Eight Red Wolf Pups Get A Check-Up

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Over a 12-hour period on May 10 and 11, American Red Wolf mother Charlotte whelped a litter of eight healthy, squirming pups in a secluded den at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

This is the second litter of the Critically Endangered species to be born at the zoo in seven years.

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60329666_10156510873084624_7746627933912956928_nPhoto Credit: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Zoo keepers monitored the young family over the weekend via cameras placed in their behind-the-scenes den. The pups are not viewable by zoo guests.

On May 13, staff biologists checked on and weighed the precious pups and discovered a ninth pup that did not survive, an occurrence that’s not unusual in large litters, according to zoo staff.

The pups are part of a Species Survival Plan© (SSP) that includes more than 40 zoos and wildlife centers across the country and has helped bring this iconic animal back from the brink of extinction.

These eight pups represent another big step in saving the American Red Wolf. On May 15, the staff gave the tiny pups a hands-on exam. The pups, which include three males and five females, weigh 11 ounces to 13 ounces each – roughly the weight of a can of soda.

The pups’ father hasn’t been introduced to his offspring yet. If he tries to come into the den, Charlotte warns him off with a low growl. Eventually she will allow him to meet the pups. Zoo staff members plan to propose prospective names for the pups and allow fans to cast votes for their favorites.

By the 1970s, only 14 red wolves were all that remained of this species that ranged across the Southeastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Texas. In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Red Wolf biologically extinct in the wild.

Today, some 40 roam the Red Wolf Recovery Area operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in northeastern North Carolina where they were reintroduced to the wild three decades ago. Red Wolves remain one of the most endangered Wolf species on Earth.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Chester Zoo’s New Giraffe Calf is a 'Rare' Beauty

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The dramatic moment a rare giraffe entered the world was recently caught on camera at Chester Zoo.

Orla, a highly endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe, gave birth to the six-foot-tall female calf on May 8 after a two-and-half-hour labour (and 477 days gestation).

She has been named ‘Karamoja’. Keepers dedicated the new calf’s name to the people of Karamoja in Uganda, Africa. Karamoja is the region in Uganda where the zoo’s conservationists are working alongside The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to protect some of the last remaining populations of wild Rothschild’s Giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park.

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4_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The new birth – the second at the zoo in the space of just eight weeks - is another important boost for the global breeding programme for the endangered animals, with the wild population standing at just 2,650.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said, “When you’re the world’s tallest land mammal, your entry into the world is a long one… and not always very graceful. But since giraffes give birth standing up, a calf starts off its life with a drop of up to two meters to the ground. This fall breaks the umbilical cord helps to stimulate its first breath.”

“Following the birth, Orla’s calf was then on its feet within 30 minutes – and is already towering above most of the keepers at nearly six feet tall. It’s so far looking strong and healthy and is another special new arrival, coming hot on the hooves of Mburo who was born just eight weeks ago,” Roffe continued.

“Mburo was clearly highly interested in the new thing that had landed near to him. Seeing the two young calves together is wonderful.”

Continue reading "Chester Zoo’s New Giraffe Calf is a 'Rare' Beauty" »


Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin Chick Duo Hatches

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Woodland Park Zoo’s breeding season for Humboldt Penguins has closed with the successful hatching of two chicks.

Incubation for penguins takes 40 to 42 days, with both parents sharing incubation duties in the nest and day-to-day care for their chicks.

The new chicks bring the total number of successful hatchings of the species at the zoo to 70 since the zoo’s first breeding season in 2010, a year after the penguin habitat opened. The sex of the chicks is unknown until DNA testing can be conducted.

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4_60358743_10157549803857708_8416709799219036160_nPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The chicks are off exhibit in nesting burrows where they are under the care of the parents. To ensure they are achieving growth milestones, staff weighs them as they develop with minimal intervention to allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience.

The first chick hatched April 5 to mom, Claudia, and dad, Cortez; it is the third offspring for the parents. The second chick hatched May 1 and was placed under the care of foster parents, Mateo and Mini; the biological parents were moved to an aquarium under a breeding recommendation made by the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of penguins.

Before new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they are removed from the nest so animal keepers can condition the birds to approach them for hand feeding and other animal care activities. The chicks also are given round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. New chicks join the colony in the outdoor habitat sometime in early summer.

People do not usually think of penguins as a desert-dwelling species. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. They live on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands. Humboldt Penguins have a body made to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They steer with their feet and tail.

Humboldt Penguins are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Approximately 30,000 to 35,000 survive in their natural range. Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt Penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, Peru, breeding the birds through the Species Survival Plan, and encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options as directed by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Punta San Juan is home to 5,000 Humboldt Penguins, the largest colony in Peru.

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‘King’ Among Giants Born at Whipsnade Zoo

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Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are still celebrating the recent birth of a giant.

A Reticulated Giraffe was born to first time mum, Luna, and dad, Bashu, on April 26. The new male calf has been named Khari, which means ‘King-like’ in Swahili, because of his regal-looking ossicones - the tiny crown-like horns on a Giraffe’s head.

Born as part of the European Breeding Programme (EEP) for the Endangered species, the adorable calf already stands head and shoulders above most of the residents at the UK’s largest zoo – hovering at almost six-feet tall.

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4_Newborn giraffe at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (c) ZSL (9)Photo Credits: Zoological Society of London

ZSL team leader, Mark Holden, explained, “First-time mum Luna is doing a sterling job of looking after Khari - positively doting on her new arrival, while feeding and cleaning him regularly.”

“However, the birth was definitely a family affair; Dad Bashu was rubbing Luna’s neck encouragingly during her four-hour labour, while grandmother Ijuma helped to clean the youngster after the birth - and they’ve all since continued to be very involved in Khari’s care.”

Giraffe calves weigh more than the twenty times the average 7 lb. human when they’re born, weighing in at around 150 lbs. at birth.

Giraffes also give birth standing up, meaning their calves make an epic entrance into the world: falling six feet, hooves first to the ground, before learning to walk within an hour.

"Khari is a very confident calf, just like his father, Bashu, and is very inquisitive about his new surroundings…tottering around the Giraffe House exploring every inch of his new home.”

“Under his parents’ watchful gaze, Khari has even started to tentatively venture outside, so lucky visitors should be able to spot him stretching his legs…!”

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males reach a towering 19 feet tall and weigh between 2400 and 4250 pounds. Females measure up to 17 feet tall and weigh between 1540 and 2600 pounds.

Giraffes have the same number of bones in the neck as humans – seven. Valves in their neck prevent blood rushing to the head when they bend down to drink. Babies stand at about two meters at birth - their horns lie flat at birth and pop up several days later.

Giraffes eat mainly acacia leaves but also shoots, fruits and other vegetation.

In the wild, Reticulated Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are confined to northeastern Kenya, eastern Sudan and Eritrea. Reticulated Giraffes are the most distinctively patterned of the eight subspecies of Giraffe. Their coat has brown, regular, box-like patterns (called a reticulated pattern). White spaces between the patches form narrow lines. This elaborate pattern is good camouflage in dense, dry vegetation.


Woodland Park Zoo’s Giraffe Calf Gets Custom Shoes

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Woodland Park Zoo’s male Giraffe calf has been outfitted with custom-made therapeutic shoes in the next phase of treatment for his rear leg abnormalities.

The calf was born on May 2 to mom Olivia. Hours after his birth, the zoo’s animal health team radiographed his rear legs after noticing each rear foot was not in normal alignment.

“The condition is known as hyperextended fetlocks. It is well documented in horses and has been reported to occur in Giraffes,” said Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo.

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4_2019_05_02 baby giraffe-2Photo Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

One day after the Giraffe was born, the zoo’s animal health team applied casts on both rear legs to help stabilize his limbs.

After consultations of medical literature and colleagues at other zoos, the zoo’s exhibits team was called in to help. The talented team of exhibit artists specially crafted two-piece shoes made of high-density polyethylene and plywood with grooves for better adhesion to the foot and for better traction.

“At this stage, the new therapeutic shoes are on a trial basis, but I’m hopeful that they will help him walk better. We’ll continue refining and improving our approach to find a good balance between supporting his limbs and strengthening his tendons,” said Storms. “We’re so very grateful to our in-house exhibits team for jumping in to help our baby Giraffe. We’re very touched by their eagerness to lend their expertise to caring for this new life. It’s been all hands on deck for our baby.”

Treatment will most likely span over several months. “While our baby Giraffe is healthy and continues nursing and bonding with mom, he remains in guarded condition and under close observation. As we move forward with his treatment, we’ll continue assessing the best course of action to help him walk and grow normally,” added Storms.

During the veterinary procedure, the baby weighed in at 170.5 pounds, up from a birth weight of 155 pounds. Mom and her baby remain off view, in the barn, for an indefinite period to allow continued maternal bonding and nursing in a cozy, private setting.

The yet-unnamed baby was born to mom, Olivia, and dad, Dave. This is the first offspring between the 12-year-old mom and 6-year-old dad; Olivia had her first baby in 2013 at Woodland Park Zoo with a different mate.

The last Giraffe birth at Woodland Park Zoo was a female, Lulu, born in 2017 to mom, Tufani (Olivia’s younger sister) and dad, Dave. In addition to the baby, Olivia, Dave and Tufani make up the current herd of Giraffes at the zoo.

The 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.  

Viewers can see updates about the new calf by visiting www.zoo.org/giraffe and by following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Continue reading "Woodland Park Zoo’s Giraffe Calf Gets Custom Shoes" »


Okapi Calf Arrives At Marwell Zoo - And It's a Girl!

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (17)

Marwell Zoo is celebrating the arrival of an endangered Okapi calf - and it's a girl!

Te female calf has been named Niari, which means 'rare' in an African language. It is also the name of a region within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Okapis are found.

First-time mother Daphne and her calf are both doing well, and they are bonding in a behind-the-scenes habitat.

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (12)

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (33)Photo Credit: Jason Brown

Animal keeper Phil Robbins said, “We know guests are desperate to see the pair, but we want to make sure Daphne and Niari enjoy some peace and quiet, as this is essential in the first few weeks of the nesting period.”

“Okapis are very shy animals. As such, we prefer to keep Okapi dams and calves in an isolated environment to reduce noise and stress levels,” he added.

Okapis give birth to a single calf after a 14-month gestation period. An Okapi calf can be on its feet and suckling within half an hour of being born. In the wild, the mother will leave her calf in a hiding place to nest, returning regularly to allow the calf to nurse.

Only when they are 30-40 days old do Okapi calves defecate for the first time. This unique adaptation may keep predators from sniffing out the hidden newborn until the calf has grown and gained strength.

Okapis are relatives of Giraffes and are found only in the rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Okapis as Endangered due to illegal mining, logging, and human settlement, which degrades their forest habitat. Okapis are also hunted for bushmeat by local people. Armed conflicts in the region have inhibited conservation actions.  

See more photos of the Okapi calf below.

Continue reading "Okapi Calf Arrives At Marwell Zoo - And It's a Girl!" »


Clouded Leopard Birth Includes Two Much-Needed Males

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that a Clouded Leopard named River gave birth to three cubs, two males and one female, on April 29. 

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan® in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The species is under threat in its native habitat.

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47798037611_c5de765218_kPhoto Credit: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn

“These three cubs are important because they will go on to pair with other Clouded Leopards and increase this species' captive population," said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “The two males are particularly important because there were no males born at AZA facilities last year, which means there were few, if any, cub pairings."

Clouded Leopards are paired with unrelated mates born at other zoos within the first year so the couple will grow up together. This process lowers aggression from the males and increases the chance of successful mating and birth in the future.

After the care team noticed that three-year-old River appeared to be neglecting her cubs, the veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. Clouded Leopard cubs are often hand-reared in zoos because females often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers stress for future hands-on care and helps with introductions to mates in the future.

The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

The cubs weigh between 220-265 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to 13 Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1992 and has welcomed 38 cubs since 2009. There are currently 74 Clouded Leopards in the AZA facilities and 295 in accredited facilities globally.  

Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand. 

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Though they are protected by law in most range countries, enforcement of these laws is weak in many places. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.


Endangered Pack of Wolf Pups at Lincoln Park Zoo

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The arrival of spring brought a litter of four critically endangered Red Wolf pups to Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo.

“Scientists estimate there are less than 30 Red Wolves left in their native habitat of North Carolina, meaning species is on the very brink of extinction in the wild,” said Curator Dan Boehm. “We could not be more ecstatic for the arrival of these pups to help save this species and bolster the population.”

The pups, two male and two female, were born on April 13. The dam, Becca, and sire, Rhett, were recommended to breed as part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a cooperative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions to save species. This is the first litter for the Zoo since 2010.

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4_20190426_CB_red wolf pups-56Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

Canine gestation is around 60 days, with litters ranging from 3-6 offspring. The cubs typically stay in the den for the first month as they surpass critical milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and gaining strength. The pups have yet to venture from the den but have received their first veterinary check-ups.

Since 2005, Lincoln Park Zoo has been involved in the Red Wolf Recovery Program to try and assist the wild population with cross fostering of zoo-born pups into wild family groups and other reintroduction efforts. Since that time, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists also conducted a Population Viability Analysis (PVA), a computer model that helped to evaluate different management scenarios for the zoo and wild populations and scientific advice to the Recovery Program. The future status of the North Carolina wild population is uncertain, but the Red Wolf SSP and Lincoln Park Zoo will continue to work toward long-term recovery efforts.

Zoo guests can support the pups and Lincoln Park Zoo in its care and conservation endeavors by purchasing an item from the zoo’s Wish List. Just in time for Mother’s Day, guests can also ADOPT a Red Wolf to support world-class care for Red Wolf, Becca, and her pups all year long.

Red Wolves (Canis lupus rufus) are named for their red-tinged fur and are typically smaller than their ‘cousin’ Grey Wolves, weighing in around 90lbs. Native to the eastern United States, Red Wolves were driven toward extinction due to hunting. The species was targeted as a perceived threat to livestock, but research has shown the wolves primarily pursue non-domestic prey such as rabbits, deer, and small mammals.

Learn more about Lincoln Park Zoo and the Red Wolf pups by visiting: www.lpzoo.org .

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Brevard Zoo Welcomes Tiny New Ungulate

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Brevard Zoo welcomed a new face on April 15 when three-year-old Klipspringer, Deborah, gave birth to a calf.

A neonatal exam revealed that the new arrival (who weighed less than two pounds at birth) is a female and is properly nursing from her mother. The tiny beauty has been named Clarice.

“This adorable little girl is doing wonderfully,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “Deborah is taking great care of her, grooming her often.”

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The newborn, who was sired by four-year-old Ajabu, is currently behind the scenes with her mother and will be introduced to dad, Ajabu, before transitioning into the public-facing habitat in Expedition Africa.

The Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) is a small antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. As an adult, the species reaches 43–60 centimeters (17–24 inches) at the shoulder and weighs from 8 to 18 kilograms (18 to 40 lbs.).

After a gestation period of six to seven months, Klipspringer typically give birth to one offspring. They are sexually mature at one year and can live up to 18 years in human care. With specialized hooves each roughly the diameter of a dime as an adult, the Klipspringer is a skilled climber; it is typically found around mountains, hills and rocky outcrops in its native Africa.

The Klipspringer does not face any major threats, but it is sometimes hunted for use as meat or leather.


Cleveland Zoo Welcomes 101-pound Baby

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A male Masai Giraffe calf weighing 101 pounds was born on April 15 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

The calf’s parents are mom Jada and dad Bo. Bo came to the zoo in 2017 and this is the first calf he sired since his arrival. Bo is the tallest Giraffe in the zoo’s herd, standing nearly 17 feet tall. His offspring stood nearly six feet tall at birth. The newborn’s height and weight are impressive, but he is actually smaller than the typical newborn male. Some can weigh up to 150 pounds at birth. Therefore, the staff is monitoring the calf closely, although there are no problems so far.

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The calf has not yet been named. The zoo plans to announce a naming contest in a few weeks.

The calf will soon join his parents and the rest of the herd in the zoo’s Giraffe exhibit. Zoo guests can hand-feed the Giraffes from an elevated platform.

Wild Giraffes in Africa are in decline, with populations dropping 40% in the last 15 years to a current total of 80,000 individuals.  Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Future for Wildlife Fund helps protect giraffes by addressing poaching and illegal snaring, translocating animals to secure endangered populations, and also conducting studies on population and disease.