Zoo Miami

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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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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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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Two Clouded Leopard Kittens See the Miami Sun for the First Time

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Zoo Miami is beaming about the birth of two highly endangered Clouded Leopard cubs. Since their birth on March 9th, the female kittens have been bonding with their mother in a quiet, cozy den. They first saw the light of day just two days ago while vets checked their vital signs and photographer Ron Magill snapped these first photos.

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The mother, named “Serai,” was born on May of 2011 at the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center in Virginia and the father, named “Rajasi,” was born in March of 2011 at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee.   This is the second successful litter for both parents.  Zoo staff was recently able to separate the mother from her cubs for the first time to do a neonatal exam in order to evaluate the condition of the kittens and accurately determine their sexes. Both offspring are doing well and the mother continues to be attentive and nurse them on a regular basis.  The mother and kittens will remain off exhibit for the next several weeks until zoo staff determines they are established and stable enough to face the public.

Learn more about Clouded Leopards below the fold and find many more images of these cubs.

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Rare Bonneted Bat Finds Home at Zoo Miami

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An endangered Florida Bonneted Bat has found a new home, inside a camera pouch, at Zoo Miami.

The baby was found by a Miami park ranger, last month, and was soon given the moniker, ‘Bruce’, after the famed comic book character. Volunteers tried to locate the mother in the vicinity, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Wildlife rescue officials were contacted, and the baby bat was sent to a rescue center in Fort Lauderdale. After it was determined the baby was a rare Bonneted Bat, federal officials turned its care over to Zoo Miami.

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Frank Ridgely, a veterinarian and head of conservation and research at Zoo Miami, began feeding the bat a milkshake of diluted goat’s milk, crushed bug guts, and high-protein powder. ‘Bruce’ is responding well to the feedings and is happily growing accustomed to his new home, snuggling into his camera pouch-sleeping bag.

This is the first juvenile Bonneted Bat rehabbed, according to experts, and the entire process is a learning experience for zoo staff and wildlife officials. Bruce’s development and progress will provide vital information about the endangered bats. Biologists are still working to discover key elements in the bat’s lifestyle: such as diet and roosting habits.

Although it is not known how Bruce was separated from his mother, there is speculation that recent tree trimmings in the area could have disturbed his roost. The time of year baby Bruce was found also provides previously unknown information for biologists. The baby bat was found in November, suggesting that the Bonneted Bats’ birthing season lasts longer than was suspected.

The Florida Bonneted Bat is native to the southern portion of Florida, excluding the Florida Keys. Previously known as Wagner’s Mastiff Bat, the bat was reclassified, in 2004, as a separate species, unique to Florida. They are classified as ‘Endangered’, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.