The Living Desert

The Living Desert Debuts Bighorn Lamb

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The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is excited to announce the birth of a Bighorn lamb. The female was born February 18 and weighed in at 3.9 kilograms at her newborn wellness check. Zoo officials say both mother and baby are doing well.

“We are thrilled with the birth of this Bighorn lamb, as they are native to our area and play an important, iconic role in our desert habitat,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “The Living Desert participates with other zoos from around the country in the Bighorn Sheep Species Survival Plan (SSP) and we are proud of our participation in the efforts to preserve this endangered species.”

The lamb’s father is five-years-old Dante who sired seven lambs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park prior to arriving at The Living Desert in the summer of 2014. The mother, Margo, is almost eight-years-old and also came to The Living Desert from the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2009.

Bighorn lambs are born with soft, woolly, light-colored coats and small horn buds. Within a day, a lamb can walk and climb as well as its mother. A lamb will stay with its mother for the first year of its life.

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Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) are one of two species of mountain sheep in North America. They range in color from light brown to grayish or dark brown, and have a white rump and lining on the backs of all four legs. Bighorn Sheep get their name from the large, curved horns on the males, or rams. They are legendary for their ability to climb high, steep, rocky mountain areas.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were between 1.5 million to two million Bighorn Sheep in North America. Today, there are less than 70,000.

The SSP Programs significantly contribute to field conservation efforts, species recovery, veterinary care for wildlife disease issues, establishment of assurance populations, and many other species-focused conservation efforts.

“As the national SSP Coordinator for the Bighorn Sheep, I am so excited to welcome this lamb. She will help provide genetic diversity to our managed populations,” said Maureen McCarty, The Living Desert’s Special Projects Coordinator and the Bighorn Sheep SSP Coordinator.

The new lamb is currently on exhibit with the herd at The Living Desert.

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens, located in Palm Desert, California, that is dedicated to conservation and education. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for visitors that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information visit: www.LivingDesert.org.


It’s All About that Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

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Ringtail Cubs Debut at The Living Desert

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Two ringtails born June 12 at The Living Desert in California recently made their debut.  Because ringtails are nocturnal creatures, the staff shows off the babies during twice daily hand feedings, giving guests a better chance to see the babies.

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Photo Credit:  Bert Buxbaum

The two cubs, one male and one female, we born to parents Abe and Penelope.  They have not yet been named.

Also called ring-tailed cats, ringtails are closely related to raccoons.  They are native to the southern central plains and desert Southwest in the United States and are found throughout Mexico.  Like raccoons, ringtails are omnivorous, feeding on mice, frogs, toads, snakes, berries, and insects.   

Because of their nocturnal habits and shyness toward humans, ringtails are not commonly seen in the wild.  Ringtails are expert climbers, with ankles that can rotate 180 degrees to allow headfirst descents from trees.