Woodland Park Zoo

First Check-up for Otter Pups at Woodland Park Zoo

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Four new otter pups at Woodland Park Zoo in Washington just received a clean bill of health during their first hands-on wellness exam. The Asian Small-clawed Otter pups—three females and one male—were born to 4-year-old mother Teratai (pronounced tear-a-tie) and 8-year-old father Guntur (pronounced goon-toor) on January 20.

The zoo’s newest additions underwent a thorough neonatal exam to check their ears, eyes, mouths and overall development. Each of the otter pups just barely tipped the scales at 1.2-1.5 pounds (about .5-.7 kg), a healthy size for their 8-week-old frames. Exam results indicate all four pups are growing healthily as expected.

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5 otterPhoto credit: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

See a video of the pups' first swimming lesson:

 

“Since their birth, the parents and four brothers, born last summer, have all pitched in to build their den nest, provide support and, most recently, teach the pups to swim in a behind-the-scenes pool,” said Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The family has been busy introducing the pups to their new environment, and the pups are adjusting very well.”

See more photos and story after the fold.

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UPDATE: Woodland Park Zoo Otter Pups Are Boys!

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First time Asian Small-Clawed Otter parents Guntur and Teratai have their hands full! After their first vet exam, the Woodland Park Zoo has learned that their four pups are all boys. First seen here on Zooborns, the 9-week old quadruplets are healthy and hitting all of their developmental benchmarks. Still, the pups spend most of their time eating, sleeping and playing. Like most brothers, their play consists of pouncing and chewing on each other.

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Behind the scenes, swimming lessons have began for the pups. With mom's help, the pups are slowly beginning to feel comfortable around water. They've started to dip their mouths in a small, shallow tub. Mom dips her mouth, then touches the pups’ mouths with hers. Once the pup's have learned to swim, they will be introduced to the outdoor exhibit. The pups will also begin weaning from mom in late August. Mom and dad have began to share food. Soon they will be on a solid diet of smelt, capelin and soaked cat food. 

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Photo Credit Woodland Park Zoo


Seattle's Tallest Baby Born at Woodland Park Zoo

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Few species can boast a 6-foot tall week-old infant, but the Rothschild's Giraffe is certainly one of them! Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo welcomed the addition of a towering Rothschild's Giraffe calf on the evening of August 6. Born to first time mom Olivia, the calf was already 5 and a half feet tall at birth. The calf, who is male, can expect to grow to between 16-18 feet by the time he reaches adulthood.

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The calf and its mother are off view in a barn to allow a quet environment for maternal bonding and nursing. Giraffe's have a 14- to 15- month gestation period, which allows for calves to grown so large in size. Mom's give birth standing up, and calves are typically able to stand within a few hours of birth.. “The first 24 to 72 hours are critical for giraffe calves,” said zoo curator Martin Ramirez. “So far, mother and calf are bonding and nursing sessions appear to be normal. We will continue to keep a close eye on the new family over the next several weeks.”

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Olivia and the calf's father, Chioke, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, which ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos. The natural population of giraffes has declined by more thant 40% over the past 15 years. Among the 9 subspecies of Giraffes, West African and Rothschild's are endangered. Fewer than 670 individuals of Rothschild's Giraffes remain in the wild.

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Woodland Park Zoo Otter Quadruplets Learn to Jump, Run and Whistle!

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Woodland Park Zoo’s four Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born on June 11, mark the first offspring between 8-year-old father, Guntur, and 4-year-old mother, Teratai. Each pup's weight currently teeters around 1 pound. They are still nursing and will begin the weaning process around late August. Once they are weaned, their solid diet will consist of chopped smelt, capelin, and soaked cat food. In the meantime, the quadruplets are learning to walk, run, and jump -- and they whistle, squeal, and chirp while they do it!  Their sexes have not yet been determined.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest among the 13 Otter species. It ranges throughout southern and southeastern Asia, including areas of India, the Indonesian islands, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, southern China, and Palawan in the Philippines.

With rapidly declining habitat, range, and population, it was moved from Near Threatened to the more serious Vulnerable status in 2008. The population in the wild is unknown, with some estimates at 5,000 and others at far fewer. While all Otter species have protected status under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and killing is prohibited in most range countries, enforcement remains very limited. Poaching and water pollution remain the largest threats.

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

According to Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo, the pups are beginning to play with each other and their parents. “They’re chewing on each other and wrestling. Their attempts at jumping result in poorly executed pounces but it’s downright adorable,” said Owen. “Our guests are going to have a wonderful time watching these little critters play outdoors once they reach a level of comfort and build their muscles and motor skills.”

Read more after the fold:

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Woodland Park Zoo's Trio of Jaguar Cubs Full of Personality

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On March 22, these three Jaguar cubs were born at the Woodland Park Zoo to parents Junior and Nayla. First-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural maternal care and instincts, protecting the cubs so much that keepers couldn’t get their hands on the cubs for their first vet check until late last week! Once they did, it was determined that the triplets are healthy and that there are two girls and one boy, all exhibiting very different personalities.

The first born was a girl, the smallest of the cubs - but that does not stop her from being the most independent of the three. She also tends to lead her siblings in their mischief and play. The second born was a male who is also the largest cub. He is the shyest around keepers and a mama's boy, sticking close to mom's side, and yet he's the most vocal of the three. 

Jaguar births are rare, and as a “Near Threatened” species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts. Third born is the other female, who regularly follows her older sister and playfully roughhouses with her big brother. 

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Photo Credits: Photo 1: Jamie Delk/Woodland Park Zoo, Photos 2-5: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo's blog, which you can read HERE, states, "Keep in mind, habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas, hunting by ranchers, and loss of wild prey due to overhunting by humans are major threats facing jaguars in the wild. Each year, Woodland Park Zoo’s Jaguar Conservation Fund supports field conservation projects dedicated to preserving wild jaguars and their habitat. The fund has given awards to 19 projects in 12 North, Central and South American countries for a total investment of $113,806. Currently, the zoo supports three projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua that all aim to find ways for both people and predators to share Earth’s ecosystems."

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold. Before that, watch this series of three videos from the zoo's closed circuit cameras, which allow Mom the privacy to nurture and bond with her cubs. The first is the video announces the cubs' birth:

The cubs at three days old:

The most recent video of mom nursing and playing with her babies.

See more pictures after the fold:

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Tawny Frogmouth Chick Emerges at Woodland Park Zoo

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Last week Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle welcomed a fluffy white Tawny Frogmouth chick. One day after its birth, the little chick weighed in at just over half an ounce. While the parents have been doing an excellent job caring for it thus far, keepers will keep a close eye on the chick's development and provide the family with additional food if they aren't satisfied with its progress.

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Photo credits: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

The chick's parents are held off exhibit at as part of a nationwide breeding program for Tawny Frogmouths. Woodland Park coordinates this Species Survival Plan for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which includes 125 individuals at 48 facilities. The zoo is also home to a second breeding pair and is known for having a great track record of breeding this species. In fact, this chick's parents have another fertile egg in their nest which keepers expect to hatch soon.

Tawny Frogmouths are native to the Australasia region and are found on the Australian mainland, Tasmania and New Guinea. They are nocturnal carnivores that feed primarily on insects and other small prey. While adults have dark mottled coats to bled into tree bark, young are born fluffy and white as you can see with this little chick. When full grown this little chick will weigh around one and a half pounds.


Prickly Porcupette a Surprise for Woodland Park Zoo

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Sometimes zoo babies are a surprise, and that’s exactly what happened when Molly, a North American Porcupine, surprised keepers at the Woodland Park Zoo by delivering a male porcupette (the actual name for a baby Porcupine) on April 18.

Molly and her mate Oliver joined Woodland Park Zoo in June 2011 shortly after their second birthdays. At such a young age, zookeepers expected that Oliver was a year shy of sexual maturity, but Oliver wasn’t paying attention to the zoo keepers’ timetable. As keepers look back, they now realize that Molly became pregnant in September, giving her a seven-month gestation period before birthing the pair’s first baby.

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Photo Credit:  Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

A porcupette is born with a full coat and open eyes, in contrast to many other rodents. Within hours of birth its soft coat of quills begins to harden, immediately preparing it for protection from predators. The baby becomes active quickly and—as a natural tree dweller—its climbing instincts take hold within weeks of delivery. That climbing ability will come in handy as the youngster weans itself from mom and transitions to an herbivorous diet of leaves, twigs, and bark.

Molly and the newborn are currently in an off-exhibit den, though Molly sometimes leaves to stretch her legs in their exhibit. In the wild, a mother Porcupine would leave the newborn to nest in a safe area on the ground and she would retreat to the trees for food and shelter.

In the warmth of their den box, the pair nuzzles close to one another until the porcupette breaks free from her embrace and explores their shared space. Time and time again, Molly will swoop her paws beneath his belly and pull him back to her chest for what looks like a Porcupine hug. 

UPDATE! Woodland Park Zoo's Four Lion Cubs Get Their Names

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The Woodland Park Zoo’s four Lion cubs, which you have most likely read about several times on ZooBorns by now, were born on November 19. The two male and two female cubs have been growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the excellent care of mom Adia and the watchful staff at the Zoo. But all this time they have gone without names.The Zoo recently held a naming contest and the results are in!

Congratulations go to Tate and Ross MacDonald of Seattle and Pamela Garland of Olympia for submitting the winning names as chosen by a panel of zoo judges: Male cub – Rudo (“love” in Zulu), Female cub – Busela (“happy and independent” in Zulu) Rudo and Busela join their brother and sister, who also recently received names from some of the zoo’s big cat donors: Pelo (“heart” in Sotho) for the second male, and Nobuhle (“the beautiful one” in Zulu) for the second female.

The lion cubs now have the full run of their exhibit, and are regularly going out with mom. They have gotten big enough and become coordinated enough to be safe by the habitat's moat. Four growing cubs could be a paw-full for mom, but, as you can see from the picture below, she is always in charge. 

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

With the run of the exhibit, the cubs' games of tag are much more epic - and when it's time for a rest, their favorite spot is the big heated rock. Read more about their explorations on the zoo's blog.

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold:

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Tree Kangaroo Joey Pokes Its Head Out of Mother's Pouch

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Staff at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle Washington are just now catching glimpses of one of their newest residents, a little Tree Kangaroo joey. Although the little critter was born way back in June, it immediately crawled up its mother's stomach and into her pouch where it has spent the past eight months growing and developing.  The joey is now venturing out of its mother's pouch for periods of time to learn to forage and avoid predators. For now, the little one still comes back to the comfort of its mother's pouch every night or whenever it gets nervous. Soon the baby will leave its mother's pouch for good, venturing into the world on its own.

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Tree Kangaroos, native of Papua New Guinea, are an endangered species. The Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program which aims to both study and conserve Tree Kangaroos in the wild through habitat conservation as well as to breed the species in captivity. This rare birth is a success in the fight to preserve the species. The baby has yet to go on exhibit so it can grow in a quite environment, but it won't be long before visitors can catch a glimpse the newest addition Woodland Park Zoo Tree Kangaroo collection.


Lion Cubs Explore the Great Outdoors

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You’ve met the Woodland Park Zoo’s quartet of Lion cubs several times on ZooBorns since they were born on November 19.  Since then, the two male and two female cubs have been safely tucked in their den with mom Adia.  But this week they ventured into their outdoor yard for the first time, practicing for their public debut.

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Photo Credits:   Ryan Hawk/Wodland Park Zoo

Adia was the first to step outside, with two of the cubs emerging alongside her.  Then Adia ducked back inside as if calling the other two cubs.  Soon all four were outdoors, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this new world.  The cubs stuck together and stayed close to mom, though they were curious about the zoo staff members who had gathered to watch through the viewing window. 

Keepers had filled the yard with mossy logs, muddy pits, and sticks for the cubs to play with, but their favorite toy was mom.  They constantly pounced on her, grabbed her neck, or slipped under her feet.  New distractions, like planes flying overhead and cawing birds got the cubs’ attention as well.

After two hours of outdoor play, the cubs were tuckered out and the family headed inside to rest.  But you can be sure the cubs will be ready for action when they meet the public for the first time very soon.

See more photos of the cubs below the fold.

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