Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami Welcomes New Litter of Warthogs

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Zoo Miami is proud to announce the birth of four Warthogs!

The two males and two females were born on June 29, and they recently had their first neonatal exam. The exam confirmed their sex and helped to insure that they have an excellent start in life. The preliminary report was that all four piglets appeared to be healthy and are developing well.

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The four-year-old mother is from the Indianapolis Zoo, and the four-year-old father is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is the second litter of for both parents, but it is the third successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami, with the first one occurring back in 1995.

The mother will remain off exhibit with her piglets for an undetermined amount of time to insure that they have bonded properly and are well acclimated to their surroundings prior to going on public display.

Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa. Though not naturally aggressive, these wild pigs are quite capable of protecting themselves with large, powerful tusks, which they normally use to tear up the ground in search of roots and grubs and to establish dominance between them.

Males develop considerably larger tusks than the females. The name Warthog is a bit misleading because the protrusions that come out of the sides of the head are not actual warts but rather fatty, granular tissue.

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Critically Endangered Wild Ass Born at Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami celebrated the birth of a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass on June 16. The foal was born to 10-year-old dad Hakim and 13-year-old mom Stella. 

The unnamed foal, the 8th born at Zoo Miami, is now in the zoo’s exhibit habitat with Stella and seems to be integrating well into the small herd.  A neonatal exam determined that the foal is a male and appears healthy, weighing 46 pounds.

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18Photo Credit: Ron Magill/Zoo Miami

Somali Wild Asses are the world’s most critically endangered Asses with less than 1,000 believed to still exist in the rugged, rocky deserts of eastern Africa.  This species is the last remaining ancestor of the modern Donkey and is the smallest of the wild Equids. Adults weigh approximately 500 pounds and mares typically give birth to a single foal after an 11-month gestation. 

Somali Wild Asses are characterized by a smooth gray coat and striped legs, which are a clue to their close relationship to zebras.

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

See more photos below!

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Zoo Miami Celebrates the Birth of Two Females

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Zoo Miami recently announced the birth of two new bovid calves!

On April 19th, after approximately nine months of gestation, a rare Giant Eland was born. The female calf weighed-in at 62 pounds. She is the third calf for the 6-year-old mother and is the 4-year-old father’s first calf, at Zoo Miami.

After remaining off exhibit for a short time to insure that baby and mother had bonded well, they were introduced to their exhibit to join the rest of the herd. Zoo staff reports that both mother and baby are doing very well and adjusting to the exhibit.

Giant Eland (Taurotragus derbianus) are the world’s largest antelope with males often weighing over 2,000 pounds. Females are significantly smaller. They are found in small areas of the savannahs and woodlands of Central Africa. They are currently listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, with major threats being habitat destruction and hunting for their meat.

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On April 23rd, a female Sable Antelope was born at Zoo Miami. The newborn weighed 35 pounds and was the fourth offspring for her 9-year-old mother. Like the Giant Eland, Sable Antelopes have a pregnancy of approximately nine months.

Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger) are found in savannah woodlands of Eastern Africa, south of Kenya, and down into South Africa. They are considered one of the most majestic and beautiful of the world’s antelopes. Males can weigh close to 600 pounds. They have majestic ridged horns that curve backwards and can approach four feet long. Females are slightly smaller. The males can become a jet-black color, with contrasting white markings on their face when sexually mature, and the females are dark brown.

Though they are not endangered, their population has been substantially reduced from their historic range due to habitat loss and hunting. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN.

Both new girls are on-exhibit daily at Zoo Miami.

 7_Sable 2More great pics of the Sable Antelope calf, below the fold!

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Zoo Miami Welcomes 52nd Giraffe Calf

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On the morning of March 28th, Zoo Miami welcomed their 52nd Giraffe calf! The Zoo also captured a series of amazing shots documenting the important event.

Ron Magill, Photographer/Communications Director at the Zoo, said, “In all my years of working with animals and witnessing births, I don’t think that there is any animal that can hold such a large baby in such a compact abdominal area! I am always amazed at the size of the baby that comes out of a Giraffe!”

Seven-year-old mom, Sabra, arrived at Zoo Miami from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa in November of 2013. The new father, Titan, was born at Zoo Miami in June of 2012. This is Sabra’s third calf, as well as Titan’s third offspring (from different partners).

The new calf underwent a neonatal exam. The sex has not been officially confirmed, but the initial indications show it to be a male. Mother and calf will remain off-exhibit until the staff has determined they have bonded well and can be introduced to the rest of the herd.

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4_3Photo Credits: Zoo Miami/ Ron Magill

Giraffes have a pregnancy 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. Newborns usually weigh more than a hundred pounds at birth and stand nearly 6 feet tall.

The status of the Giraffe in the wild has recently been elevated from an IUCN classification of “Least Concern” to that of being “Vulnerable”, due to significant reductions in their populations over the last several years.  

(More incredible photos, below the fold!)

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Endangered Zebra Foals Frolic at Zoo Miami

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On February 3rd, two endangered Grévy's Zebras were born at Zoo Miami!

The male and female foals were born after a gestation period of approximately 13 months. The female weighed in at a robust 115 pounds, while the male weighed a very healthy 110 pounds!

The mother of the female foal is 7-years-old and arrived at Zoo Miami from Zoo New England. The mother of the male is a 6-year-old that came from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. The father of both foals is an 18-year-old that formerly resided at White Oak Conservation Center in Northern Florida.  

After receiving a neonatal exam and having private time to bond with their mothers, both foals are now out on exhibit. The newborns have been exploring, running, and bucking throughout their exhibit: displaying their instinctive ability to move quickly, shortly after birth. This is the 21st and 22nd successful birth of this endangered species at Zoo Miami.

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4_2Photo Credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami

The Grévy's Zebra (Equus grevyi), also known as the Imperial Zebra, is the largest living wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra. Named after Jules Grévy, it is the sole extant member of the subgenus Dolichohippus. The Grévy's Zebra is found in Kenya and Ethiopia.

In addition to their larger size, they are distinguished from the other species of zebras by their large head and ears, along with their very thin stripes, which do not extend to the belly. They are found in very arid regions, in herds that can number from less than a dozen individuals to over 100. In captivity they can live to 20 years, but in the wild their lifespan is likely much less. They are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

More great pics below the fold!

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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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4_Blue Turaco adult 2APhoto Credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami (Images 1-5: Great Blue Turaco hatchling and adult / Images 6-10: Secretary Bird hatchling and adult)

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