers let her stay outside and the next night she gave birth to a tiny baby in the den in the outdoor enclosure. Keepers first saw the kitten when it poked it's tiny head and looked out from the den.

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Photo credits: Tibor Jager

Many more pics below the fold...

Continue reading "Rare Sand Kitten Birth Gives Hope for Conservation" »