Tulsa Zoo

Tulsa Zoo Waits Five Years for Toucan Chicks

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The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the hatching of two Toucan chicks.

The pair was recently observed inside their nest box at the zoo’s Conservation Center. They are the first Green Aracaris to have hatched at the zoo since 2013.

According to keepers, the chicks will fledge (develop feathers) at around five-weeks-old. However, the parents will continue to care for and feed the chicks until they are around six to eight-weeks-old.

This hatching at the Tulsa Zoo was in conjunction with the Green Aracaris SSP (Species Survival Plan®), which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions across the nation.

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3_32257422_10151038533294996_637756090305478656_nPhoto Credits: Katie Story & Karen Guess/ Tulsa Zoo

The Green Aracari (Pteroglossus viridis) is a Toucan found in the lowland forests of northeastern South America, in the northeast Amazon Basin, the Guianas, and the eastern Orinoco River drainage of Venezuela.

At a max size of about 12–16 inches long and an adult weight of around 110–160 grams (3.9–5.7 oz.), it is one of the smallest members of the Toucan family.

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the species as “Least Concern”.


Penguin Chick Goes For Its First Swim

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A two-month old African Penguin chick went for its first swim at the Tulsa Zoo.

The chick hatched on January 17 to mom Keppy, age 26, and her mate Rogue, age 9. Keppy is the third-oldest member of the Tulsa Zoo’s penguin flock.

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Penguin 1Photo Credit: Tulsa Zoo

The chick’s gender is not yet known. A DNA sample will be sent to an outside lab to determine the new Penguin’s sex.

Last week, the chick enjoyed its first swim under close supervision in a small pool behind-the-scenes. Penguin chicks have fluffy down feathers, which are not as water repellent as the feathers of adult Penguins. Until chicks molt into their waterproof adult plumage when they're a few months old, they are not able to swim well.

“Keppy became a great-grandmother last year,” said Tulsa Zookeeper Seana Flossic. “We are delighted for Keppy and Rogue, a 9-year-old male, to enjoy parenthood together for the first time. They are doing a great job caring for their new chick.”

Seana Flossic manages the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s African Penguin Studbook as a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), keeping records on all AZA members’ flocks. The SSP makes recommendations on breeding and transfers to ensure the long-term health of this species.

This chick is the 37th penguin to hatch at the Tulsa Zoo since 2002.

African Penguins are native to the southern coast of Africa and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The population has fallen from more than one million birds in 1900 to fewer than 80,000 today. Oil spills and competition with commercial fisheries have contributed to the birds’ steep decline.


Tulsa Zoo’s Reptile Department Celebrates Hatchlings

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Tulsa Zoo’s Reptile and Aquatics department recently announced the hatching of six Desert Iguanas. The little lizards are currently on display in the Zoo’s Conservation Center reptile nursery.

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4_20287207_10150878245034996_491240831625000089_oPhoto Credits: Matt Yockey and Ruth Holland / Tulsa Zoo

The Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) is one of the most common lizards. It is native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. They are also found on several Gulf of California islands.

The Desert Iguana is a blunt, medium-sized lizard that grows to a maximum size of about 61 cm (24 in), including the tail. They are grayish tan to cream in color, with a light brown reticulated pattern on their backs and sides. The belly is pale. During the breeding season, the sides become pinkish in both sexes.

Their preferred habitat is largely contained within creosote bushes on mainly dry, sandy desert scrubland below 1,000 m (3,300 ft). They can also be found in rocky streambeds. In the southern portion of its range, this lizard lives in areas of arid subtropical scrub and tropical deciduous forest.

The Desert Iguana can withstand high temperatures and are out and about after other lizards have retreated into their burrows. If threatened, they will scamper into a shrub and go quickly down a burrow. Burrows are usually dug in the sand under bushes like the creosote. They are also known to use burrows of kit foxes and desert tortoises.

Mating takes place in the early spring. One clutch of eggs is laid each year, and each clutch will have three to eight eggs.

Desert Iguanas are primarily herbivorous, eating buds, fruits and leaves of many annual and perennial plants.

Birds of prey, foxes, rats, long-tailed weasels, some snakes, and humans are all known predators of this lizard and their eggs. The Desert Iguana is currently classified as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Snow Leopard Cubs vs. Christmas Tree

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A trio of endangered eight-month-old Snow Leopard cubs at the Tulsa Zoo got early Christmas presents from their keepers – including a life-sized cardboard Christmas tree.  In a matter of minutes, the curious cubs felled the tree, then went on to explore giant candy canes, garlands, and more. 

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IMG_2760Photo Credit:  Ruth Holland/Tulsa Zoo

All of these items are enrichment for the cats.  Enrichment provides novel smells, textures, tastes, or play items to stimulate animals physically and mentally.  

Born May 3, the cubs’ birth was recommended by the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which manages rare species to maintain high genetic diversity. Sherab, their mother, takes excellent care of her cubs.

Named Kavi, Amir, and Zahra, the cubs have experienced some health challenges since birth.  All three were born with congenital abnormalities in their eyelids, which resulted in incomplete eyelid formation.  These abnormalities left their eyes more vulnerable to trauma or other damage. Eyelid abnormalities affect domestic and exotic felines, including Snow Leopards. To correct these abnormalities, the zoo enlisted the help of a veterinary ophthalmologist who performed corrective surgeries to give the cubs more functional eyelids. The surgeries were a success, so each cub now has properly functioning eyelids. To ensure their safety and wellbeing, Kavi, Amir and Zahra remained behind-the-scenes with mom, Sherab, for their first few months as they received constant care and monitoring.

Native to Central Asia’s mountainous areas from Afghanistan to Kazakstan and Russia to northern India and China, Snow Leopards are listed as endangered due to poaching and habitat loss.


Baby Jaguar Attacks Pumpkins

Babette_AGBabette the baby Jaguar met her first pumpkin this week – and the event was caught on camera by Tulsa Zoo staff.

Babette has been practicing her big-cat skills (as seen in this recent ZooBorns post) and she put those formidable talents to use attacking two large pumpkins delivered by zoo keepers.   The mighty little Jaguar bit, pounced, swatted and successfully subdued the large orange vegetables.

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Babette_ag3Photo Credit:  Aaron Goodwin
Video Credit:  Beth Wegner
Why did zoo keepers give pumpkins to the Jaguars, which eat only meat?  The pumpkins served as enrichment for the cats.  Zoos provide novel items like new foods, scents, boxes, and “toys” as enrichment to stimulate animals physically and mentally. 

As a cub, Babette is naturally curious and energetic.  She has become a fan favorite since her birth was announced in September when she was about six weeks old.  Born June 29 to female Ixchel, Babette was named after her father Bebeto, who died of age-related complications in April. 

Babette will play an important role in the future of her species by someday breeding with an unrelated male as part of the Species Survival Plan managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Jaguars are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the loss of rain forest habitat in Mexico, Central America, and South America. 


Beautiful Babette Developing Big-Cat Skills

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The Tulsa Zoo welcomed this beautiful Jaguar cub, Babette, on June 29. ZooBorns introduced our fans to the sweet girl in early September (See our article: “Meet Baby Babette, the Jaguar Cub”)

This is the third successful reproduction of this species for the Tulsa Zoo. Jaguar mom, Ixchel, has been consistently attentive and protective. Staff says she never lets her little one out of sight. The pair went on exhibit in October, and Zoo visitors now have a chance to see the lovely mother-daughter duo.

Zoo staff voted to name this new cub in honor of her late father, Bebeto, who was humanely euthanized in April due to age-related complications.

In the wild, Jaguars prefer to stalk and ambush their prey, and Babette currently practices her developing skills in playtime with her mother. As with mothers of all species, this can be a test of patience, and Ixchel endures annoying moments of her daughter awaking her from naptime to play with her tail. Babette also like to ambush mom from inside boxes.

Staff reports that the young Jaguar is also working to perfect another important big cat skill—climbing. According to Keepers, she learned to climb out of the nest box earlier than previous Jaguar cubs in their care, and once she was given access to the exhibit, it took no time at all before she was climbing up into the trees and onto the higher perching.

Despite her dabbling with independence, Babette is still a ‘mommas-girl’ and is taking a bit longer to wean. This includes being a bit particular and picky with the solid food she is given as well.

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4_IMG_4344Photo Credits: Dr. Jen Kilburn/ Tulsa Zoo

The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. The Jaguar is the third-largest feline after the Tiger and the Lion, and the largest in the Americas. The Jaguar's present native range extends from the Southwestern United States and Mexico, across much of Central America, and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina.

This big cat closely resembles the Leopard physically, although it is usually larger and its behavioral and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the tiger.

Its preferred habitats are usually rainforests, swamps, and wooded regions, but Jaguars will also live in scrublands and deserts.

The Jaguar enjoys swimming, and it is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain (an apex predator).

The Jaguar is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat. Although international trade in Jaguars or their parts is prohibited, humans frequently kill the species (by poachers and farmers who view them as pests).

The birth of Babette at the Tulsa Zoo was in conjunction with the Jaguar SSP, or the Species Survival Plan®, which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos across the nation. There are currently more than 100 Jaguars in North American-accredited AZA zoos, while it is estimated that 10,000 Jaguars currently exist in the wild.


Meet Baby Babette, the Jaguar Cub

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A female Jaguar cub born June 29 at the Tulsa Zoo has been named Babette by zoo staff.

Babette is still behind the scenes in a private den with her mother, Ixchel, where keepers observe the pair via remote cameras to ensure that the cub is nursing and developing properly. 

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14107831_10150676483779996_5236588206761736691_oPhoto Credit:  Jenna Schmidt/Tulsa Zoo
 
In the wild, Jaguar cubs remain in the den for several months and begin accompanying their mothers out of the den when they are about six months old.  So far, Ixchel is proving to be an attentive mother, which is no surprise given that this is her third litter.

Babette is named after her father Bebeto, who died of age-related complications in April. 

Jaguars’ predatory prowess is well known.  These big cats have extremely powerful jaws, and typically kill their prey by biting through the skull into the brain. 

Despite their formidable physical abilities, Jaguars are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in their native range of Mexico, Central America, and South America.  Jaguars prefer tropical rain forests, which are shrinking due to human activity.  Experts estimate that only about 10,000 Jaguars remain in the wild.

There are about 100 Jaguars in North American zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  The AZA oversees the Species Survival Plan, which manages the Jaguar population for optimum genetic diversity. Babette will be an important part of the breeding program when she reaches adulthood.

 


Tulsa Zoo's Chimpanzee Troop Grows

Jodi_InfantThirteen Chimps have been born at the Tulsa Zoo in the last 65 years, but that doesn’t make the newest baby any less special.  A healthy male infant arrived on November 23 and was welcomed by the entire troop.

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IMG_0956Photo Credits:  Erica Holeman (1), Maureen O'Leary (2,3,4)

Mom Jodi was carefully monitored by zoo keepers during her 32-week pregnancy.  Her care included routine ultrasounds to make sure the baby was developing normally.

Chimpanzees live in complex social groups, so the new baby is an important addition to Tulsa’s troop.  The troop includes the new infant, his mother Jodi, Morris, Hope, Susie, Bernsen, and Vindi.  After the first few months of the baby’s life, which will be spent clinging to Jodi, other members of the troop will participate in the baby’s care.

The birth of this baby was recommended by the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.  The SSP seeks to maintain genetically healthy populations of zoo-managed species, with an emphasis on animals that are endangered in the wild. 

Chimpanzees are native to West Africa and Central Africa, where populations are under pressure from poaching and habitat loss.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  


Malayan Tiger Cubs Bonding with Mom at Tulsa Zoo

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The Tulsa Zoo is celebrating the birth of three endangered Malayan Tiger cubs. The cubs were born at the Tulsa Zoo on Aug. 8 to mom, Jin, and dad, Gahara. This is the second successful birth for the tiger pair.

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Malayan tiger cub_Tulsa_2Photo Credits: Photo 1, Ali Kalenak; Photo 2 & 3, Tulsa Zoo; Photo 4, Dr. Jen Kilburn

While the three cubs are doing well, unfortunately, one of their siblings did not survive long after it was born. This is not uncommon in a large litter of cubs. Staff continues to observe Jin and the cubs through closed circuit cameras, which allows staff to monitor them at all times without disturbance.

Jin has been a very attentive mother to the cubs, which are continuing to thrive. The new family will remain in an off-exhibit area as they continue to bond. Eventually, when the cubs are strong enough, they will be allowed to explore within the safe confines of the zoo’s current tiger exhibit. The Tulsa Zoo will soon break ground on a new tiger exhibit, which will feature an immersive, naturalistic habitat for the tigers, allowing guests to see these endangered animals up-close.

In 2008, the IUCN Red List classified the Malayan Tiger as “Endangered”. Native to the Malay Peninsula, there are fewer than 500 Malayan Tigers left in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss. Once considered to be part of the Indochinese Tiger subspecies, the Malayan Tiger was recognized, in 2004, as a new tiger subspecies when genetic analysis found that they were distinct from the Indochinese Tiger.

The Malayan Tiger cubs’ birth, at the Tulsa Zoo, was in conjunction with the Species Survival Plan(SSP), which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos across the nation.


Tulsa Zoo Celebrates its Third Jaguar Cub Birth

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The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Jaguar cub, marking the third Jaguar birth at the zoo. This new addition was born on March 26 to mom, Ixchel, and dad, Bebeto. This is the second successful birth for the Jaguar pair, and another important contribution to Jaguar populations.

This birth was in conjunction with the Jaguar SSP, or the Species Survival Plan®, which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos across the nation. Native to the tropical rainforests of Mexico, Central and South America, Jaguars are considered near threatened due to habitat loss. There are currently more than 100 Jaguars in North American-accredited (AZA) zoos, while it is estimated that 10,000 Jaguars currently exist in the wild.

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Jags 2 - CamPhoto credits 1 and 2: Dr. Jen Kilburn 

While the cub is doing well, its sibling did not survive the birthing process. The cub appeared to be stillborn as animal health staff closely watched the internal monitoring camera.

Staff continues to closely monitor Ixchel and her cub from remote cameras to ensure proper development and nursing. The cub’s first 30 days are critical, so both mom and cub will remain in a private, off-exhibit den in the Tropical American Rainforest.