First Litter of Rare African Painted Dogs for Zoo

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ZooTampa at Lowry Park has been celebrating the births of seven rare African Painted Dog pups. The multi-colored pups are the first of this endangered African species to be born at the Zoo. They also are the first pups born to the parents, Layla and Hatari, who both arrived at the Zoo earlier this year as part of a collaborative species conservation program.

Also called African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), the species is native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The global population is currently less than 6,600 and still declining due to human conflict, habitat fragmentation and widespread diseases such as rabies and distemper.

“We are one of only a few zoos playing as leading role in the work to save the charismatic African Painted Dog. The birth of these pups is a significant step in helping save the population that is under severe threat,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, senior vice president and chief zoological officer at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. “When we welcomed Layla and Hatari to our zoo, our hope was for a healthy litter that will be part of AZA’s African Wild Dog Species Survival Plan (SSP) designed to help to save this important species.”

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4_PaintedDogs_Print_11Photo Credits: Matt Marriott/ ZooTampa

The pups will stay close to their mother for the next three to four weeks before leaving their den. As the colorful pups get bigger and more independent, visitors can watch them grow up at the zoo and learn about what the ZooTampa is doing for this and other endangered animal species.

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Why are these Perth Zoo Veterinarians So Happy?

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These Perth Zoo Veterinarians have a lot to be thankful for! They are giving this tiny baby Meerkat Kit a clean bill of health. This is no ordinary Meerkat kit, however. He's just returned to the Zoo via police escort after going MISSING!! Find out what happened tomorrow (Wednesday, November 21) at 12:00PM Noon EST when we air the penultimate episode of 'ZooBorns: Australia!', our Facebook Watch show.


Baby Sloth Has a Favorite Blankie

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Brevard Zoo greeted a new furry face on October 17 when Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth Tango gave birth. The as-yet-unnamed newborn, who is the first Sloth born at the Zoo, will be hand-raised because Tango showed no interest in her new baby.

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181107007Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo

“When we found the baby away from Tango, we tried to reunite them,” said Lauren Hinson, a curator of animals at the Zoo. “But the new mother was not nursing, nor did she show interest in the newborn. Tango is a first-time mother whose inexperience likely led her to not care for the little one.”

Hinson stepped in to provide round-the-clock care for the Sloth, who receives a bottle of goats’ milk every two and a half hours. For the next five months, Hinson will be the baby’s primary caregiver and will closely monitor the baby’s growth and development. After five months, the baby will be weaned from the bottle. The Sloth weighed 11.2 ounces at birth.

Because newborn Sloths naturally cling to their mother’s fur, animal care staff had to find a suitable substitute for the newborn to cling to. They presented the baby with several types of cloth and blankets and allowed it to choose a favorite. By coincidence, the baby chose a Sloth-print blanket from the Zoo’s gift shop.

The newborn’s dad is male Sloth Dustin. Males Sloths do not participate in the care of their young.

The baby’s sex not yet known. DNA lab tests are sometimes needed to confirm a baby Sloth’s gender.

Well-known for their slow-paced lifestyle, Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloths face challenges from the exotic pet trade and habitat loss in the rain forests of South America.


Baby Tamandua Rides On Big Brother's Back

Baby Paco on Poco's back at ZSL London Zoo's Rainforest Life (c) ZSL 06

Two babies in one year might be a handful for most mothers. But ZSL London Zoo’s Tamandua Ria has plenty of help with her latest offspring, because her firstborn Poco literally shares the load.

Since the new pup’s birth in October, proud big brother Poco, who was born in April, has been carrying his new sibling around their indoor rainforest home. In honor of the brotherly love shared by the siblings, keepers have named the new baby Paco.  

Paco on Poco's back  with mum Ria at ZSL London Zoo. 06.11.18
Paco on Poco's back  with mum Ria at ZSL London Zoo. 06.11.18Photo Credit: ZSL London Zoo

“Ria must have fallen pregnant just weeks after giving birth to Poco,” says ZSL keeper Steve Goodwin, who discovered Poco bonding with the new baby immediately after the birth.

“We suspected Ria was pregnant again, so we were keeping a close eye on her,” explains Goodwin. “When I peered into their nestbox that morning I saw the whole family nestled together, with the newborn already snuggling into the soft fur on Poco’s back – he’s clearly taken his big brother duties very seriously, as they’ve been inseparable ever since.”

The heartwarming relationship between the Tamandua twosome is one that keepers are closely monitoring, so that information about the unusual bond can be shared with other zoos around the world.

“Not a lot is known about Tamandua group dynamics in the wild, as the species are nocturnal and spend most of their lives high up in the tree canopy of their rainforest homes,” Goodwin says. “Tamanduas are usually seen as solitary animals, with the females carrying their offspring on their backs for the first three months of their life, so Poco’s close relationship with one-month-old Paco is definitely something we can all learn from.”

While Ria has had a little help with her newborn, she remains a devoted mother to both of her youngsters. “If Paco ever begins to cry on Poco’s back, she doesn’t just take the little one off him to soothe them: she carries them both until he settles down, which means Paco is on Poco, who is on mum. The tower of Tamanduas is quite a sight!” says Goodwin.

Part of the Anteater family, Tamanduas are native to South America and are impressive climbers. They collect ants and termites using their long, sticky tongue.

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until it is examined by the veterinarian, and this won’t happen until Paco is about six months old. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding program for Tamanduas.

See more photos of Paco and Poco below.

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Belfast Zoo Hatches First Chilean Flamingo Chicks

(1)  Belfast Zoo keeper  Geraldine  ‘flamingles’ with latest arrivals as two Chilean flamingos have hatched.

Zookeeper, Geraldine Murphy, has had her hands full over the last few weeks as she has been hand-rearing the first ever Chilean Flamingos to hatch at Belfast Zoo!

Belfast Zoo has been home to flamingos since the zoo first opened in 1934, but the zoo first became home to Chilean Flamingos in 2010. However, in all this time, the birds never laid eggs, despite attempts by the zoo team to encourage breeding behavior.

The team installed mirrors in the enclosure to make the birds think that they were part of a much larger flock, but without success. Last year, keepers built artificial nests consisting of mounds of mud measuring 30 to 60 centimetres in height and installed ‘dummy eggs’, produced by a local wood turner. This had instant success with the birds beginning to display natural courtship behaviours, and soon eggs began to appear on the nests.

Despite the initial excitement, the eggs were infertile but it gave the team hope, which became a reality when this year’s eggs hatched.

(2)  Zoo keeper  Geraldine Murphy  has had her hands full over the last few weeks as she has been hand-rearing the chicks.

(3)  Keepers built nests for the flock to encourage breeding behaviour.

(4) Dummy eggs were made by a local woodturned and placed on the nests.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

Zookeeper, Geraldine, stepped in to hand-rear the young chicks, “Popcorn hatched on 17 September and Peanut hatched on 5 October. We monitored the behavior of the adult birds and unfortunately, due to their inexperience at being parents, we had to step in to hand-rear the chicks on this occasion! Until flamingo chicks are able to feed themselves, they rely on ‘crop milk’ which is a nutritious liquid produced by both parents. When they first hatched they needed to be hand-fed six times a day with a substitute that has been developed to provide all of the essential vitamins and nutrients. The pair therefore came home with me every evening and back to the zoo with me each day. As they get older, they will need fewer feeding during the day and when they are old enough they will be reintroduced to the rest of the flock.”

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Safari Park’s Elephant Calves Keep It Fair and Friendly

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Two young Elephant calves at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park enjoyed a high-spirited play session recently. Three-month-old male calf, Umzula-zuli (known as “Zuli”), and almost two-month-old female calf, Mkhaya (called “Kaia”), engaged in some friendly sparring, pushing, climbing, and head-butting!

Zuli was born August 12 to mother Ndulamitsi (pronounced en-DOO-lah-mit-see) and Kaia was born September 26 to mother Umngani (pronounced OOM-gah-nee.)

Keepers report the calves are almost the same size, so they naturally gravitate to each other. The calves’ moms know they are in a safe environment and are allowing them to roam the exhibit, knowing that if the calves stray too far or get too rough with each other, an “auntie” will intercede and make sure they are okay. The two calves have plenty of “aunties,” who help the moms out by alloparenting—a system of group parenting in which individuals, other than the parents, act in a parental role.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to a total of 14 Elephants: four adults and 10 youngsters. The new calves and their herd may be seen at the Safari Park’s elephant habitat and on the Safari Park’s Elephant Cam, at: www.sdzsafaripark.org/elephant-cam.

Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Safari Park


Two-toed Sloth Welcomed at Capron Park Zoo

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Capron Park Zoo, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, welcomed a baby Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth on August 24.

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4_IMG_8791Photo Credits: Dan Dibattista

Because the little sloth sticks close to mom, veterinarians still don’t know the sex, but they report that the baby is moving around on its own. The Zoo is also happy to share that the baby sloth is learning to eat solid food...by taking it right from mom’s paws and mouth!

Hoffmann's two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is a species native to Central and South America.

It is solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal. The species prefers mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests.

The Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, habitat destruction is causing a gradual decrease in the wild population.

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Koala Joey Peeks Out Of Mom's Pouch

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It’s spring in Australia, and the Healesville Sanctuary finally got a look at a baby Koala that is just beginning to explore outside of mom’s pouch.

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16101_Medium _800 x 800px_Photo Credit: Healesville Sanctuary

Born the size of a jelly bean to first-time parents Hazel and Noojee, the unnamed male joey has spent the past six months growing in Hazel’s pouch.

“When he was first born, he was pink, hairless and tiny,” said Koala Keeper Kristy Eriksen.

“We watched him make his way from the birth canal to the pouch completely unaided, relying on his already well-developed senses of smell and touch and an innate sense of direction,” Eriksen said.

The joey recently began exploring more and more, with his confidence growing each time he ventures out of Hazel’s pouch. Soon he will be riding on Hazel’s back and will eventually graduate to climbing trees all on his own - under mom’s watchful eye, of course.

Koalas are marsupials, a group of mammals that give birth to highly underdeveloped young. The newborn crawls on its own from the birth canal into a pouch on the mother’s body. Inside the pouch, the tiny infant, called a joey, attaches to a teat where it nurses and completes its development. After a few months, the joey begins to peek out of the pouch. Even after emerging completely from the pouch, a joey will seek refuge there, even when it can barely fit inside.

Despite being Australia’s most iconic animal, Koalas are under significant threat due to habitat destruction and fragmentation for agricultural and urban development. Koalas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Don't miss more photos of Hazel and her joey below!

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Keeper Helps Nyala Calf Come Into the World

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When a Nyala named Xolani went into labor with her first calf, keepers at Auckland Zoo were thrilled with the opportunity to witness the event – Nyala usually give birth overnight, when no one is there to watch.

As the delivery progressed, the calf’s foot and nose became visible. But when lead keeper Tommy checked on Xolani, he noticed that her labor had stopped. The calf remained only partially delivered.

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20181003_143717Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo

Tommy could see that one of the calf’s front legs appeared to be stuck in the birth canal, preventing its delivery. He quickly assessed the situation and approached Xolani, who allowed Tommy to come close. Xolani remained calm and allowed Tommy to gently pull on the calf’s legs, and the calf was safely delivered within minutes.

The male calf, which has been named Usiku, stood within 30 minutes and just a half-hour later, he was nursing. The calf is already integrated into the zoo’s herd of 11 Nyala, which includes one adult male and five adult females, each of whom has one calf.

Tommy’s quick actions are an example of the outstanding care that keepers provide to animals every day. As Tommy explains, “That’s why we’re here!”

Nyala are a large Antelope species native to the woodlands and grasslands of southern Africa. Males sport spiral horns, which are 24-33 inches long. Females do not have horns. Nyala populations are stable, although poaching and habitat loss may impact the species in the future.

See more photos of the Nyala below.

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Second Largest Clutch of Komodo Dragons for SA Zoo

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Halloween was extra “egg-citing” at the San Antonio Zoo when four Komodo Dragons hatched, making them the second largest, successful clutch of their kind to hatch at the zoo.

Laid in the spring by 14-year old mom, Tiga, the baby reptiles are spending a few weeks in a behind-the-scenes nursery.

“This monumental hatching is a testament to the zoo’s persistence and commitment to conservation,” said Tim Morrow, the zoo’s CEO and Executive Director. “The hatchlings are thriving and we are looking forward to introducing them to zoo guests.”

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4_Komodo dragon mom_TigaPhoto Credits: San Antonio Zoo

Komodo Dragons are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, and their numbers are declining in the wild due to limited range and fragmented populations. Known as the largest living lizard in the world, they are native to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Padar, Flores, Gili Motang, and Rinca. These carnivores can grow up to be 8.5 feet in length and weigh up to 200 pounds in adulthood. In the wild, Komodo Dragons can live up to 30 years.

Animal care specialists at San Antonio Zoo will continue to monitor the new Komodo Dragons as they continue to grow. Within the coming months, the Komodo Dragons can be viewed at the zoo’s Reptile House.

San Antonio Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Komodo Dragon Species Survival Program and actively supports conservation global projects that impact Komodo Dragons through funding and boots-on-the- ground work.

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