Zoo Miami

Unique Crocodile Species Hatches at Zoo Miami

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A False Gavial has hatched at Zoo Miami! This is the Zoo’s first successful hatching, in over 25 years, of this very unique species of crocodile from Indonesia and Malaysia.

After an incubation period of 89 days, at a temperature of 89 degrees, the baby hatched on September 1st and was one of two hatchlings that emerged from a clutch of 25 eggs. Unfortunately, the second hatchling did not survive.

The parents are 45-year-old male, Lockjaw, and 31- year-old female, Nessi. At 14 feet long, Lockjaw is the largest crocodile at the zoo, while Nessi is a bit smaller at 9 feet long.

The False Gavial's numbers are low in the wild (less than 2,500). As late as the year 2000, they were classified by the IUCN as “Endangered”. The species was reassessed in 2011, and they are now at the status of “Vulnerable”. However, they are still threatened by habitat destruction, overfishing of food sources and, to a limited extent, the skin trade.

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2_24172844_1588876784467952_7125887576147272089_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Miami 

The False Gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii), also known as False Gharial, Malayan Gharial, Sunda Gharial and Tomistoma, is a freshwater crocodile that is native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

The specific name “schlegelii” honors the German herpetologist, Hermann Schlegel.

The False Gavial has one of the slimmest snouts of any living crocodilian, comparable to the slender-snouted crocodile and the freshwater crocodile. The False Gavial measures slightly smaller than the Gavial.

Until recently, very little was known about the diet or behavior of the species in the wild. In the past, it was thought to have a diet of only fish and very small vertebrates. But more recent evidence and observation indicates that it has a generalist diet despite its narrow snout. In addition to fish and smaller aquatic animals, mature adults prey on larger vertebrates, including proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, deer, water birds, and reptiles.

False Gavials are mound-nesters. In the wild, females lay small clutches of 13 to 35 eggs per nest, and appear to produce the largest eggs of extant crocodilians.

It is not known when they breed in the wild or when the nesting season is. Once the eggs are laid, and construction of the mound is completed, the female abandons her nest. Unlike most other crocodiles, the young receive no parental care and are at risk of being eaten by predators. The young hatch after 90 days and are left to fend for themselves.

The False Gavial is threatened with extinction throughout most of its range due to the drainage of its freshwater swamplands and clearance of surrounding rainforests. The species is also hunted frequently for its skin and meat, and the eggs are often harvested for human consumption.


Warthog Piglets Debut at Zoo Miami

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Four Warthog piglets, born June 20 at Zoo Miami, made their exhibit debut this week alongside their parents. At six weeks old, the piglets (one female and three males) explored the exhibit, rooted around in the soil, and tasted fresh vegetation under the watchful eyes of mom and dad.

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Three-year-old mother Erica came from the Indianapolis Zoo and three-year-old father Beebop is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This litter of piglets is the first for both parents and the second successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami.

Warthogs are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa and skyrocketed to fame following the release of “The Lion King,” which starred a lovable Warthog named Pumba.

Warthogs use their large, powerful tusks to dig for roots, tubers, and grubs to eat. Males develop larger tusks than females and use their tusks in combat to establish dominance. The tusks also offer protection: Warthogs enter their burrows rear-first, allowing the tusks to face outward at the burrow entrance to deter predators.

The large facial bumps or “warts” are not warts at all. Instead, they are fatty growths which protect Warthogs’ faces from the tusks of other Warthogs during skirmishes.

Warthogs are fairly numerous across their range. They are not currently threatened, but some localized extinctions have been recorded due to overhunting or drought.

See more photos of the piglets below!

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Exotic Hatchlings Are a First for Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami is proud to announce the recent hatching of two remarkable chicks. For the first time in the Zoo’s history, keepers welcomed the arrival of a Secretary Bird and a Great Blue Turaco.

The Great Blue Turaco hatched on February 7th after an incubation period of 31 days and weighed just over 40 grams.

Great Blue Turacos are the largest of all of the Turacos, reaching an overall length of 30 inches and a weight of close to 3 pounds. They are found in the canopies of forests in Central and Western Africa and feed on a variety of fruits, leaves, flowers, shoots and insects.

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The Secretary Bird hatched on February 15th after an incubation of 42 days and weighed just over 86 grams.  

Secretary Birds are found in African savannahs and woodlands, south of the Sahara, and have the longest legs of any bird of prey. They grow to be almost 5 feet tall with a wingspan that can approach 7 feet.

Though they will eat a variety of reptiles and small mammals, they are famous for hunting and eating snakes, including venomous ones. They hunt by walking on the ground and, when they see a prey species, will stomp on it with great quickness and force until it is incapacitated and can be eaten.

They get their name from their resemblance to male secretaries of the early 1700’s who wore gray tail coats and placed quilled pens behind their ears, which are replicated in appearance by the specialized feathers that stick out of the back of the head of Secretary Birds.

The Great Blue Turaco is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, the Secretary Bird is classified as “Vulnerable”.

Young Secretary Birds are preyed upon by crows, ravens, hornbills, large owls and kites, as they are vulnerable in their Acacia tree top nests. As a population, their main threats are loss of habitat and deforestation.

More great pics below the fold!

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First Giant Anteater Birth for Zoo Miami

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December 21st not only marked the beginning of winter, it also marked the arrival of a special new resident of Zoo Miami…a Giant Anteater pup!

This is the first Giant Anteater birth in the history of the zoo. Mom is 3 years old and arrived at Zoo Miami in 2014 from Zoo Boise. The first time dad is 7 years old and arrived from Busch Gardens in 2010. Although the new pup recently had its first neonatal exam, it is still difficult to determine the sex. So far, the baby is healthy and is successfully nursing, and the first time mother is exhibiting outstanding maternal care.

Zoo Miami’s newborn will ride on its mother’s back for up to a year before becoming more independent.

Keepers report that it will be several weeks before the Giant Anteater pup will be exhibited to the public to insure that it is well bonded with its mother and progressing normally.

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Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are the largest of the four Anteater species and boast one of the most fascinating tongues in the animal kingdom. They are specialist predators of termites and ants and may consume tens of thousands of these tiny nutritious insects every day. Anteaters are edentate animals; they have no teeth. Ant and termite nests are ripped open with their powerful claws, and the tongue acts as animated flypaper. These tongues can protrude more than 2 feet (60 cm) to capture prey. Ants possess a painful sting when attacked, so Anteaters have to eat quickly. They do so by flicking their tongue up to 160 times per minute to avoid being stung. An Anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. They never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.

Anteaters are generally solitary animals, except during the mating season. After a gestation period of around 190 days, the female produces a single pup, which weighs approximately 1.3kg. The female gives birth standing up and the young Anteater immediately climbs onto her back. The young are born with a full coat of hair and adult-like markings, aligning with their mother’s camouflaging. A mother will carry the baby on her back for approximately 6 to 9 months (until it is almost half her size). The young suckle for 2 to 6 months and become independent after roughly 2 years, or when the mother becomes pregnant again.

Giant Anteaters are prey for Jaguars and Pumas in the wild. They typically flee from danger by galloping away, but if cornered, they use their immense front claws to defend themselves, rearing up on their hind legs, striking their attacker violently with their powerful claws and are capable of inflicting fatal wounds to predators.

The Giant Anteater is considered to be the most threatened mammal of Central America and is feared extinct in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Giant Anteaters are listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss, road kills, hunting and wildfires have substantially affected their population numbers over the last ten years. Scientists estimate that 5,000 individuals are left in the wild.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Critically Endangered Tiger Cub Is a First for Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami is excited to announce the birth of a critically endangered Sumatran Tiger!

The single male cub was born on Saturday, November 14th and has been in seclusion with his mother since that time. Because this is the first birth for the 4 year old female named “Leeloo,” extra precautions are being taken to isolate and protect mother and cub in hopes that a strong bond can be established. During the next several weeks, it will remain isolated with its mother in a secluded den with little or no contact from staff. This is the first Sumatran tiger born at Zoo Miami and only the fourth born in the United States in 2015. There are only 70 Sumatran Tigers living in U.S. zoos.

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Photo credit: Ivy Brower


Newborn Zebra Plays In The Rain

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A five-day-old endangered Grevy’s Zebra ran and bucked in the rain during his first day on exhibit at Zoo Miami

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The foal, who will be named in an online contest, weighed 104 pounds at birth.  He is the first foal for his three-year-old mother, and is the 16th member of this endangered species to be born at Zoo Miami.  He made his exhibit debut alongside his mother and another female Zebra. 

Grevy’s zebras are the largest of all Zebra species and are native to northern Kenya and Ethiopia.  They are distinguished from other Zebra species by their large heads and ears, along with very thin stripes which do not extend to the belly.  Well-adapted to arid regions, Grevy’s Zebras live in herds with up to 100 members. 

In less than 40 years, Grevy’s Zebra populations declined from about 15,000 animals to only about 2,500 today.  Invasive plants have overtaken the native grasses eaten by Zebras, and they must compete with cattle for grazing areas.  Fortunately, hunting has declined and the population appears to have stabilized for now.

See more photos of the foal below.

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Peek-A-Boo - It's a Baby Tree Kangaroo!

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Who’s peeking out of that pouch?  It’s a Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, saying hello to the world for the first time.  Born at Zoo Miami, the joey is only the second of this endangered species born in the United States this year.

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Photo Credit:  Ron Magill

Still mostly hairless, the joey was about the size of a jelly bean when it was born five months ago. It crawled unassisted into the pouch, where it latched onto a teat. Since then, the joey has been nursing and growing inside mom’s pouch.  The joey will remain in the pouch for several more months, but will gradually start to explore the world on its own until it is weaned at about one year of age.  The pouch, however, will remain a safe haven – most joeys try to squeeze inside even when they are far too large to fit. 

The joey’s gender has not been determined, but it will eventually become part of an international zoo breeding program. 

Found only in the mountainous rain forests of northeastern New Guinea, Matschie’s Tree Kangaroos spend most of their time in the trees feeding on leaves, ferns, moss, and bark.  Because the forests in which they live have been logged or converted to agriculture, these marsupials are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Zoo Miami has been a long time contributor to Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo conservation efforts in the wilds of New Guinea. 

See more photos of the joey below.

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Endangered Somali Wild Ass Born at Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass. The male foal arrived July 23 and is the 5th of his kind born at Zoo Miami. New mom is 17-year-old Lisha. The new baby is healthy and seems to be integrating well into their small herd. 

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Somali Wild Asses are the world’s most endangered Asses. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, and less than 1,000 are believed to still exist in the wild.

A subspecies of the African Wild Ass, they are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in isolated areas of Somalia, the Southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, and the Afar Region of Ethiopia.

They are shorter than zebras or horses but have larger ears. Adults weigh approximately 500 pounds. Their smooth gray coat and their striped legs, which are indicative of their close relation to zebras, characterize them.

Mares usually give birth to a single foal after a gestation of 11 months. Though small herds, usually made up of mares and their offspring, do exist, the Somali Wild Ass often lives alone because of the scarcity of food. Solitary stallions protect their territory, which often includes a water source. Larger groups may form when more food and water is available (usually during the rainy season). 

Zoo Miami began exhibiting the highly endangered Somali Wild Ass in 2011. All adult animals are on loan from the San Diego Wild Animal Park and arrived at Zoo Miami as part of a carefully planned captive breeding program designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Clouded Leopard Cubs Pass Their Check-Ups

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Zoo Miami’s 2-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs were photographed, last week, receiving their routine exams and vaccinations. Named ‘Malee’ and ‘Suree’, the two girls did amazing during their exams and were given a clean bill of health!

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11148644_892653580756946_9120336561496074380_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Miami

The cubs were born March 9th to mom, ‘Serai’, and dad, ‘Rajasi’.  ZooBorns featured the tiny females soon after their birth, in the article: “Two Clouded Leopard Kittens See the Miami Sun for the First Time”.

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the Leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.    

The Clouded Leopard is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.  In the United States, they are listed as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits trade of the animals or any parts/products made from them.  

More awesome pics, below the fold!

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A Princess Makes Her Debut at Zoo Miami

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On April 15th, Zoo Miami’s newest baby Giraffe made its first appearance, on exhibit, with the rest of the herd!  The baby was born April 8th, to 4½ year old mom, ‘Sabra’. 

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Photo Credits: Zoo Miami

The newborn weighed 108 pounds, stood a little over 5 feet tall, and staff determined the baby to be a female during her first neonatal exam. She has been named, ‘Princess Buttercup’.

Though this is Sabra’s first baby, it is the 47th giraffe born in the history of Zoo Miami. The father’s name was ‘Fezzik’. He was born at the St. Louis Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 1998. Unfortunately, Fezzik died in November of last year, due to age related crippling arthritis. Sabra arrived at Zoo Miami from the Blank Park Zoo, in Des Moines, Iowa, in November 2013.

Giraffes have a gestation period of approximately 15 months, and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor, where it receives quite an impactful introduction to the world!  

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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