Four Endangered Brothers Born at Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is excited about their continued baby boom. They recently announced the birth of four Black and White Ruffed Lemurs on May 19.

This is the third litter for the parents, Hawk and Potter. Their first litter was born at the Jacksonville Zoo in 2015. Keepers were anticipating the birth and had worked with Hawk to allow voluntary sonograms and weight checks.

All four lemur infants are male; a fact that keepers like as this potentially allows the group to stay longer at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Female lemur offspring become incompatible with mom around two-years-old.

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4_Hawk - Lynde NunnPhoto Credits: JZG Senior Mammal Keeper Lynde Nunn

Hawk has again proven herself to be a calm and capable mother with excellent instincts. Black and White Ruffed Lemur mothers do not carry their offspring around. Instead, they build a nest and leave the litter there, returning to nurse. The family will be bonding behind-the-scenes for the immediate future while the infants grow.

Four infants is a lot for any mother, and keepers are encouraging Hawk to eat and drink as much as possible and are supplementing her diet with foods items that support lactation. All of the little guys are nursing well and, because Hawk has such a calm disposition and trust in her keepers, she is allowing care staff to obtain regular weights to confirm their development.

Two of Hawk’s and Potter’s older offspring, a male named Pippen and a female named Frodo, are still at the Zoo and can be seen in a different group, often mixed with other lemur species, in the beautiful African Forest exhibit.

Like all lemurs, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are native only to the island country of Madagascar. They are classified, by the IUCN, as “Critically Endangered” in the wild due to habitat loss from deforestation. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps manage the population in AZA accredited facilities.

“We love seeing animal babies and the joy they bring our guests,” said Zoo Executive Director Tony Vecchio, “but seeing four babies, who are so important to their species, born into our new African Forest exhibit is a great feeling for everyone at the Zoo!”


Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Arrive At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Three orphaned Mountain Lion cubs arrived at their new home at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in late May after being found alone in a den in Washington state. The two sisters and their brother were estimated to be about six weeks old at the time of their rescue.

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CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6a
CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6aPhoto & Video Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) responded to a human-wildlife conflict that resulted in the cubs’ mother’s death. WDFW staff members reached out to the zoo community to find a home for the young Lions, who were too small to survive on their own in the wild.

“We’re excited to provide a home for these young, playful cubs,” said Rebecca Zwicker, senior lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild, where the cubs will live. “Of course, these situations are bittersweet. We wish we didn’t have to find homes for orphaned cubs, but we’re grateful for our partnerships, because we can offer the cubs an amazing life of choices, care, and compassion.”

This is the second litter of orphaned Mountain Lion cubs that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has helped to rescue. The first litter came from Wyoming in 2006. Tocho, Motega and Yuma were all male members of the litter who have since passed. Kaya, the female Mountain Lion who lives in Rocky Mountain Wild, is the remaining member of the original litter. After the cubs earn a clean bill of health, the plan is to introduce them to Kaya.

“We’re hoping Kaya, who is blind and aging, will enjoy having company again,” Zwicker said. “We’ll take our time letting Kaya and the cubs have opportunities to interact from a safe distance, and then we’ll follow their lead. It would be ideal if they could live together, because the cubs can learn how to be Mountain Lions from Kaya.”

While the cubs are behind the scenes, they’ll receive vaccinations and veterinary checks to ensure they’re ready to explore their new home in Rocky Mountain Wild.

“Mountain Lions are part of our daily lives in Colorado,” said Zwicker. “These cubs will be ambassadors for their wild relatives, helping our guests learn about their species, their unique personalities and behaviors, their contributions to our ecosystem, and how we can live peacefully with them.”




 


Wild Dog Pups Thriving at Living Desert

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A litter of six African Wild Dog pups born on April 24 at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens got their first well-baby exam in late May and were proclaimed healthy and thriving.

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African-wild-dog-puppy_5.24.19_The Living DesertPhoto Credit: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The pups, who represent the first litter for mom Beatrix and dad Kiraka, include five males and one female. This exam was the first time any of the zoo staff interacted directly with the pups. The African Wild Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, recommends using a hands-off approach to allow for natural bonding and development of the pups.

Since birth, the pups have opened their eyes and become more coordinated. At their exam, each weighed between four and five pounds. They’ll soon begin weaning and will start nibbling on meat.  Any day now, the pups will start to venture out of their den and be visible to guests.

“We are so happy to learn that the puppies are healthy,” said Allen Monroe, President and CEO of The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. “Beatrix has done an outstanding job caring for her puppies, and we are excited to continue watching them grow.”

Following the well-baby exam, the puppies were returned to the den, rubbed with dirt to eliminate the human smell, and then reunited with their mom. The animal care and veterinary teams will continue to closely monitor the family’s activity through den cameras which allow Beatrix and the puppies plenty of space, comfort, and security. 

Currently listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), fewer than 5,000 African Wild Dogs remain on the African continent. As one of the most endangered African carnivores, African Wild Dog populations are in decline due to human-wildlife conflict, habitat destruction and canine diseases, like distemper and rabies. The Living Desert supports specific African Wild Dog conservation projects that work to bolster wild populations.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Denver Welcomes First Mandrill in Sixteen Years

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Denver Zoo’s female Mandrill, Kumani, gave birth to a healthy female on May 10.

The baby, who her caretakers have named ‘Kesi’, is the first for seven-year-old Kumani and her mate, 11-year-old Jelani. The zoo’s animal care team says Kumani has already proven to be a great mom, providing Kesi with the care and attention she needs to thrive.

Kesi’s arrival marks the first Mandrill birth at the Zoo since 2003, when Denver Zoo went through a Mandrill baby boom with two females born in two years. Jelani joined the troop in 2013 followed by Kumani, who arrived in 2018 at the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan. At the end of 2018, the zoo’s animal care staff suspected Kumani might be pregnant, which was later confirmed via ultrasound.

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4_Baby Mandrill_Kesi 1Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Mandrills, which are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are found in the rainforests of central West Africa. You can spot mandrills by their bright blue and red face, and long teeth. Males are larger and usually have brighter coloring. They’re a social species and travel in groups known as “troops.”

Guests at Denver Zoo are encouraged to visit Kesi and the whole Mandrill troop in the Congo Basin area in Primate Panorama. Animal care staff says the best time to catch these colorful primates and catch a glimpse of Kesi is first thing in the morning or at lunchtime, when they are foraging for food. Be sure to follow the zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on Kesi!


Andean Bear Siblings Out and About at Queens Zoo

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Two Andean Bear cubs born at the Queens Zoo recently made their New York City debut.

The cubs, one female and one male, were born in January to six-year-old mother, Nicole, and eight-year-old father, Bouba. After spending several weeks in their den bonding with their mother, they have now started venturing into the zoo’s outdoor habitat.

Queens Zoo animal care staff have named the cubs Brienne and Benny, and staff are closely monitoring their health and development. The time the cubs spend in the outdoor habitat will vary until they become fully acclimated to it.

“These little cubs are tremendous ambassadors for their species,” said Scott Silver, Queens Zoo Director. “Andean Bears are rarely seen in the wild, so it’s extremely special to have an opportunity to watch cubs grow. Guests will also learn about our efforts to protect Andean Bears in the wild.”

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_9281_Andean Bear and Cubs_QZ_05 10 19Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher /WCS

Andean Bears (Tremarctos ornatus) are the only bear species native to South America. They are also known as spectacled bears due to the markings on their faces that sometimes resemble eyeglasses. They have characteristically short faces and are relatively small in comparison to some other bear species. As adults, males weigh between 250-350 pounds while adult females rarely exceed 200 pounds.

Andean Bears are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Estimates indicate that there are fewer than 18,000 remaining in the wild.

The Queens Zoo is breeding Andean Bears as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). There are currently only 39 Andean Bears in AZA-accredited zoos and only six potentially viable breeding pairs in the SSP population.

Bouba came to Queens from Bioparc de Doue la Fontainein in France to breed with Nicole, who was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC and came to the Queens Zoo in 2015. This is the second time the pair has produced offspring at the Queens Zoo, and these cubs were two of only four Andean Bears born in zoos worldwide in the past year.

More great pics below the fold!

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Shedd Aquarium Welcomes Penguin Siblings

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Shedd Aquarium, a leader in animal care, recently welcomed two Magellanic Penguin chicks.

The chicks hatched following the annual breeding season that began with nesting. In late March, the Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins began creating nests and preparing for the breeding season after animal care experts shifted the light cycle and scattered nesting materials in the aquarium’s Polar Play Zone exhibit.

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Magellanic Penguin Chick_BRH_1697Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Both Magellanic Penguin eggs were produced by the same breeding pair: Chile and JR.

“Chick 420” hatched on May 17, and bonding with the biological parents began immediately. Chick 420 will remain in the nest with both adults who will rear the young bird.

“Chick 421” hatched a few days later on May 20. Attending chicks is a full-time job with duties shared by both parents. By having the chicks raised by two different pairs, each chick gets individualized attention and the parenting birds all get additional experience as they learn how to best care for chicks. Therefore, the second egg was given to foster parents, Howard and Georgia. According to keepers, the pair has been taking turns feeding and incubating the chick like it was their own.

“Having a chick successfully hatch from its egg is just the first of many milestones that we look for in these first few weeks, but our team is cautiously optimistic,” said Lana Gonzalez, manager of Penguins and Sea Otters. “We’ll continue to monitor both chicks closely over the next few weeks, looking for consistent weight gain and to see how the parents are doing with sharing their responsibilities.”

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Rescued Sea Lion's Amazing Journey to Oklahoma City Zoo

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A California Sea Lion pup’s amazing journey includes her rescue near Santa Barbara, a three-month stay in a rehabilitation center, release back into the Pacific, crossing a busy street, visiting a hotel lobby, and an eventual arrival at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

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Isla and Zoo Trainer Sierra at Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (1 of 1)Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

The pup, named Isla, has experienced a lot in her 11 months of life. She was most likely born last spring off the California coast and was found emaciated and malnourished at the Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2018. When concerned citizens called the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institution (CIMWI), volunteers came to rescue the little pup.

The pup was transported to CIMWI’s facility to be rehabilitated in hopes of returning her back to the wild. After 90 days at the center, which included medication, increased fish intake, and daily health checks, Isla was released 25 miles offshore around other wild Sea Lions.

Nine days later, Isla swam the 25 miles back to Santa Barbara Harbor, got out of the water, crossed a busy street, and made her way into the lobby of the Alma Mar Motel. Once again, the CIMWI staff was contacted to rescue Isla.

Once back at CIMWI, the staff found that in the nine days Isla had been back in the ocean, she had lost nine pounds, meaning that she was unable to forage for herself in the wild. After weeks of observation, it became clear that Isla was more habituated to humans than she was to the other marine mammals in the institute’s care. CIMWI caretakers were certain that Isla would not thrive in the wild, so for her safety and well-being, she was deemed non-releasable.

Once it was decided that Isla could not return to the wild, CIMWI contacted National Marine Fisheries Service (a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA) to locate a zoo or aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), that could become Isla’s permanent home, and the Oklahoma City Zoo was selected. Two zoo staff members went to Santa Barbara to bring Isla to Oklahoma City in mid-May.

“By becoming a forever home for Isla and providing her with care, veterinary monitoring and an enriching environment, not only are we ensuring her survival, but we are also safeguarding the future of her species,” said Sierra Chappell, lead marine mammal trainer. “Her energetic spirit and inspiring story will resonate with Zoo guests and create a connection that will last a lifetime.”

Considered to be highly intelligent animals, California Sea Lions’ survival is based on the health of the ocean’s ecosystem. Sea Lions are threatened by plastic pollution and are vulnerable to the effects of climate change on ocean currents, which impact their fish prey abundance. They are also victims of bycatch in fisheries. The Oklahoma City Zoo participates in AZA’s Species Survival Plan for California Sea Lions.

 



 


Masai Giraffe Calf Is Latest Arrival At Virginia Zoo

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The Virginia Zoo welcomed a 141-pound, six-foot-tall female Masai Giraffe calf on May 20, 2019. This is the sixth calf to be born to mom Imara and seventh for dad Billy.

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Virginia Zoo Photo 1
Virginia Zoo Photo 1Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

The calf was standing within two hours of birth and has been observed by Animal Care Staff nursing from Imara. The experienced mom is taking great care of the newborn, and the two have been spending time together indoors, with optional access to an outdoor yard.  It’s important for mom and baby to bond during the calf's first few weeks of life.

Billy and the Zoo’s other adult female, Noelle, are very interested in the new arrival.

As of press time, the calf does not yet have a name. The naming rights were auctioned off for $5,000 at the Virginia Zoo’s annual fundraiser on June 1. Watch the Virginia Zoo’s social media feeds for an announcement of the name next week.

Masai Giraffe are the largest subspecies of Giraffe and the tallest land mammals on Earth. They are native to Kenya and Tanzania and are characterized by their jagged spots. Males reach heights of up to 18 feet tall and females grow to 14 feet tall. Giraffes may bear one offspring after a 15-month gestation period. When a Giraffe baby is born, it comes into the world front feet first, followed by the head, neck, and shoulders. Newborn Giraffes can stand and walk within one hour of birth. They begin to eat leaves at the age of four months but continue to nurse until they are six to nine months old.

Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population has fallen by about 40% across Africa and the species is no longer found in many parts of its historic range.


Nashville Zoo Announces Birth of Binturong Kits

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that one of their behind-the-scenes Palawan Binturongs gave birth to two kits. New mom, Lucy, welcomed one male and one female on May 13.

“The kits are doing fantastic,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “However, Lucy was not able to produce milk for her babies, so we will be hand-raising the kits in one of our Veterinary Center Neonatal Care rooms, which includes a public viewing window."

The kits weighed between 299-312 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to eight Binturongs. Nashville Zoo has welcomed a total of 10 kits since 2015. There are currently 14 Binturongs in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) care and 11 in facilities globally.

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3_46954425695_6ec37bf09d_bPhoto Credits: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn/Nashville Zoo

Four-year-old Lucy and the four-year-old father, Gru, are currently behind the scenes. For now, the new kits will stay at Nashville Zoo, with plans to eventually include them in ambassador animal programs at other zoos.

Nashville Zoo is the only zoo to have a breeding pair of Palawan Binturongs in its animal collection. In 2015, the Zoo welcomed the first two Palawan Binturongs born in the United States.

While five adult Binturongs at Nashville are currently not on exhibit, one of them, Wilbur, was hand raised by the Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry team and can be seen along the Zoo's trails as part of the Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Program.

The Palawan Binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of Binturong (also known as bearcat) only reaching around 40 pounds. While they aren’t considered endangered, the mammal is officially classified by the IUCN as “Vulnerable” due to destruction of habitat and the illegal pet trade.

Nashville Zoo contributes to the protection of this species by being a part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan® and providing species information to the Binturong Studbook.


Last of Duke’s Legacy Born at Jacksonville Zoo

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The baby boom continues at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with the birth of a second Reticulated Giraffe calf in the early hours of May 19. The male was born to Luna. The calf is also the second son fathered by the late Duke, who passed-away in December. He joins a half-brother who was born just four days prior.

Keepers were anticipating the birth of the young giraffe, knowing Luna was close to her due date. She was in the birthing suite when she delivered the petite, but healthy, calf at 4:10 a.m. Birth-camera footage shows the calf standing soon after birth, and keepers are pleased to see healthy nursing.

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4_20190515_Giraffe_Newborn03Photo Credits: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

After the birth, veterinary staff preformed a neonatal exam on the young calf, giving him a visual inspection and his first round of vaccinations. The calf is only 5’9” tall and weighs 119 lbs. As a contrast, his half-brother, born last week to mother Naomi, is the tallest giraffe in the JZG herd at 6’4” and 187 lbs!

These two newborn boys will be the last of Duke’s offspring, and they will be the last giraffe births at the Zoo until a new bull giraffe can join the herd. Population management decisions will be made with the help of the Species Survival Plan, expert advisors who work together to maximize genetic diversity and sustainability of the animals in zoos across the globe.

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