ZooTampa’s First Koala Joey Emerges

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A Koala joey recently started to peek out of its mother’s pouch for the first time at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. The joey is the first Koala baby born at the Zoo in its history.

Once an embryo the size of a jellybean, the joey made the journey to mom Ceduna’s pouch, where it is finishing its final stages of pouch life development, with dad Heathcliff nearby.

Koalas are mammals and sometimes referred to as bears, even though they are not. Rather, Koalas are marsupials that differ from other mammals because their newborns develop inside mothers’ pouches instead of a womb. Initially, a joey is blind and earless and relies on natural instincts and strong senses of touch and smell to find its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch.

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Ceduna, who arrived at the Zoo in 2015, and Heathcliff, who arrived in 2014, are part of the Zoo’s effort to conserve the koala through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). After the pair’s successful mating, veterinary and animal care teams are celebrating the recent birth and new addition to the zoo’s Australia habitat, Wallaroo Station.

Throughout the pregnancy and joey’s development, Ceduna’s care has included thermography scans that inform her care team of changes in her muscular, skeletal and nervous systems and ensure optimal health.

“We do routine check-ups with Ceduna to build strong bonds with her and ensure the highest quality of care,” said Lauren Smith, D.V.M., veterinarian at ZooTampa. “The animal care team continues to monitor Ceduna and her baby closely as the joey’s exciting development continues.”

One of Australia’s most iconic animals, Koalas live primarily in forests and woodlands dominated by eucalyptus plants. Though poisonous to other species, specialized bacteria in a Koala’s digestive tract enables it to break down the plant’s toxins and rely heavily on eucalyptus for its food. Mature Koalas spend up to five hours feeding on the plant leaves every day. For this solitary species, the rest of the day is spent sleeping. Up to 95 percent of a Koala’s life is spent by itself.

In large part because of Australia’s national pride in the species, Koalas have survived the threat of extinction from habitat loss and hunting. ZooTampa is committed to continuing to aid the conservation of the species.

“We are proud to support conservation initiatives both at home and beyond,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, Senior Vice President and Chief Zoological Officer at ZooTampa. “Our partnership with the Australian government allows us to support the goals and objectives of the Koala Species Survival Plan.”

Guests can catch a glimpse of Ceduna practicing her yoga poses while her joey clings to her back or belly, until it reaches one year old and can begin climbing trees on its own. To get an even closer look at this unique species, guests can add a Koala Photo Encounter, presented by the Yob Family Foundation, to their visit to meet the joey’s dad, Heathcliff, and receive a photo. Guests are encouraged to stay tuned to the Zoo’s social media pages for more Joey updates.

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Sea Lion Pups at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

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Visitors to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium can now see two new Sea Lion pups at the zoo’s Owen Sea Lion Pavilion.

The first pup was born June 12 to nine-year-old Gemini. Another was born on June 18 to Coco, who was born at Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium in June 2009. The sexes of the pups are currently unknown.

The California Sea Lion pups and their mothers are currently on exhibit with the father of both pups, 15-year-old Chino. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium currently has eight Sea Lions: two males, four females and the two new pups.

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Visitors noticed that a significant amount of water has been drained from the Sea Lion’s pool. According to the zoo, this was done in preparation for the birth of the pups and will remain at a lower depth until both pups have learned to swim in deeper water. The zoo follows this routine each year in anticipation of pupping season. Mothers begin teaching their pups how to swim as early as a few days old by pulling them into the water for a short period of time for several days, each time getting farther and deeper into the water.

In 2020, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will open Owen Sea Lion Shores, a new sea lion habitat that will include elements such as natural boundaries, underwater viewing and state-of-the-art holding facilities complete with a diet prep area and holding pools. The area will include a natural beach, which will allow females to give birth on land and gradually introduce their pups to the water as they would in their natural habitats.

An integral part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Sea Lions includes the management of genetic diversity within the zoo network’s population. The SSP evaluates the population status and makes breeding recommendations. There are typically 15-20 breeding recommendations annually for Sea Lions, however, that changes based on the population status.

California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) are commonly found along the coastlines of the Pacific Northwest region. Males can weigh between 700 to 1,000 pounds while females can weigh between 200 to 250 pounds.


Rhino Calf Makes Hesitant Debut at Lincoln Park Zoo

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The Eastern Black Rhinoceros calf at Lincoln Park Zoo had access to his outdoor habitat at Regenstein African Journey recently, making his zoo debut!

The calf appeared eager to explore the new sights, scents, and sounds, but was hesitant to explore his outdoor habitat. After a few steps, he ran back inside to be near his mother, Kapuki.

ZooBorns shared news of the new arrival in a previous feature: Black Rhino Boy Born at Lincoln Park Zoo. Since his birth on May 19, the calf and Kapuki (age 13) have been bonding behind the scenes at the zoo's Regenstein African Journey.

“The rhino calf has continually surpassed numerous milestones and is becoming inquisitive of his surroundings,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray. “It’s exciting to see that curiosity shine through as he begins to explore his outdoor habitat.”

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3_20190618_CB_rhino first day out-4Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to rhino conservation and is home to three adult rhinos: Maku, Kapuki, and Ricko, along with its newest arrival.

“The Eastern Black Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan® (SSP) among accredited zoos is vitally important to this remarkable species, as numbers continue to dwindle in the wild due to poaching,” said Murray. “This calf not only represents hope for the species, but also serves as an ambassador for his wild counterparts.”

While the calf made his recent debut, rhino access to the outdoor habitat is weather dependent. For the health and safety of Kapuki and the calf, they will have the choice to explore their outdoor habitat if the weather is above 60 degrees, and dry, until the calf grows in size and strength. While the rhinos may have outdoor access, they may also choose to spend their time behind-the-scenes as they continue to adjust to the new changes.

Gestation for Eastern Black Rhinos is about 14-16 months with offspring weighing around 75 pounds at birth. Typically, Black Rhinos are a solitary species that only come together to breed. When full grown, Eastern Black Rhinos can stand up to 12 feet long and 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. They are a critically endangered species due to poaching for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal benefits despite being made of keratin – the same material that makes up human hair and nails.

For more rhino updates, follow Lincoln Park Zoo’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels and #RhinoWatch, along with the zoo blog and ZooMail, a biweekly news digest.

For more information about the species and Lincoln Park Zoo’s rhino conservation efforts, visit lpzoo.org. Those interested in helping care for mom and calf all year long may ADOPT a black rhino at lpzoo.org/adopt.

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Penguin Chicks Add to Conservation Success at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Two Humboldt Penguin chicks hatched at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on May 1 and May 4. The chicks made their public debut in early June.

The chicks are both males and are named Peru and Lima (“Lee-ma”) in honor of their native habitat off the coast of Peru.

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Penguin chick Peru by Maria S
Penguin chick Peru by Maria S
Penguin chick Peru by Maria SPhoto Credit: Maria Simmons

Both chicks are the offspring of Penguin parents Frederico and Poquita. Foster parents Venti and Isa are helping to raise the older chick, Peru, to give both chicks a strong start. The adults will feed the chicks until they are big enough to take fish directly from keepers. Penguins at the zoo are hand-fed twice a day so animal care staff can keep records of how much food each bird consumes.

Weighing only a few ounces at hatching, the chicks have grown rapidly. Each now weighs well over five pounds.

The new chicks bring the number of birds in the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin colony to 34. They will remain off exhibit with their parents until their waterproof feathers come in, then they will practice their swimming skills in the small indoor pool before joining the rest of the colony later this year.

Zoo Director Ted Fox said the new chicks were bred as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Humboldt Penguins overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. More than 55 Penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo since it joined the SSP in 2005, and many have gone to other AZA institutions to help preserve the species.

Humboldt Penguins are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In historic times, their nesting grounds were destroyed by guano mining, where deposits of their excrement were dug up and sold as fertilizer. In recent decades, changes in ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and overfishing in the Penguins' hunting waters have pushed populations even lower. Today, about 32,000 mature individuals are estimated to live on the coasts of Peru and Chile.


Seven Wolf Pups Emerge at Longleat Safari Park

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After the newest litter of European Wolves began emerging from their den a few weeks ago, keepers at Longleat Safari Park weren’t exactly sure how many pups were in the litter. They eventually determined that parents Eliska and Jango were raising seven pups!

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64483804_2984612788246287_842814699648057344_nPhoto Credit: Longleat Safari Park

Once it was known that pups had been born, the care team allowed the family to bond without any interference from staff. Keepers would occasionally glimpse the pups when Eliska and Jango moved the pups between three separate underground dens in their woodland enclosure.

“As the pups spend their first few weeks underground it makes it very difficult to work out exactly how many there are. Initially we thought there were only five, so to discover there’s actually seven of them was a wonderful bonus,” said Longleat’s team manager for carnivores, Amy Waller.

The pups, which weighed less than a pound when born, are now able to eat small amounts of meat but will not be fully weaned until eight to 10 weeks of age.

This is the second litter born at the Safari Park in the last year and boosts the pack size to 14.

“The pups’ older siblings have also been getting involved with transporting them from den to den but have still not entirely got the hang of holding them the right way up so mum and dad do have to occasionally intervene,” added Amy.

Wolf packs have a highly complex social structure and each individual knows its place in the pack hierarchy. In the wild, wolves depend on cooperation within the pack for survival, both in hunting and in raising offspring.

Wild Wolves were eradicated from most of Western Europe in the 19th century and they have been extinct throughout the United Kingdom for more than 250 years.

Thanks to several Wolf reintroduction programs, the wild Wolf population in Europe is now thought to include 12,000 individuals in 28 countries.

There are established packs in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain and Italy with numbers also on the rise in parts of France and Germany. In 2011, Wolves were also reported in Belgium and the Netherlands.

See more pup pics below!

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Lincoln Park Zoo Welcomes Second New Gorilla

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s Western Lowland Gorilla troop welcomed another new face on June 12 at Regenstein Center for African Apes! Bana, 24, gave birth to a healthy infant, exactly one month after the arrival of a male infant that was born to mom, Rollie, on May 12.

The baby is staying tucked in close and clinging to mom, Bana, and has begun nursing. The infant is the second offspring for Bana, who gave birth to a female, named Patty, in 2012. Kwan, 30, the silverback of the family group, continues to closely watch Bana and the infant.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival. Bana is an experienced mother who is displaying appropriate maternal skills and care,” said Curator of Primates, Jill Moyse.

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The unsexed newborn joins a troop of eight individuals, including adult females, Bahati and Rollie, three juvenile females (Bella, Nayembi, and Patty), and the recent male infant. Both gorilla infants have yet to be named.

“Having two offspring born close together provides such an exciting time for guests and gorillas alike,” said Moyse. “The infants will have the opportunity to grow, develop, and explore their surroundings together and learn from one another.”

Animal Care staff will closely monitor Bana and the infant as they continue to surpass critical milestones. Kwan and Bana were recommended to breed as a part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative effort among zoos accredited by Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Western Lowland Gorillas are classified by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered”, in their native Central Africa, due to habitat loss and poaching. Scientists with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes are dedicated to saving this species with ongoing work both at the zoo and in the Republic of the Congo. This work has facilitated new strategies to mitigate the impact of human and consumer behaviors such as unsustainable logging and urbanization.

For more information about Lincoln Park Zoo’s ape conservation efforts and Western Lowland Gorillas, visit www.lpzoo.org . Those interested in helping care for mom and baby all year long may ADOPT a gorilla at www.lpzoo.org/adopt .


Red Wolf Pups Named for Native Plants and Trees

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Now that they’re starting to venture outside the den, the eight endangered Red Wolf pups born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are ready for names!

The pups, who were born May 10, are now known as: Chester, Cypress and Hawthorn for the three boys; Camellia, Magnolia, Myrtle, Peat and Willow for the five girls.

Members of the public overwhelmingly picked the slate of flower, plant and tree names for the puppies. The list of flora was compiled by the zoo’s Red Wolf keepers from among flowers, plants and trees from the wolves’ native range in North Carolina. More than 4,500 people participated in the voting.

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During a recent exam by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Kadie Anderson, the eight healthy pups weighed between 3 and 4 pounds.

“They’re growing fast, and they all appear to be healthy,” Anderson said. “It’s a joy to have them at Point Defiance Zoo and to watch them grow. They are the future of their species.”

If guests of the afternoon keeper chats are fortunate, the pups and mom Charlotte might make an appearance. Whether – and how far – they venture out into their habitat is all up to them, though. Puppy sightings aren’t guaranteed.

“We’ve seem more activity from them over the last week or so,” said Jenn Donovan, the senior staff biologist in the Kids’ Zone/Red Wolf Woods area of the zoo. “Charlotte is being a fantastic mother. She’s been nursing and bonding with them.

“As they become more mobile and independent, she’ll spend less time with them, but will continue to keep a watchful eye on her eight pups,” Donovan added.

North American Red Wolves are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with only about 40 in the wild and just over 250 in zoos and wildlife centers across the nation.

The pups are part of a cooperative effort that helped bring these iconic American animals back from the brink of extinction four decades ago. Point Defiance Zoo has been at the forefront of the program, and these eight pups represent another success in the survival of the Red Wolf species.

For more information about Red Wolves and Red Wolf conservation, go to www.pdza.org//animals/red-wolf-woods .

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Woodland Park Zoo's Otter Pups Have Names

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Woodland Park Zoo’s ‘otterly adorable’ North American River Otter pups officially have names! The two boys have been named Tucker and Nooksack, and the two girls were named Piper and Tahu.

According to Woodland Park staff, Nooksack, Piper, and Tahu were thoughtfully named by three families who are great friends of the zoo, and Tucker’s name was voted on by zoo-goers that attended the zoo’s “Bear Affair: Living Northwest Conservation Day”.

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Swimming doesn’t come naturally to otters. Keepers report that first-time mom, Valkyrie, has been a phenomenal teacher, masterfully showing her babies the ins and outs of navigating the water in their exhibit’s pool. The pups are mastering the art of diving, and with four pups to teach at once, that’s no easy feat for mom. The babies quickly took to the water, and their initial splashing and paddling has now blossomed into graceful diving and gliding through the pool.

All four otter pups, and mom Valkyrie, are in their outdoor habitat, located at the zoo’s Northern Trail, daily between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. If they’re not visible, they’re most likely napping — all that swimming can really wear a pup out!

The four pups were born in March and are all still nursing with their mom. Their current weights are between 4 and 6 pounds each. The pups are the first offspring for mom, Valkyrie, and dad, Ziggy (both 5 years old). It’s also the first-ever documented River Otter birth in Woodland Park Zoo’s 119-year history!

North American River Otters (Lontra Canadensis) are semi-aquatic members of the weasel family. Their habitat ranges over most of North America in coastal areas, estuaries, freshwater lakes, streams and rivers; they can be found in water systems all over Washington State. River Otters consume a wide variety of prey such as fish, crayfish, amphibians and birds. At the top of the food chain, River Otters are an excellent reflection of the health of local ecosystems.

All otter species are considered threatened, while five of the 13 species are endangered due to water pollution, overfishing of commercial stock, and habitat destruction.

To help Woodland Park Zoo contribute information to sustainable breeding, husbandry and public awareness of the River Otter, patrons can adopt the species through the zoo’s ZooParent program. For more information, see the zoo’s website: https://www.zoo.org/


Meet Flash The Gentoo Penguin Chick

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The pitter patter of tiny flippers is being heard at the National Sea Life Centre in the United Kingdom as the staff celebrates the hatching of a Gentoo Penguin.

The chick was named Flash due to its speedy arrival just 12 hours after it began ‘pipping’ – the term used to describe how baby birds peck their way out of their eggs.

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The hatching is extra special because the parents traveled thousands of miles by airplane to pair up under a global breeding program.

Parents Prince, age one, and four-year-old Hyacinth are providing excellent care for Flash. The chick’s gender is not yet known.

Prince was unlucky in love during last year’s mating season, so the staff was happy to see Prince find a partner in Hyacinth.

Gentoo Penguins are difficult to breed in zoos, because they are particularly sensitive to their surroundings. The staff at the National Sea Life Centre worked hard to get every detail just right within the birds’ habitat.

In the wild, Gentoo Penguins nest on ice-free areas of Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands. Some populations of Gentoo Penguins have declined rapidly in recent years suggesting that the birds could experience a larger decline from habitat loss, pollution, and illegal collection of their eggs.

See more photos of Flash below.

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Baby Giraffe Ditches His Corrective Shoes

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Baby Giraffe Hasani was born with rear leg abnormalities that prompted Woodland Park Zoo staff to fit him with custom-made shoes to improve his condition.  A few weeks later, he upgraded to newer shoes and went outdoors for the first time.

Now, his legs have improved and he no longer needs corrective shoes. He still wears kinesiology tape to stimulate and stabilize his leg muscles.

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61381532_10157606871717708_5661963096059543552_nPhoto Credit: J. Laughlin/Woodland Park Zoo

Immediately after Hasani’s birth on May 2, the zoo’s animal health team noticed each rear foot was not in normal alignment. The condition, known as hyperextended fetlocks, is well documented in horses and has been reported to occur in Giraffes. One day after the Giraffe was born, the zoo’s animal health team applied casts on both rear legs to help stabilize his limbs. 

The zoo’s veterinary team consulted with a Kentucky-based equine veterinarian who specializes in foot conditions. He visited the zoo to evaluate the calf, and crafted new custom shoes based on the zoo’s specifications and a modified design he has used to successfully treat numerous foals with the same condition.

After a few weeks, one of the shoes dropped off and Hasani appeared to be walking well without it so the staff did not intervene. Later that week, the veterinary staff removed the other shoe and cast material. “We’re pleased to report there is marked improvement in both rear limbs. Hasani’s walking well and continues to readily stand and lie down. He remains active like a calf his age should. We will continue to closely observe his gait, foot position, any limb and foot changes, energy and nursing,” says Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian. 

The baby Giraffe continues to wear kinesiology tape to help stimulate and support his leg muscles. “If his condition regresses, we’re prepared to outfit him with another pair of shoes but we’re optimistic we won’t have to. So far he’s showing remarkable progress,” adds Storms. 

Hasani made his debut to zoo visitors a couple weeks ago. Since then, he has been introduced to Tufani, his aunt and Dave, his dad. Hasani remains curious and active, according to his care team.

Hasani's parents, Olivia and Dave, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Giraffes. Woodland Park Zoo participates in 111 Species Survival Plans, overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New population surveys estimate an overall 40 percent decline in the Giraffe population; fewer than 100,000 exist today. Of the currently recognized subspecies of Giraffe, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable. 

See more photos of Hasani below.

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