King Penguin Chick Makes a Grand Entrance

KCZoo King Penguin Chick 1

While fluffy snow was recently blanketing Kansas City, Missouri and knocking out power metro wide, including at the Kansas City Zoo, something exciting was happening inside the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The first King Penguin egg to be laid at the Zoo hatched on Sunday, January 13. The name “Blizzard” was chosen for this chick since it made its entrance into the world during one big snowstorm!

KCZoo King Penguin Chick 2Photo Credits: Brian McCarty/Kansas City Zoo

Helzberg Penguin Plaza opened its doors in October 2013 and became home to several King Penguins. But it wasn’t until this winter that those penguins formed love connections. In late November, the Zoo’s first King Penguin egg was laid, and parents Jilly and Dwayne kept dutiful watch over it. For king penguins, that required them to hold the delicate egg on their feet to keep it warm, taking turns doing so for the 53-day incubation period. On January 13, the new chick was finally ready to hatch!

Zookeepers have been keeping an eye on the chick, weighing it periodically to make sure its gaining weight. Jilly and Dwayne are first-time parents but are doing a great job feeding and caring for little Blizzard.

Visitors can see the chick, Blizzard, and the rest of the flock in Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species of penguin, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island.


Rare African Painted Dog Pups at Binder Park Zoo

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Binder Park Zoo is celebrating the arrival of eleven rare African Painted Dog pups that were born on November 30, 2018.

All the pups are said to be thriving and receiving attentive care from mom, Ghost, and dad, Verizon, in their birthing den behind the scenes at the zoo. Zoo staff has been monitoring their activity via closed circuit cameras to allow the pair and their litter the space, comfort and security they need while ensuring all is well.

“Zoo staff has been maintaining a hands-off approach, giving the family unit privacy and the opportunity to grow and bond without unnecessary intervention,” states Brett Linsley, Manager of Wildlife, Conservation and Education. “Ghost has demonstrated excellent mothering skills and since painted dogs have a complicated social pack structure, it’s preferable to allow that critical bonding and development to happen as naturally as possible.”

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3_African Painted Dogs in DenPhoto Credits: Binder Park Zoo (Image 4: mom, Ghost/Image 5: dad, Verizon)

African Painted Dogs are one of the most endangered carnivores in Africa, with an estimated global population of less than 5,000 and declining due to human conflict, habitat fragmentation and widespread diseases like distemper and rabies. The African Painted Dog is currently listed as “Endangered” by both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The scientific name for the African Painted Dog is Lycaon pictus. Also known as Cape Hunting Dogs, Wild Dogs or Painted Wolves, these spectacular animals are aptly named for their unusually marked coats of brown, black, yellow and white - unique to each individual. Painted Dogs are intelligent and highly social animals as well as successful pack hunters.

Verizon is 11 years old and one of a trio of brothers that came to Binder Park Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2012. Ghost was born in the United Kingdom in 2014 and later transferred to the Houston Zoo. She joined the Binder Park Zoo pack in 2017 as a breeding recommendation from a Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). While somewhat old for a first-time dad, Verizon’s contribution is significant since both his and her genes are underrepresented adding desirable diversity to the North American zoo population.

Continue reading "Rare African Painted Dog Pups at Binder Park Zoo" »


Playful Pudú Fawn Sticks Close to Mom

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A male Southern Pudu was born at the L.A. Zoo on December 19, 2018.

The tiny fawn was born to first-time parents, Steph and Mario. The playful newborn may be difficult for visitors to spot in its habitat. According to keepers, he likes to spend a lot of time tucked away, close to mom. 

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4_Pudu Mom & Fawn 1-3-19 By Tad Motoyama _4858Photo Credits: Los Angeles Zoo/ Tad Motoyama

The Pudús consist of two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu, and they are known as the world's smallest deer. Pudús range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and grow up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.

The Northern Pudú (Pudu mephistophiles) is found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The Southern Pudú (Pudu puda) is native to southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.

As of 2009, the Southern Pudu remains classified as “Near Threatened”, while the Northern Pudu is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Los Angeles Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the Southern Pudu, whose population is declining in the wild.

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Tree-Kangaroo Joey Journeys From Mom’s Pouch

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The new little Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey, at Woodland Park Zoo, is now venturing out of his mother’s pouch!

The little male, named Ecki, will soon leave the pouch permanently as he gradually grows more confident and independent.

“Ecki” is named after a beloved elder from one of the remote Papua New Guinea villages that works with Woodland Park Zoo to help protect Tree Kangaroos and their habitat. The joey and his mother, 11-year-old Elanna, currently live behind the scenes in an off-view habitat at the zoo.

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Unnamed (4)Photo Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

While Ecki is just now being introduced to the world, he was actually born eight months ago. When joeys are born, they’re only the size of a jellybean! Within just one to two minutes of birth, that tiny baby has to crawl from the birth canal, through the mother’s fur, and into the pouch to immediately begin nursing. That’s exactly what Ecki did, and he’s been tucked away in his mom Elanna’s pouch.

But while Ecki may have been hidden from view, the zoo’s dedicated animal care staff constantly monitored him and his mother to make sure that both were healthy and meeting expected milestones. One way they were able to do that is through routine “pouch checks,” where keepers looked inside Elanna’s pouch to check on the joey.

“Training Elanna to cooperate with pouch checks required a solid foundation of trust between Elanna and her keepers. Using positive reinforcement, our keepers trained Elanna to come down to a platform when asked, place her front feet onto a white tube, and extend the time holding still in this position. At the same time, keepers slowly desensitized Elanna to gently touching and opening her pouch until they were able to see inside it,” said Animal Care Manager Rachel Salant.

Finally, keepers spent some time slowly introducing cameras and cell phones near Elanna so that she would be comfortable with having the devices around to record video of her pouch.

As part of all of the zoo’s animal training sessions, Elanna had the choice to leave any session at any time, so any video recorded was because Elanna fully allowed it. The result is a rare, up-close look at a Tree Kangaroo joey in his early stages of life, and it’s incredible to watch.

In the coming months, Ecki will become fully weaned from his mother, and eventually grow independent. In the meantime, animal care staff will continue to observe Ecki and Elanna to make sure both are happy, healthy and thriving.

Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program that is working to protect the endangered Tree Kangaroo and help maintain the unique biodiversity of its native Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of the people who live there.

Woodland Park Zoo invites the public to consider supporting the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program here: https://www.zoo.org/tkcp/donate


New Bongo Baby for the New Year

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens had the perfect way to celebrate the New Year. An Eastern Bongo calf was born late in the afternoon of December 28.

Nearly 18-year-old, Molly, and 10-year-old, Tambo, are the parents to a healthy baby girl who is already delighting guests in her spacious mixed-species habitat along the African Boardwalk exhibit.

While undeniably cute, the baby is also an exciting addition to the Zoo and the Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program between accredited zoos. Zoo staff is especially thrilled because Molly is an older mom and her last calf was born over eight years ago.

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4_baby with half sister and dadPhoto Credits: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Zoo’s newest addition joins her half-sister who was born to Tambo and Sequoia in June of 2018. An SSP breeding recommendation brought adult male Tambo to the Zoo in March of 2017. This is his sixth offspring.

After receiving a neonatal exam from the Animal Health team, the youngster is cleared to be on exhibit with her mother, father, Aunt Sequoia and the other youngster. Sharing the Bongo enclosure are two Yellow-backed Duikers, a smaller mountain species of African Antelope.

Eastern Bongo are native to the mountains and tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Their critically endangered status is due mainly to a loss of habitat because of logging. Bongos are the largest of the forest antelope and both males and females sport thick, curved horns. At the Zoo, guests can tell the male Tambo apart from the females because of his darker coloring and significantly heavier horns.


Zoo Celebrates Two Rare Primate Births

Cotton top tamarin 3 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian Lilly (1)

The year 2018 ended on a high note for the Shaldon Wildlife Trust with the births of two endangered Tamarins.

Tamarins are a group of Monkeys native to Central and South America. There are more than 30 species of Tamarins, and most are roughly the size of a squirrel.

Cotton top tamarin 1 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian Lilly
Cotton top tamarin 1 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian LillyPhotos of Cotton-top Tamarin: Brian Lilly

A Pied Tamarin (not pictured) arrived in late October, the 12th to be born at the zoo. This species is found only in a small slice of tropical rain forest near the Brazilian city of Manaus. Pied Tamarins require highly specialized care and feeding, so zoo births are rare. The species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), because it is threatened with habitat loss.

A Cotton-top Tamarin born this fall is the first to be born at the facility in 15 years.  The baby was born to parents Tina and Turner, who are providing excellent care for their offspring. Males assist the female by carrying the baby on their back.

Like their cousins the Pied Tamarins, Cotton-top Tamarins are native to South America and have a unique diet that includes tree sap. They are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, with only about 6,000 individuals remaining in the wild. They were once listed as one of the 25 most endangered Primates in the world.

Cooperative breeding programs among zoos help to maintain a high level of genetic diversity within the zoo-dwelling population. Once these two babies have grown up, they will likely move to other European zoos and breed with unrelated individuals, thus bolstering the species.


Baby Polar Bear Snuggles Into the New Year

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As the saying goes, “No news is good news” – and this applies to the Polar Bear den at Tierpark Berlin. The tiny infant born there on December 1 remains peacefully tucked away in the maternity den with its mother Tonja, and spends its days nursing and cuddling with mom.

Tonja kuschelt mit Eisbärjungtier_Tierpark Berlin
Tonja kuschelt mit Eisbärjungtier_Tierpark BerlinPhoto Credit: Tierpark Berlin

The zoo staff is taking a hands-off approach to the new cub, allowing Tonja to care for her baby just as wild Polar Bears do. Mothers and cubs spend several months in their den, emerging in the spring.  The staff, including curator Dr. Florian Sick, uses remote camera technology to observe mom and baby every hour. "Based on the video images, I can see that the offspring has become really mischievous over the holidays. The little bear is also getting more and more active,” explains Dr. Sick.

Baby Polar Bears have a high mortality rate – in the wild, up to 85% of Polar Bears do not survive past two years of age. Dr. Sick cautions that although the cub is thriving so far, the outlook for its survival is still precarious. But for now, the zookeepers celebrate every gram that the little Polar Bear gains.

In about a month, Dr. Sick expects that the staff will have a chance to conduct a hands-on examination of the cub. By that time, Tonja will start leaving her baby in the den for short periods while she eats and drinks outdoors. While Tonja is out of the den, zookeepers can quickly weigh and examine the infant.

It’s hard for the keepers to wait to meet the cub in person, especially when they see adorable images of the baby on the remote cameras. But all agree on one wish for the new year – a healthy, active baby Polar Bear.

Wild Polar Bears face many threats, including diminishing sea ice which limits their ability to hunt. Many scientists believe that climate change is the root cause of Polar Bears’ clouded future.


‘Extinct’ birds hatch at Chester Zoo

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Two chicks belonging to a species that was declared extinct in the wild 47 years ago have hatched at Chester Zoo.

The Soccoro dove, which originates from Socorro Island located 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, vanished from the wild completely in 1972.

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'Extinct' birds hatch at Chester Zoo (5)

The introduction of sheep that ate plants the doves depended on for food and shelter, and invasive species such as cats that preyed upon the birds, are believed to be the main factors behind their demise.

Now, there are less than 200 Socorro doves existing entirely in zoos around the world, with just 23 in the UK – including Chester Zoo’s latest arrivals.

The chicks, which hatched on 7 November and fledged 20 days later, were raised by ‘foster parents’ – a pair of barbary doves – as adult Socorro doves have a poor track record of incubating eggs and raising their own chicks.

Continue reading "‘Extinct’ birds hatch at Chester Zoo" »


Christmas Came Early for Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is celebrating a special Christmas present, which came early, with the birth of an Asian Small-clawed Otter pup. The birth is a first for the Zoo, which debuted the species with the opening of the ‘Land of the Tiger’ in 2014.

The tiny new pup was born to first-time parents, Carlisle and Harley, on November 14. The pup was only 3-ounces when born, but it is now a fluffy 18 ounces. A very dear friend and Zoo patron chose to name the little otter “Scotter”.

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4_Harley and CarlislePhoto Credits: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (Image 4: Proud otter parents, Carlisle and Harley)

Asian Small-clawed Otters are the smallest of the 13 otter species. They are slow developers and the little one is just now starting to open its eyes. In fact, they are so slow to develop, staff has yet to determine the pup’s gender.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are also very social animals, with both parents sharing responsibilities raising the pup. Carlisle and Harley have been busy with grooming and nest building for the healthy little one in their behind-the-scenes otter house.

Next up for the increasingly mobile pup will be swimming lessons. The proud parents will introduce the little one to a small tub of shallow water in the night house. Unlike most other otter species, Asian Small-clawed Otters spend much more time on the land but are still agile swimmers.

It will be several weeks before the pup is able to explore the large exhibit that is shared with two Babirusa Pigs, Jeffrey and Ramona. Until then, the Zoo will share milestones like swimming lessons on their social media channels.

Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinerea) are native to Southeast Asia where they are classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. The species is threatened by habitat loss due to palm oil production.

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Allwetterzoo Provides Haven for Endangered Turtles

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This year, Allwetterzoo Münster has successfully bred nearly 200 juvenile turtle species from nearing extinction.

For 15 years, Münster Zoo has been committed to protecting severely threatened species of Asian turtles. Some of the species they have bred this year are among the world's 25 most endangered turtles. Among them is the Zhou's Box Turtle, whose survival has been secured by the assistance of Münster.

The Zhou's Box Turtle (Cuora zhoui) has not been found in nature, and the 140 individuals of the species that are known are currently in human hands. Münster helped increase that number with their 80 hatchlings.

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3_Bild 2_Cuora mccordi SchlupfPhoto Credits: Münster Zoo /Image 1: Zhou's Box Turtle (Cuora zhoui)/ Image 2: Sulawesi Forest Turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi)/ Image 3: McCord's Box Turtle (Cuora mccordi)

The same measure of success also applies to the Sulawesi Forest Turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi), which is close to extinction. The species is hardly kept in zoos, but there has been an increase of hatchlings due to the help of the International Center for Turtle Conservation (IZS). The IZS was founded as a cooperative project about 15 years ago between Elmar Meier (ZGAP) and Allwetterzoo. The project's success is based primarily on the volunteer work of Ingrid and Elmar Meier who have guided "turtles station" for 15 years. Today, the station is home to numerous endangered Asian turtle species. The goal is to build stable "ex situ" populations of species and, with improved safety conditions in the future and reintroduce the animals in the countries of origin.

The zoo also saw the hatching of ten McCord's Box Turtles (Cuora mccordi), a type that is probably extinct in the wild as less than 1,000 individuals are now only known to be in human hands.

The zoo provided the following chart to illustrate the exact numbers of hatchlings for the year. Allwetterzoo's website may also provide further information: www.allwetterzoo.de

Common (German) Name:

Scientific Name:

Hatchlings:

Asian Box Turtle

Cuora amboinensis kamaroma

50  

Golden-headed box turtle

Cuora aurocapitata

6  

Bourret's Box Turtle

Cuora bourreti

Three-striped box turtle

Cuora cyclornata anamitica

11

Three-striped box turtle

Cuora cyclornata Meieri  

4  

Burmese Box Turtle

Cuora galbinifrons

1  

McCord's Box Turtle

Cuora mccordi

10   

Vietnamese box turtle

C uora picturata  

3   

Three-striped box turtle

Cuora trifasciata luteocephala

8  

Zhou's Box Turtle

Cuora zhoui

7  

Yellow-headed tortoise

Indotestudo elongata

73 

Sulawesi forest turtle

Leucocephalon yuwonoi

2  

Vietnamese pond turtle

Mauremys annamensis  

15   

     

Grand Total:

 

193