Zoo Wroclaw

Hippo Calf Makes Zoo Feel Like Dancing

1_13330950_10154201789529719_8781720861989955785_n

Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw put on their dancin’ shoes to celebrate a new Hippopotamus birth! The calf, named Zumba, was born May 21 to mom, Rumba, and dad, Váleček. Big sister, Salsa, and proud Grandma, Samba, also welcomed the young Hippo into their herd.

The Zoo reports that Zumba timidly follows mom about in their exhibit, including, of course, dips in the pool.

2_13254538_10154185136384719_6270330717697153536_n

3_13260003_10154185136389719_4272391811192612491_n

4_13265915_10154185136289719_1152387065338904896_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw

The common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common Hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (Whales, Porpoises, etc.).

Common Hippos are recognizable by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies, columnar-like legs and large size; adults average 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) for males and females respectively, making them the largest species of land mammal after the three species of Elephants and the White and Indian Rhinoceros.

Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances. The Hippopotamus is highly aggressive and unpredictable and is ranked among the most dangerous animals in Africa.

Female Hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. Baby Hippos are born underwater at a weight between 25 and 50 kg (55 and 110 lb) and an average length of around 127 cm (4.17 ft), and must swim to the surface to take their first breaths. A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins also occur.

The young often rest on their mothers' backs when the water is too deep for them, and they swim under water to suckle. They suckle on land when the mother leaves the water. Weaning starts between six and eight months after birth, and most calves are fully weaned after a year.

Hippopotamus amphibius is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The primary threats to Common Hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Illegal or unregulated hunting of Common Hippos has been found to be particularly high in areas of civil unrest (Kayanja 1989; Shoumatoff 2000; Hillman Smith et al. 2003). A recent field survey found that Common Hippo populations in DR Congo have declined more than 95% as a result of intense hunting pressure, during more than eight years of civil unrest and fighting (Hillman Smith et al. 2003). Widespread poaching for meat has also been reported from Burundi and Ivory Coast (Associated Press 2003; H. Rainey pers. comm.)...Although it is likely that the majority of the total Common Hippo population occurs in some form of protected area (national park, biosphere, game or forest reserve, sanctuary, conservation area), the proportion of protected Common Hippos likely varies among countries. For countries with a high proportion of Common Hippo populations outside protected areas, the likelihood of persistence is much lower as there is no impediment to hunting or incentive for habitat protection.”

More great pics, below the fold!

 

Continue reading "Hippo Calf Makes Zoo Feel Like Dancing " »


Penguin Chick Gets Hatching Help

Pingwin przyl_dkowy 6 Sometimes baby animals need a little help, and that’s exactly what an about-to-hatch African Penguin received at Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw on December 28.

Pingwin przyl_dkowy 2
Pingwin przyl_dkowy 4
Pingwin przyl_dkowy 5Photo Credit:  Zoo Wroclaw

The Penguin chick, named Janush by keepers, was positioned abnormally inside his egg.  With his head underneath his wing, Janush was unable to turn and push his way out of the egg.  To assist the little chick, keepers removed the egg from the nest and gently extricated Janush from the shell.

Once they knew the tiny chick was stable, keepers tried to place Janush back in the nest with his parents.  Unfortunately, mom and dad were tending another chick that had hatched earlier in the day.  Penguin parents can be quite aggressive when defending their chicks, and keepers were unable to place Janush back in the nest. 

So, keepers took over as Janush’s parents during the first critical days of his life.  Because the chick was still absorbing nutrients from his yolk sac, there was no need to feed him right away, but controlling the temperature was important.  Janush moved to a well-ventilated incubator where he could stay warm.

The next day, keepers began feeding Janush a “milk shake” made from chopped fish and vitamins via a syringe.  Fortunately Janush has a good appetite and doubled his weight in the first week.  He feeds four times a day, and at night he snuggles beside a plush toy in his incubator.  In the morning Janush greets his keepers with loud squeaks to let them know he’s hungry.

In the wild, African Penguins are native to South Africa’s coast and nearby islands.  Because people have harvested so many fish from these waters, there is little left to sustain the Penguin population and the species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Oil spills have affected the population, and guano mining disturbs nesting sites.  Breeding programs in zoos around the world are an important part of efforts to save African Penguins.


Fennec Fox Kit Surprises Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw

1 fennec

Just a few days ago, a new Fennec Fox kit ventured outside of the den for the first time at Zoo Wroclaw in Poland! 

The kit was born some time in early June, but keepers aren't sure exactly when, since the kit has stayed inside the den with mom, Tina, until now. 

2 fennec

3 fennec

4 fennecPhoto credits: Zoo Wroclaw

The kit is so tiny that he or she could fit in your hand- but Tina definitely wouldn't allow that! So far, zoo keepers have been hands-off, and Tina seems to be doing a great job protecting and nursing her new baby.

Fennec Foxes range from northern Africa to northern Sinai, and are specially adapted to survive harsh desert conditions. The enormous bat-like ears of adult Fennec Foxes provide more than excellent hearing ability: the blood vessels in the ears easily lose heat to the air, helping the foxes to regulate body temperature. Fennec Foxes live in social groups in underground burrows, and are mostly nocturnal, staying out of the hot sun.

Fennec Foxes are very widespread, and are considered a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. However, they can be difficult to find and study, so it difficult to assess their population numbers in the wild. 


Precocious Seal Pup Mugs For Cameras at Wroclaw Zoo

DSC01439

On June 10, Wroclaw Zoo welcomed a female South African Fur Seal. This is the first offspring for the zoo's Seal group and keepers are pleased to report that the pups mother is taking great care of her newborn. Mother and child have been behind the scenes to allow the pair space and time to bond. After two weeks, keepers checked the sex of the pup and administered a medical examination. The female pup is healthy and curious about her surroundings, including her keepers.

DSC01400

DSC01410

DSC01405

DSC00040 (1)

 


Hip Hippo Hooray!

Zoo-Wroclaw-Pygmy-Hippo-3

On September 8th, Zoo Wroclaw welcomed a baby Pygmy Hippopotamus. This is the third calf for parents Elpunia and Carlos. The female calf stays close to her mother and has been seen trying to eat veggies and leaves. According to zoo officials, the small but fearless hippo took a bath in a swimming pool during her first day of life. Pygmy Hippos are endangered due to habitat destruction. It is estimated that fewer than 3,000 remain in the wild.

Zoo-Wroclaw-Pygmy-Hippo-2

Zoo-Wroclaw-Pygmy-Hippo

Zoo-Wroclaw-Pygmy-Hippo-4

Zoo-Wroclaw-Pygmy-Hippo-5
Photo credit: Marcin Matuszak / Zoo Wroclaw