Newborn Elephant Otto Explores His Home

Tierpark Hellabrunn's Elephant Temi became a mum for the second time last week, and since then the early movements of her new calf have become somewhat of a routine: Otto drinks, explores his surroundings with his little trunk and even lets his mum get some sleep.      

On Tuesday, Otto was allowed to explore the spacious indoor area of the Elephant House for the first time - naturally always accompanied and under the watchful eye of mum Temi - where he curiously observed how Temi used her trunk to drink from the large bathing pool.

Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)

“The little one is developing splendidly”, says Elephant House zookeeper, Lorenz Schwellenbach. “He moves confidently and already knows how to use his little trunk. Many baby elephants are much clumsier than Otto at this age."

He has also been drinking well from the start. The baby elephant drinks regularly with his mum, about 10 - 15 litres a day. In addition, the zookeepers were able to observe during their night watch that both Otto and Temi have relaxed sleep patterns. “Elephants can sleep while standing or lying down. For the past few nights, Temi has slept lying down, which is a good sign and shows that mother and calf have an optimal relationship so far.

The night watch routine began a few days before the birth to allow the zookeepers to keep a close on maternity events in the Elephant House. But now that mother and child are in good health and getting along well, it is no longer necessary to have staff stationed on site anymore.

In the coming days, the little elephant will continue to explore the Elephant House. On his forays, he will discover a variety of flooring substrates such as sand, asphalt and rubber, and come into contact with water. Otto has even taken a short bath in the small drinking pool. The next step is meeting his aunts Mangala and Panang face-to-face for the first time, which will probably take place sometime next week. "The mood within the elephant group is very positive and relaxed - Otto will certainly be welcomed into the herd," adds Schwellenbach.

The birth of the baby elephant at Hellabrunn Zoo has also been welcomed by a famous German celebrity - namesake and comedian Otto Waalkes congratulated the zoo with a drawing. Zoo director Rasem Baban: "We are of course delighted and very honoured." The name Otto is based on the last wish of a friend of the zoo, who left a generous legacy gift.

Photographs: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

Videos: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Andreas Kastiunig

Due to the current government restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Hellabrunn Zoo is temporarily closed until 30.11.2020. We are therefore currently unable to hold any press events at the zoo.


His Name Is Xiao Qi Ji

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s 3-month-old giant panda cub received his name today. After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, the winning name is Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), which translates as “little miracle” in English. It was one of four Mandarin Chinese names that were offered for a public online vote from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 on the Zoo’s website. Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and Xiao Qi Ji’s birth offered the world a much-needed moment of joy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. His name reflects the extraordinary circumstances under which he was born and celebrates the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species.

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“Connecting people around the world with nature, whether in person or in this virtual setting, is a cornerstone of our mission to conserve and protect giant pandas for future generations,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “Like many who have followed our giant panda cub since his birth last summer, I tune in to the Giant Panda Cam from time to time. Watching Xiao Qi Ji always puts a smile on my face. We are grateful that those who share in our joy have helped us pick the perfect name for our panda cub.”

Xiao Qi Ji was born at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat Aug. 21, at 6:35 p.m. to mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). His birth was streamed live on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, and since then more than 1.5 million virtual visitors have tuned in to watch him grow. Giant panda fans can see Xiao Qi Ji, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian via the Giant Panda Cam, one of five live animal webcams hosted on the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on Xiao Qi Ji on its website, on social media using the hashtags #PandaStory and #PandaCubdates and in the Giant Panda e-newsletter.

As part of the Zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China when they are 4 years old. The Zoo’s current cooperative breeding agreement expires in December 2020. The Zoo is currently discussing the arrangement of the giant pandas beyond Dec. 7 with colleagues in China.

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is closed to the public.

Photo Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at Prague Zoo

A young Sumatran orangutan was born on Tuesday, November 17 - only the third in the history of the Prague Zoo! They don't know the sex of the baby yet, but the good news is that mom Mawar feeds and takes good care of her infant regularly. Aside from Father Pagy, the newborn baby is the only descendant of orangutans who came to the zoo from the forests of Sumatra.  The child is therefore genetically extremely valuable to the conservation of the species.

Video: Miroslav Bobek

Find more from Zoo Praha:

Web - https://www.zoopraha.cz

Facebook - http://facebook.com/zoopraha

Instagram - http://www.instagram.com/zoopraha

Twitter - http://twitter.com/zoo_praha


Zebra foal a late spring arrival at Dubbo Zoo

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo were delighted to arrive at work on 15 November 2020 to find a male Zebra foal had safely arrived overnight.

The colt is the seventh foal for mum Kioni, who is a very experienced mother and was sired by Bwana, who was transferred to Taronga Zoo, Sydney earlier this year.

The foal has been named Obi by his keepers, meaning heart in the Igbo language of Nigeria.

Zebra foal_4
Zebra foal_4

“Both mum and her foal are doing extremely well. Obi is very stable on his feet and moving around the paddock alongside Kioni,” said Keeper Carolene Magner.

Kioni is a very natural maternal dam and is quite protective, which is important to ensure the foal stays close by for feeding and safety, to prevent any misadventure from other larger herd members.

“The foal is not venturing too far from mum’s side but that is very normal as Kioni is quite protective and keeping the other herd members at a safe distance. The other females in the group are very interested in the new foal but Kioni is ensuring he stays close by her side at present,” said Carolene.

“We are very happy with how he is progressing over his first week and look forward to watching him grow and develop, and eventually interacting with the other herd members,” said Carolene.

“Mornings are a great time to see Obi as he is most active then, and like most newborns will have a burst of energy and then take a nap.”

Zebra have a gestation period of 12 – 13 months. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to 11 Zebra across three groups at present. A breeding herd with new addition Obi and five other females, a small bachelor group next to the Giraffe exhibit and another group on the African Savannah.

There are three subspecies of Zebra in the wild – Plains Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra and Mountain Zebra. The Plains Zebra sub species which Taronga Western Plains Zoo holds is classified as near threatened. The wild population is declining due to competition with livestock for natural resources, hunting for meat and hide as well as the impacts of drought in some range states.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Beads for Wildlife program helps to support the conservation of Zebra in Northern Kenya, through a partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, a branch of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), selling beadwork made by over 600 women in Northern Kenya. With every bead work product sold in the Zoo Shop it is helping to provide an alternate income to livestock for these communities, which would compete with wildlife for natural resources such as water and vegetation in this region. Put simply, more beads sold = less livestock = more wildlife.


African Penguin Chick Hatched at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach

 

Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is pleased to introduce you to their newly hatched penguin chick—the first-ever penguin born at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach! Born October 7, 2020, the newest addition turned six weeks old yesterday and is being hand-raised by husbandry staff behind the scenes in the Penguin Nursery.

African penguin chicks can hold themselves upright at about six days old and begin walking at around three weeks. Both milestones were hit—an exciting and healthy sign for the Aquarium’s firstborn! The soon to-be-named chick is still being acclimated and will join the Penguin Playhouse colony in 2021.

 


Marvellous Margay Kitten Born at Shaldon Wildlife Trust

Staff at Shaldon Wildlife Trust are overjoyed to have welcomed a very special little kitten born at the zoo in September which is now just starting to venture out of its nest box.

Born to Harley and Lucia, the zoos young pair of margay, this is their first kitten together and marks a continued success with margay at the zoo after their new enclosure won an award at a recent zoo industry awards ceremony.

Still 2
Still 1
Still 2

Zak Showell, director, said “Given how difficult a year its been, having a margay born is a really positive feeling for all the team here”.

Harley was born at the zoo in 2017 and was joined by Lucia from Randers Zoo, Denmark in 2019 as part of the European breeding programme for the species.

Zak also said “This is the only margay to be born in England this year and 1 of only 4 in the whole breeding programme in 2020. Coupled with success of winning an award for their enclosure a few months ago just makes it even better.”

Margay are a small cat found in Central and South America. They are classed as near threatened by the IUCN redlist, an organisation that list how endangered animals are. They face threats such as deforestation, fragmentation and the illegal pet and fur trade in the wild.


Public Can Vote To Name Smithsonian’s National Zoo Giant Panda Cub

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is asking the public to help name the male giant panda cub, now 9.2 pounds of adorable, at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. The Aug. 21 birth was streamed live on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, and since then more than 1 million virtual visitors have tuned in to watch him grow. Voters can select their favorite name from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 on the Zoo’s website (maximum one vote per day). The name that receives the most votes will be bestowed on the cub. The Zoo will announce the winning name Nov. 23.

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Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and the birth of this cub offered the world a much-needed moment of joy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The possible names—chosen by the Zoo and Chinese partners—reflect the extraordinary circumstances under which this cub was born and celebrate the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species. The possible cub names are:

  • Fu Zai (福仔) [fu-tzai]—prosperous boy
  • Xiao Qi ji (小奇迹) [shiau-chi-ji]—little miracle
  • Xing Fu (幸福) [shing-fu]—happy and prosperous
  • Zai Zai (仔仔) [tzai-tzai]—a traditional Chinese nickname for a boy

The Zoo will continue to provide updates on the cub on its website, on social media using the hashtags #PandaStory and #PandaCubdates and in the Giant Panda e-newsletter. Giant panda fans can see the cub, mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) via the Giant Panda Cam on the Zoo’s website. It is one of five live animal webcams hosted on the Zoo’s website.

At 22 years old, mother Mei Xiang is the oldest giant panda in the United States to give birth. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute reproductive scientists and Zoo veterinarians performed an artificial insemination on Mei Xiang March 22 with frozen semen collected from Tian Tian, who turned 23 years old Aug. 27. This is the first time a zoo in the United States has experienced a successful pregnancy and birth via artificial insemination using only frozen semen. Zoo veterinarians confirmed evidence of a fetus on an ultrasound Aug. 14 and Aug. 17.

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has updated its hours and entry requirements. The panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat is currently closed to provide quiet for Mei Xiang and her cub. Asia Trail—including giant panda viewing—is temporarily closed to visitors for the scheduled repaving of walkways.

In addition to this cub, Mei Xiang has given birth to three surviving offspring: Tai Shan (tie-SHON), Bao Bao (BOW BOW) and Bei Bei (BAY BAY). Tai Shan was born July 9, 2005, and moved to China February 2010. Bao Bao was born Aug. 23, 2013, and moved to China in February 2017. Bei Bei was born Aug. 22, 2015, and moved to China in November 2019. As part of the Zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China when they are 4 years old. The Zoo’s current cooperative breeding agreement expires in December 2020.

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Photo Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo

Zookeepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare baby rhino.

The female calf was safely delivered by new mum Ema Elsa following a 15-month-long pregnancy.

The birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and shows the little one up on her feet and suckling from mum just 10 minutes later.

Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)


Now, the zoo has launched a poll on its Facebook page, inviting the public to help name the precious new arrival. Keepers have shortlisted the names Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning ‘to try’) and Kaari (meaning ‘young girl/young daughter’) for voters to choose from.

Conservationists at the zoo say the arrival of the calf – an eastern black rhino - will be ‘celebrated globally’ as fewer than 1000 now remain on the planet.

The population of eastern black rhinos in zoos across Europe is vital to the long-term future of the species, with several rhinos born as a result of the carefully coordinated breeding programme between European zoos having been introduced to Africa to boost wild populations.

Most recently, in June 2019, experts at Chester Zoo spearheaded the transportation of a group of eastern black rhinos from Europe to Akagera National Park, Rwanda.

Andrew McKenzie, Team Manager of rhinos at the zoo, said:

“The birth of a critically endangered eastern black rhino is always very special. And to be able to watch on camera as a calf is born is an incredible privilege - with rhino numbers so, so low it, sadly, isn’t something that’s captured very often. Seeing the little one then get to her feet with a gentle nudge from mum; take her first tentative steps and suckle for the first time is then the icing on the cake. It really is heart-warming stuff.

“The whole team here is overjoyed. Mum and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs. These rhinos have been pushed to the very edge of existence and every single addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is celebrated globally. It’s sadly no exaggeration to say that it’s entirely possible that we could lose them forever within our lifetime and the world’s most progressive zoos are very much part of the fight to prevent their extinction.”


The eastern black rhino is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. In the wild, they are now found only in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Experts say the multibillion pound illegal wildlife trade is driving the species towards extinction - the surge in demand of rhino horn stemming from the Asian medicine market.

Andrew added:

“In the short term, Ema Elsa and her new baby will help to highlight the perilous position that this species is in and we hope they encourage more people to join the fight to prevent the extinction of these gentle giants. In the future, as we work to ensure more safe areas, we hope Ema and her offspring, like others before them born into the European breeding programme, are one day able to make the journey back to Africa.”


Conservation scientists at Chester Zoo, working out of the UK’s only zoo-based animal endocrine lab, have developed a technique to track black rhino oestrus cycles via hormone analysis of their dung – helping keepers to decide when best to introduce females to a mate to help optimise chances of a successful mating outcome, and subsequently confirm and track a pregnancy. This method is now being used in Kenya where rangers and vets, using a field lab set up with the help of experts from Chester, are deploying the technique to monitor wild rhino populations.

In addition to rhino breeding, Chester Zoo has, for many years, also supported conservation efforts to protect eastern black rhinos in Africa and continues to fund and provide expertise to numerous sanctuaries, partners and wildlife reserves and to train anti-poaching rangers.


Baby Zebra Meets Giraffes, Rhinos, and More!

Yesterday morning a newborn Grant’s Zebra was born in the stables of the Safari at Burgers’ Zoo. Instinctively, the newborn baby stood up almost immediately to take its first wobbly steps. The foal was immediately taken outside with the family the same day. The mother helped by gently pushing her baby with her head in the right direction. The foal is most likely a female.

Already on its first day of life, the youngster is allowed to enter the large savannah plains, where the newborn zebra cautiously encounters the other inhabitants: giraffes, rhinos and various antelope species, such as wildebeests, and waterbucks. Its mother is very vigilant and protects the baby. Although many people think of zebras as similar in tmperment to horses, they are really wild animals that can kick and bite!

Burgers’ Zoo is home to a herd of Grant’s zebras numbering sixteen individuals. Burgers' Zoo is very successful with the breeding of Grant’s zebras. On average, four to five young are born each year, depending on the number of adult mares living in the herd. This newborn is the third zebra foal of the year. Two foals have already been born this year.