Molly is the newest addition to the Rhino family at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens. She is the eighth Rhino calf to be born at the Burford collection and is Monty and Ruby’s fourth breeding success together. Births in captivity are considered rare, with only nineteen White Rhinos being born in European zoos in the last twelve months. Her birth is testament to the dedication of the mammal keepers and the Park’s commitment to the European Breeding Programme (EEP).
White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum ssp. simum) have always been an important species at the Park and considerable thought is given to naming these iconic animals. Previous calves have been named after the founder of Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, Mr. John Heyworth, and highly respected South African conservationist, Ian Player, who spearheaded efforts to rescue the Southern White Rhino from extinction. This time the honour was given to Head Keeper Mark Godwin (pictured right with his children Henry and Molly).
Mark has worked at the Park for 31 years and has looked after the ever-growing 'crash' of Rhinos for the last 13 years. This is the first Rhino calf he has named. He decided to call her Molly after his four-year-old daughter (pictured left meeting her namesake). Molly described having a Rhino named after her as “amazing!”. Mark's family live on-site at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Molly, along with her five-year-old brother Henry, has grown up at the wildlife park and the siblings regularly visit their favourites - the Rhinos. During lockdown when the Park was temporarily closed to the public, they even lent their dad a helping hand by mucking out the Rhinos and Camels. Spending their childhood at the Park has sparked a passion for wildlife and both would like to follow in their father’s footsteps and work with animals when they’re older.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is committed to Rhino conservation and works closely with the UK-based conservation charity Tusk Trust to protect Africa’s many threatened species. In October 2021, Reggie Heyworth, the Park’s Managing Director and a Tusk Trust Ambassador, ran the London Marathon in aid of Tusk Trust and raised over £12,000 for the charity. Reggie Heyworth (pictured right), explains: “Conservation programmes throughout Africa’s wildlife areas and national parks often depend on income from tourism and support from charities such as Tusk Trust. With so few tourists visiting Africa, it is all the more important for us to support the work of Tusk Trust, who fund over forty programmes throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including vital work to protect rhinos and elephants from poachers”. For more information about Tusk Trust, please visit www.tusk.org.
Trick-or-treat your way over to Gumleaf Hideout in Australian Adventure to see Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s newest addition - a baby koala, also known as a joey! This is the second joey for mom, Mackenzie, and dad, Nyoonbi. Keepers first noted pouch movements on Mackenzie back in April. The joey has officially left the pouch and is climbing around on mom! Guests can visit mom and joey on even numbered calendar dates during regular Zoo hours.
World, meet Ande! Woodland Park Zoo’s baby Southern pudu, a male born in July, officially has a name. While Ande may be one of the world’s smallest deer, he’s actually named after the second-highest mountain range in the world—the Andes Mountains! It’s also where pudu like Ande are native to.
His defense strategy is extraordinary: in the event of danger, the armored belt tail bites its tail and curls up into a ring. This protects his vulnerable belly side. The South African mini kites have now had offspring in the Schönbrunn Zoo. “In Europe there are currently only five zoos in which armored belt tails live. The fact that the offspring are successful is something very special, ”says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck proudly. “There have been two young animals since September 27th. In these lizards, the eggs develop in the mother's body, where the young hatch and are born alive. ”The little ones are backstage, but six adult animals can be admired in the desert house in front of the zoo's gates. Atypical for reptiles, they live in social associations.
Female chimpanzee Kitoko is currently looking after two little ones at once. When heavily pregnant, she promptly adopted the son of her sister Fifi, who was unable to look after her newborn for health reasons.
On 26 June, 28-year-old female chimpanzee Fifi gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Everything seemed to have gone well, except for the fact that Fifi handed her baby over to other members of the group unusually early. However, Fifi continued to regularly suckle the little one. After around two weeks, Fifi became weak and developed a limp in her hind legs. Although the zoo vet gave Fifi intensive care, she showed no signs of improvement. The vet could not find any cause for Fifi’s symptoms. At the end of July, the zoo keepers noticed that Kitoko, Fifi’s sister, was caring for the newborn the majority of the time and had even begun to suckle it. A few days later, Kitoko gave birth to her own baby boy, who she initially appeared to ignore. However, father Kume (18) and other members of the group insisted that Kitoko should look after the young male. Experienced mother Kitoko has been taking care of the two little ones ever since. Both are doing well and developing normally. The young female is called Sangala and Kitoko's son is named Sabaki.
Adoption in the wild
Chimpanzees will sometimes also adopt babies in the wild. Baby chimpanzees are dependent on their mothers for the first six years of their lives. If the mothers die prematurely, the young animal’s chances of survival in the wild fall dramatically. If other members of the group adopt the orphaned little one, their chances of survival remain high.
However, orphaned offspring that are adopted are usually somewhat older than this – there are only two known instances in the wild of young aged under two being adopted. Scientific studies have shown that the chances of adoption in the wild are higher among related animals, and that adoptions by sisters of the deceased mother are particularly successful.
The fact that Sangala was adopted by Kitoko as a newborn is most likely thanks to the circumstances in the zoo. In the wild, the dying mother would have distanced herself from the group and taken her little one with her. The available resources and group dynamic at Basel Zoo enabled Kitoko to take on her sister’s baby. As Kitoko was expecting a baby of her own, she was prepared to look after the little one.
Using human medicine
Even after further medical examinations, including with the help of gynaecologists and cardiologists working in human medicine, Fifi has still not been diagnosed. Thanks to the vets’ care, she is now doing much better, with the exception of the lameness in her hind legs. The veterinary team is still working to establish a diagnosis.
Video Courtesy of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Carnivore keepers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, welcomed a litter of five cheetah cubs today. Five-year-old female Rosalie birthed the cubs at 5:20 a.m., 8:24 a.m., 9:42 a.m., 10:33 a.m and 11:17 a.m. ET. The family can be viewed via the Cheetah Cub Cam https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/cheetah-cub-cam. Ten-year-old Nick, who was the first cheetah born at SCBI, sired this litter. Animal care staff will leave Rosalie to bond with and care for her cubs without interference, so it may be some time before they can determine the cubs' sexes. The cubs appear to be strong, active, vocal and eating well. Keepers will perform a health check on the cubs when Rosalie is comfortable leaving them for an extended period of time.
Staff are closely monitoring Rosalie and her cubs’ behaviors via webcam. Virtual visitors can observe Rosalie and her cubs on this temporary platform until the cubs leave the den. Keepers provided Rosalie with access to multiple dens, so it is possible she may move the cubs to an off-camera location.
"Seeing Rosalie successfully care for this litter—her first—with confidence is very rewarding," said Adrienne Crosier, cheetah reproductive biologist at SCBI and head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Cheetah Species Survival Plan. "Being able to witness the first moments of a cheetah’s life is incredibly special. As webcam viewers watch our cheetah family grow, play and explore their surroundings, we hope the experience brings them joy and helps them feel a deeper connection to this vulnerable species."
SCBI is part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition—a group of 10 cheetah breeding centers across the United States that aim to create and maintain a sustainable North American cheetah population under human care. These cubs are a significant addition to the Cheetah SSP, as each individual contributes to this program.
The SSP scientists determine which animals to breed by considering their genetic makeup, health and temperament, among other factors. Rosalie and Nick were paired and bred July 9 and 10. Keepers trained Rosalie to voluntarily participate in ultrasounds, and SCBI veterinarians confirmed her pregnancy Aug. 16. Since 2007, 16 litters of cheetah cubs have been born at SCBI.
Cheetahs live in small, isolated populations mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of their strongholds are in eastern and southern African parks. Due to human conflict, poaching and habitat and prey-base loss, there are only an estimated 7,000 to 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers cheetahs vulnerable to extinction.
The Zoo’s legacy of conservation work extends beyond the public Zoo in Washington, D.C., to SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia. Scientists at SCBI study and breed more than 20 species, including some that were once extinct in the wild, such as black-footed ferrets and scimitar-horned oryx. Animals thrive in specialized barns and building complexes spread over more than 3,200 acres. The sprawling environment allows for unique studies that contribute to the survival of threatened, difficult-to-breed species with distinct needs, especially those requiring large areas, natural group sizes and minimal public disturbance.
SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Virginia, the Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.