Baby Leeches Hatched at Woodland Park Zoo

 

SEATTLE—Not all babies born or hatched at Woodland Park Zoo are warm, cuddly, furry and feathered. Adding to this year’s baby boom, the zoo is proud to announce its newest hatching: approximately 30 medicinal leeches (they’re very difficult to count!)!
 
The new leeches are among the many animals born or hatched at the zoo since the pandemic including snowy owls, penguins, a tapir, gorilla, pudu and mountain goat.
 
It will take about two to three years for the new leeches to reach their adult size of approximately 6 inches.
 
The leech hatchlings are the offspring of multiple adults the zoo rescued four years ago. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confiscated the adult leeches from an individual traveling from Russia to the U.S. who attempted to smuggle more than 40 adult leeches in water bottles. Woodland Park Zoo accepted all the leeches into its care.
 
Earlier this year, the zoo received 22 more adult leeches from a U.S. breeder; the adult leeches from Russia immediately started breeding with the new additions.
 
“Woodland Park Zoo works closely with wildlife agencies as a partner for consultation and providing a safe home for reptiles, spiders, and other animals on a case-by-case basis, and in this case, leeches,” said Erin Sullivan, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “We’re very excited about the newest members to our zoo family!”
 
Two years ago, the zoo rescued 250 tarantula spiderlings that were confiscated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from an importer.
 
Medicinal leeches are rare in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), like Woodland Park Zoo. “Since medicinal leeches are not a species commonly found in AZA-accredited organizations, we are currently trying to collect data on who has them, who is breeding them and who would like them for educational programs,” said Sullivan. “So far, we have already had interest in our leech hatchlings from other AZA organizations who would like to have them on exhibit.”
 
Feeding leeches can be a messy business. “We feed our leeches blood-filled sausages by filling natural sausage casings with beef blood, tying the ends and warming them up to about 100˚F. We then let the leeches go to town!” said animal keeper Megan Blandford. They don’t need to be fed often. “After an initial feeding immediately after hatching, the leeches will be fed only four times a year. But in the wild they regularly go an entire year without eating!”
 
Visitors fascinated by leeches can see the adults and babies in Bug World when the temporarily closed building reopens to the public. To keep visitors safe, Bug World and other indoor areas remain closed including Family Farm, Zoomazium, the Tropical Rain Forest and the Historic Carousel. Visit www.zoo.org/visit for more information.
 
For many, leeches evoke the “ick” and fear factor. However, in medieval and early modern medicine, medicinal leeches were an important medical tool for a long-standing tradition of bloodletting, which helped balance the humors (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile), and to treat other illnesses and infections.
 
Today, there is an increasing demand for medicinal leeches because of the comeback in leech therapy and their value. Leech saliva contains a chemical called hirudin, a natural anticoagulant to prevent blood clots. This chemical keeps blood flowing to wounds to help them heal.
 
In today’s medical field, medicinal leeches are mostly used for plastic surgery, microsurgery, grafting and constructive surgery. Leeches are also prescribed for other ailments, including varicose veins, neuropathy, blocked arteries and osteoarthritis. Learn more about the valuable role of medicinal leeches.
 
Lovely Leeches!
 
Leeches are closely related to a subclass of animals that include the earthworm.
 
Only 15 of the 600+ species of leeches are used medicinally: Hirudo medicinalis, the European medicinal leech, is one of several species of medicinal leeches.
 
Medicinal leeches, a near threatened species, are protected in much of their natural range since they are nearly extinct in many of the swamps and pools they would naturally be found in, due to collection for use in traditional medicine.
 
Leech therapy is used to treat people with heart disease because of its potential to improve inflammation and blood flow. In the past few years, leech therapy has become an acceptable alternative therapy for people with vascular disease and disorders.
 
Medicinal leeches have three jaws with tiny rows of teeth. They pierce a person’s skin with their teeth and insert anticoagulants through their saliva. The leeches draw blood for 20 to 45 minutes at a time from the person undergoing treatment.
 
After the leeches lay an egg, depending on environmental conditions, it can take anywhere from three weeks to 11 months for an egg to hatch out between five and 200 babies.
 
With regular care and feedings, leeches can live five to six years in human care.
 
How to Help at Home
 
Take care to preserve wetlands for species that live there such as leeches, amphibians, turtles and other species that require this kind of habitat to survive.
 
Keep waterways clean by limiting the use of pesticides and chemicals in your yard. Never let oil, grease, or fertilizers leak into places where storm water run-off can carry them into waterways and wetlands.
Support wetlands conservation: Wetlands protect shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality for all.

Hand-rearing a Baby Gorilla at Bristol Zoo

An infant western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens is being given round-the-clock care by keepers.

The baby, which keepers now know is male, is two months old and was delivered naturally but has not been feeding well and his mother, Kala, has been finding looking after him challenging. 

He was not getting enough milk from Kala to survive so a small team of experienced keepers is now caring for him and bottle feeding him day and night.

This will continue for the next four months after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.

During the day, the baby gorilla is being looked after in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family. 

At night the infant is being cared for by keepers in Zoo-owned accommodation onsite.

Now the youngster needs a name and the Zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.

Keepers have drawn up a shortlist of names and the Zoo is running a naming poll on its Facebook page from today (Thursday October 22).

The names to vote on are:

  • Motuku - means ‘Chief of the Village’ in Bubi (local language in Equatorial Guinea)
  • Hasani – means ‘Handsome’ in Swahili
  • Luango – town/city on the coast of Equatorial Guinea
  • Kidosi - popular African name, particularly in Central Africa

To vote for your favourite name, visit facebook.com/BristolZooGardens/.

Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hand-rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.

“Sadly this doesn’t always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.”

Lynsey said keepers would do their best to treat him like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.

She added: “It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”

The rest of the gorilla troop are doing well and keepers are keeping a close eye on Kala who is adjusting well and is in good health. 

While the gorilla house is open as normal, the baby gorilla is not able to be seen by the public at this stage. 

Bristol Zoo has been caring for gorillas since 1930. The Zoo plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

Bristol Zoological Society also raises significant funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.

Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.

In March 2020 Bristol Zoological Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.

The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covd-19 pandemic. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.


Tapir Tot Update!

Franklin Park Zoo’s tiny duo continues to make progress. They’re happy to report that the female calf has been doing well enough that she was able to return from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University to Franklin Park Zoo this week, where she and mom, Abby, have visual access to each other.

She has been acclimating well, and staff is monitoring her health and progress very closely, day and night. The goal is to physically reunite Abby and the calf as soon as it’s safe to do so. The male calf is making incremental improvements, and remains in an oxygen enclosure at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University where he continues to receive around-the-clock care.

Because the twins were born developmentally premature, their bone development has a ways to go before they can be fully active. The female will receive radiographs weekly to monitor her development and determine when she’s ready for increased exercise and a reunion with Abby, before they make an exhibit debut together – likely several weeks away still. More on the twins’ story at http://ow.ly/g2EM30rf7jF


OKC ZOO ANNOUNCES BIRTH OF ENDANGERED INDIAN RHINO CALF

 

It’s a baby rhino! The Zoo welcomes new calf to its animal family as part of collaborative breeding program for Indian rhino. 

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is thrilled to announce that Niki, the Zoo’s 13-year-old Indian rhino gave birth to a healthy calf at 3:25 a.m. today, Friday, October 23, 2020. This new arrival is the first calf born to breeding pair Niki and father, Arun, 29, and the sixth Indian rhino, also known as the greater one-horned rhino, born at the OKC Zoo. The OKC Zoo has been home to Indian rhinos since 1981.

OKC Zoo rhino mom Niki and calf credit Katie Van Singel image 2
OKC Zoo rhino mom Niki and calf credit Katie Van Singel image 2
OKC Zoo rhino mom Niki and calf credit Katie Van Singel image 2

Photo Credits: Katie Van Singel and Rachel Emory

The calf was born in the early morning inside the Zoo’s rhino barn at Sanctuary Asia and discovered by caretakers when they arrived to start their day. An initial visual exam performed by the Zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams determined that both mom and calf are doing well. The calf is strong, standing on its own and nursing. At this time, the gender of the calf is still unknown as it continues to stay close to mom, enjoying some quality bonding time with her.  

  “We are very excited to welcome a new addition to our rhino group and to see that calf and mom are doing excellent,” said Rachel Emory, OKC Zoo’s curator of elephants and rhinos. “Indian rhinoceros are listed as a vulnerable species, so every successful birth is important, not just to us, but to the population as a whole.”

Mom Niki came to the OKC Zoo in 2009 from the Bronx Zoo and father Arun, 29, arrived from the Fort Worth Zoo in 2019 as part of a a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP programs were developed by AZA to oversee breeding management and sustainability of select animal species within AZA-member zoos and aquariums. The Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia is also home to adult, female Indian rhino, Shanti, 32, who also came from the Fort Worth Zoo with Arun.

The gestation period for Indian rhinos is approximately 16 months. The average birth weight for an Indian rhino calf is 120 pounds. Newborn Indian rhinos lack the distinctive horn of the adult rhino. Instead, they have a flat, smooth oval plate that eventually forms into a horn.

Native to northern India and southern Nepal, Indian rhinos are currently listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Through conservation programs, wild populations over the past century have recovered from under 200 animals to approximately 3,600 today. However, there is a continuing decline in the quality of their natural habitat and the species continues to be illegally hunted for its horn.

The OKC Zoo is helping save Indian rhinos by supporting the International Rhino Foundation’s efforts to protect vulnerable and critically endangered rhinos and their habitat in India with money from the Round Up for Conservation Fund. The Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program encourages guests to donate their change from any Zoo purchase to help protect wildlife and wild places around the world. Plus, the Zoo’s American Association of Zookeepers chapter has raised more than $373,000 for rhinos in Asia and Africa through its fundraising efforts since 1990.

The Zoo will continue to share updates on the rhino calf and mom, Niki, on social. Weather permitting, the two could be visible to guests from their habitat at Sanctuary Asia as early tomorrow!

A sweet treat just in time for Halloween, come out to the Zoo this fall and meet our new rhino calf! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo tickets are limited each day to ensure safe social distancing among guests. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member. Memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org or any place admission is sold in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza during regular business hours. To learn more about this event and Zoo other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.


IT’S A BOY! CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO ANNOUNCES NAMING OPPORTUNITY FOR GIRAFFE CALF

 

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo  today launched a naming opportunity for its male giraffe calf to help support giraffe conservation efforts in the wild.

To participate in the naming opportunity, guests can cast a vote online at clevelandzoosociety.org or by visiting the Welcome Plaza at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to make a donation for one of the following names:

Kendi, meaning loved one
Nuru, meaning light
Zuva, meaning day or sun

"The pandemic has had wide-ranging impacts on our world, including on many of our conservation partners we support abroad that help protect vulnerable species like giraffe,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Executive Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. “By helping us name our newest giraffe calf, you are also supporting our conservation partners in their efforts to protect giraffe populations in Africa."

Each of the names are unique to giraffes’ native regions in Africa, where their population has decreased by nearly 40% over the last 15 years. The current global giraffe population is estimated to be less than 80,000.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation helps protect giraffes by addressing poaching and illegal snaring, translocating animals to secure endangered populations, and also conducting studies on population and disease. Each year the Zoo, in partnership with the Cleveland Zoological Society, provides more than $650,000 in direct support to global conservation efforts, which have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The naming opportunity will conclude at midnight on Thursday, November 5. All donations received will support conservation programs, including programs that protect giraffe.

The new giraffe calf was born on October 13 to mom, Jhasmin, and dad, Bo. The calf was born weighing approximately 150 pounds and standing nearly six feet tall.

For more information on Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and its conservation efforts visit FutureForWildlife.org.

VOTE for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Giraffe Calf Name!: 
https://www.clevelandzoosociety.org/donate/giraffe-naming

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Happy World Wombat Day From Wanyi The Wombat

 

You may (or may not be) aware that today is World Wombat Day! A day to celebrate and commemorate this iconic Australian animal. Taromga Zoo is home to five Southern hairy-nosed wombats and one Common Wombat.

The most recent addition to Taronga’s wombat family is Wanyi, a 13-month-old female Southern hairy-nosed wombat who has only recently emerged from mum’s pouch and begun making her way in the world during early August!

Wanyi, translates to ‘girl’ in the indigenous Wirangu language. She currently weighs in at an impressive 11.2kg and oh has she progressed! Although she has come far in size and personality Wanyi never strays too far from mum Jetta who is still very protective despite their similar size.


Penguin Chicks at Shedd Aquarium Are Ready For Your Visit

 

CHICAGO – Shedd Aquarium is announcing the names and sexes of four Magellanic penguin chicks (Spheniscus magellanicus) the aquarium joyfully welcomed following a successful nesting and breeding season in May. These four new arrivals contribute to Shedd’s participation in a conservation effort among aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, which are listed as nearly threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The chicks have joined the full penguin colony at Shedd and can now be seen by guests on exhibit. 

Select donors of the aquarium, who are long-time supporters of the non-profit organization, were given the exclusive opportunity to help choose a name for the penguins:

·         Porter, male – named in honor of the aquarium’s founder John G. Shedd's wife, Mary Porter Shedd, by the Shedd Family

·         Popi, male – named in honor of Pablo “Popi” Garcia Borboroglu, Ph.D., who is the founder and president of the Global Penguin Society, an international science-based conservation coalition dedicated to the survival and protection of the world’s penguin species, chosen by the Christopher Kim family and Museful Co.

·         Sir Elio, male – fondly named by John and Carrie Morgridge and the Morgridge Family Foundation

·         Dee, female – named in honor of Dr. Dee Boersma who is a University of Washington professor of biology and founder and director of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, chosen by Shedd Aquarium’s animal care team

Regular check-ups with the animal care team continued to demonstrate that the four birds were hitting all their growth milestones. To determine the sex, since penguins’ reproductive organs are internal, the animal care team took biological samples from the chick’s eggshells and a routine blood test was completed.

After reaching important milestones along the way, including socialization, first swim, eating full fish and more, these birds have also joined the penguin colony in their habitat at the aquarium. Guests who plan a visit to the aquarium can potentially spot the penguin chicks by their slightly lighter grey feathers in the Polar Play Zone. Or visitors from around the world can participate in a virtual penguin encounter to come face-to-face with the penguins and an animal care expert, or symbolically adopt a penguin for regular updates about the birds. 

By purchasing a ticket or participating in a program, you are helping to support the work of the aquarium and offset the financial impacts of COVID-19. For additional ways to support Shedd Aquarium and help fuel its mission, please visit https://www.sheddaquarium.org/about-shedd/support-us.

The aquarium is also encouraging the public to join us in safeguarding aquatic habitats that Magellanic penguins and thousands of other animals call home, by urging elected officials to support the protection of 30% of the world’s natural habitats by 2030. This goal of “30 by 30” secures a better future for wildlife, their habitats and humans.


Fall leaves pint-sized echidna puggle needing a helping hand from Taronga Wildlife Hospital

 

An adorable short-beaked echidna puggle is the one of the latest patients to be brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and is now being hand raised after an interesting turn of events saw it requiring specialist care. 

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The puggle was brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month from the Central Coast after members of the public saw it drop about 4m to the ground from a tree where a raven and magpie were perched. The puggle had scratches and lacerations to its back so it’s suspected that it was taken from its burrow by a bird of prey before being dropped after proving an unsuccessful meal.

After arriving at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, the puggle was assessed by a team of vets and vet nurses including x-rays, blood tests and a thorough look over, and thankfully deemed to be in surprisingly good health considering its ordeal.

Senior Keeper Sarah Male is now responsible for hand-raising the puggle. This includes second-daily feeds of a specially formulated echidna milk formula which the puggle laps off her palm followed by a bath. The puggle then returns to its makeshift burrow to sleep off the feed for 48hours before Sarah repeats the process all-over again.

“Despite its ordeal, this little puggle doing so well. Since arriving at the hospital its lacerations have almost completely healed, it’s putting on weight and is also starting to grow a thin layer of fur all of which are all promising signs.

“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months.  I’ve hand-raised of lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience for me,” said Male.

Echidnas are only one of two species of monotremes in the world, meaning they are unique mammals that lay eggs and also suckle their young. Sadly, it is not it is not uncommon for the Taronga Wildlife Hospital to care for echidnas as they come into contact with cars on the road or are attacked by domestic pets such as dogs and cats.

This puggle joins more than 1,400 native wildlife patients who are treated by specialist vets and vet nurses across Taronga’s hospitals in Sydney and Dubbo each year. The Taronga Wildlife Hospital is open 365 days a year providing care to an array of Australian. Help our hospital team continue to their vital work by donating to our Wildlife Recovery Appeal: taronga.org.au/wildlife-recovery

 


Baby gorilla delivered via C-section at Franklin Park Zoo

 

On October 14, a multidisciplinary team of veterinarians and physicians successfully delivered a male gorilla baby via Cesarean section at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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In the days leading up to the delivery, Kiki, a 39-year-old western lowland gorilla, experienced vaginal bleeding, which at times was significant. With Kiki’s due date just days away, the veterinary team at Zoo New England became concerned that she may have placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies over the entrance to the cervix, blocking the path for delivery of the baby.

At 4:00 p.m. on October 14, the Zoo New England veterinary team, along with specialists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, performed an ultrasound on Kiki and quickly confirmed that she did have placenta previa. The Animal Care and veterinary teams transported Kiki to the Zoo Hospital on grounds at Franklin Park Zoo and prepped her for surgery, which once underway went quickly and smoothly.

At 6:35 p.m., the 6 pound, 3 ounce gorilla infant was delivered. He’s a big baby, as gorilla infants typically weigh 3-5 pounds, and is the first male gorilla ever born at Franklin Park Zoo.

“For the health of mom and baby, it was imperative to quickly diagnose Kiki’s condition and perform a C-section before she went into labor on her own. We were fortunate to quickly mobilize an amazing team with our colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation. “This was truly a team effort, and we are relieved and happy that the surgery went smoothly and that mom and baby are both safe and healthy.”

Zoo New England’s veterinary and animal care teams were assisted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital obstetricians Dr. Julian Robinson, Dr. Thomas McElrath, Dr. Sara Rae Easter, Dr. James Greenberg, and RN Monique Williams, Brigham & Women’s Hospital neonatologists Dr. Linda Van Marter and Dr. Elizabeth Flanigan, and veterinary anesthesiologist Dr. Emily McCobb and veterinary anesthesia resident Dr. Emily Wheeler from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Following the delivery, Kiki recovered from surgery while the baby was cared for by Zoo staff where Kiki was close enough to see and hear the baby. The pair were successfully reunited the following afternoon on October 15, and Kiki has been very attentive, holding the baby close. Mother and baby have bonded well and continue to be closely monitored and cared for behind the scenes. For news on when they will make their exhibit debut, please check our website or follow us on social media.

Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Kiki’s pregnancy was the result of a recommended breeding by the SSP with her mate Kitombe, affectionately known as Kit. Kiki has previously given birth to four female gorillas – her youngest two reside at Franklin Park Zoo, while her oldest two reside at other AZA-accredited zoos per breeding recommendations.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. Western gorillas, found in the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, and Central African Republic, are divided into the Cross River and western lowland subspecies. Both are considered critically endangered. Threats to gorillas vary geographically and western gorillas are primarily threatened by disease and the bushmeat trade.

Zoo New England has been a longtime supporter of gorilla conservation, devoting passion, expertise and resources to the preservation of this iconic species. Zoo New England is currently supporting a project to protect Cross-river gorillas in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria. Here at home, Zoo New England participates in the Eco-Cell recycling program, an initiative which partners with zoos across the country to collect recycled cell phones and refurbish them for reuse. This reduces the need for coltan mining, which causes the destruction of endangered gorilla habitats.