Woodland Park Zoo

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:

Continue reading "UPDATE! Woodland Park Zoo's Four Lion Cubs Get Their Names" »


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.

Continue reading "Lion Cubs Explore the Great Outdoors " »


UPDATE! Woodland Park Zoo's Lion Cubs Visit the Vet

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Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo Lion cub quadruplets just turned two months old and that meant it was time for a vet check. Each cub was carried to the exam table by keepers, held just like their mother would, as that comforting position relaxes them.

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Now weighing in at 21 to 23 pounds (9.5 to 10.4 kg) each, the wriggly babies are getting harder to handle, so each were anesthetized for a part of this latest checkup. One cub gave a healthy hiss to the immobilizer mask!

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Each of the cubs has most of their baby teeth, which means they are starting to sample solid foods like ground turkey and raw beef. Vets noticed that their little tummies felt less full than they did at their last exam, which is likely because now that they eat some solid foods, they aren’t filling themselves up on mom’s milk as much as they used to.

Each were measured from head to tail to track their growth. All are on target, a positive sign that the zoo can start planning for their debut when outdoor temperatures reach a minimum of 50 degrees. Until then, they’ll continue to live in an off-view maternity den where they can bond and develop in a more controlled environment.

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Photo Credit: Photo 2,3,4,5,6: Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo, Photo 1, 7,8: Ryan Hawk

After the exam, the cubs were soothed by keepers as each woke up. They were then returned to their mom Adia.

See a video of these babies in action, find more pictures of the cubs and read about the species and conservation efforts to save them after the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE! Woodland Park Zoo's Lion Cubs Visit the Vet" »


Following the Growth of the Sunbittern, a Rare Chick Hatched at Woodland Park Zoo

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Growing more elegant each day, this Sunbittern chick is the first of its kind hatched at Woodland Park Zoo (on November 20) in nearly 15 years. This chick was photographed from one to nine days old to show its progress. At one day old, the chick is covered in fluffy down feathers. Adult feathers begin to grow in after 3 weeks.

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Zoo staff regularly weighs the chick to keep track of its growth and make sure it is hitting all of its developmental benchmarks. At its latest weigh-in, it added up to about 3 ounces (90 grams).The chick rests on a nesting structure atop the scale, with a craggy texture designed to make it easy for the bird to grip with its feet. (And yes, it does look like a plate of worms!)

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The call of the sunbittern is one of the most recognizable sounds in the rain forest exhibit. This little chick isn’t very vocal so far, though it does hiss a bit when it’s surprised. The sunbittern has large feet that spread the bird’s weight making it easier to walk on muddy rain forest terrain. 

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Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Seen here at 9 days old, the Sunbittern’s characteristic long neck begins to distinguish itself. Note the long legs—a forest floor walker with a slow and deliberate gait—already growing in at 9 days old.


Woodland Park Zoo Lion Cubs Get First Check-up

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It’s a boy! And a girl! And a boy! And a girl! Last week, Woodland Park Zoo's four Lion cubs that you may have read about HERE on ZooBorns, received their first health check-up. The exam revealed the quadruplets, which included a weigh-in, fecal sampling and an overall assessment of their health. They’ll get the first of a series of vaccinations at the next exam coming up in a few weeks. The cubs turn four weeks old this Saturday.

Each cub weighs between 8 and 9 pounds (3.6-4 kgs), which is in the normal weight range for their age. Vets noted that the cubs had full, round bellies, meaning they’re nursing regularly. Adia continues to show excellent maternal skills, and she has herself some robust, healthy cubs.

Mom and cubs remain in an off-view maternity den that allows the family to bond in a quieter environment. The cubs will go out in the public exhibit when they are older and outdoor temperatures reach a minimum of 50 degrees. Until then, zoo-goers can watch recorded video of the cubs at a kiosk stationed at the lion exhibit or at Zoomazium. 

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo


Fuzzy Belly Alert! Woodland Park Lion Cub Update

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These four baby lions at the Woodland Park Zoo were first featured HERE on ZooBorns on November 19. This just in: new pictures of the babies taken by keepers behind the scenes while three-year-old mom Aida was out on ehxibit getting a little break and some fresh air. 

At three weeks old, the cubs are doing well. All indictions show that they are healthy and growing as they should. Later this week the plan is to attempt their first veterinary check-up to get a closer look and a better assessment of their overall health and growth progress. 

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo


First Look at Woodland Park Zoo Lion Cubs Toddling Around

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Three-year-old mother Adia and her four new cubs are together in an off-view maternity den at the Woodland Park Zoo, where the family can bond in a quiet environment. Keepers have been monitoring the litter via an internal web cam and are very pleased with Adia’s maternal care and protectiveness.

As a first-time mom, she’s providing attentive care the way a good mother Lion naturally does. The cubs continue to grow and are showing positive signs of good health. The zoo's intention is to leave Mom alone as much as possible without intervening. 

As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health checkups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling. All four cubs have opened their eyes; each appear to be nursing well and demonstrating increased mobility. The genders of the babies are not yet known.

Watch the video below to see the newborns cubs tottering around! And Mom does something funny at the very end.

 

Photo Credit: Woodland Park Zoo


Four Little Lion Cubs Born at Woodland Park Zoo

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Three-year-old South African mama Lion Adia gave birth to four cubs at night on November 8 at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, after a gestation period of 109 days. This is big news because it's the zoo's first newborn Lion cubs in 20 years!  This is the first litter for Aida and 13-year-old father Hubert too. 

The babies are with Mom in an off-view maternity den where they can do that important, ealry bonding in a hushed environment. Expert keepers and veterinarian staff are closely monitoring the litter via an internal web cam to ensure Adia is providing excellent maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing.The first 48 to 72 hours after a birth are critical, particularly among mammals. Adia is a first-time mother so naturally there is concern, but we are cautiously optimistic she will instinctively provide attentive maternal care to her cubs. 

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Photo Credit: Woodland Park Zoo

Lions are born blind and they’ll begin to open their eyes within a week or two after birth. As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health checkups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

The genders of the cubs are not yet known, but look for that news, and more pictures and video in future updates. Until then, watch the first video the zoo has shared with the public below. 

Read more after the fold:

Continue reading "Four Little Lion Cubs Born at Woodland Park Zoo" »