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February 2011

Baby Aardvark Stumbles Its Way into Colchester Zoo

Baby Aardvark getting snouty with mom

On February 7, the Colchester Zoo welcomed a bouncing baby Aardvark to mother, Oq and dad, Adela. This marks the sixth successful Aardvark birth at Colchester Zoo, which boasts the most successful breeding program of its kind in Europe.

Aardvarks are notoriously clumsy and have a habit of bumping into one another so mama-vark and baby have been moved into a specially built birthing burrow to allow a close bond to be formed between the two, and keep the baby protected from any accidental knocks from fellow antbears (as they are sometimes called in Africa). As newborn Aardvarks are poor sighted and uncoordinated, keepers take turns sitting in with mother and baby 24 hours a day to ensure that the baby is feeding well and is kept safe from any accidental injury. 

Baby Aardvark nap time with mom at Colchester Zoo

Two sleepy Aardvarks

Mum and baby will be able to return to the rest of the group within approximately a month of its birth, when the youngster will be strong enough to survive any bumps from the rest of the group! The birthing burrow is off show, but visitors wishing to catch a glimpse of Oq and her offspring this half term can still see the progress of mother and baby via a closed circuit television link to a large screen in the main viewing tunnel of the Aardvark burrow.

Rare Baby Sifaka Hangs on Tight to Mom


A baby Coquerel’s Sifaka (CAHK-ker-rells she-FAHK), an endangered Lemur species from Madagascar, was born at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Primate House on January 9, 2011. This is the third baby for mother, Almirena (al-mah-REE-nah), age eight, from the Los Angeles Zoo, and father Caligula, age 12, from Duke Lemur Center. Almirena is a great mother and the newborn is very strong, according to zookeepers. For about a month, the baby held onto mom's belly, but has recently "graduated" to riding on her back. Zookeepers are observing the infant and mother every day, and a name will be chosen once it can be determined if it’s a male or female.


Photo credits: Ethan Riepl/ St. Louis Zoo

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Screaming Hairy Armadillo Babies!


The Cincinnati Zoo recently welcomed three Screaming Hairy Armadillo babies, which will eventually join the Zoo's outreach program to teach school children about animals and conservation. As their name implies, the Screaming Hairy Armadillo squeals when threatened, perhaps by a hungry jaguar. Native to Arengtina, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay this species ranges from deserts to grasslands and escapes the heat of the summer day deep within a burrow. 


Photo and video credits: Cincinnati Zoo

Ray-Ray the Addra Gazelle Calf Takes Dinner Seriously

Baby Addra Gazelle at Maryland Zoo

Meet Ray-Ray, the Maryland Zoo's newest Addra Gazelle calf. Born February 5, the calf is strong and healthy. Named after Ravens players Ray Lewis and Ray Rice, the calf isn't quite yet ready to play with the big boys as he weighs just 11lbs 6oz (5.3kg). The Addra Gazelle, also known as the Dama Gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. This species is critically endangered due to drought, disease communicated by domestic livestock, and habitat destruction.

Dinner time for a little Addra Gazelle calf at Maryland Zoo1Keeper Cristina Laurie joins little Ray-Ray for dinner time. Photo and video credits: Maryland Zoo

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Did Somebody Say 'More Baby Wombat?!'

Little wombat says hello

Back by popular demand, the Brookfield Zoo's Hairy-nosed Wombat joey returns to ZooBorns for a second round of adorable wombatitude. Hairy-nosed Wombats are the smallest and most social of all wombat species. Once found throughout a large range in Southern Australia, today the population has been fragmented into a patchwork by human development. The resulting reduced genetic variation makes the species more suspectible to disease. The Brookfield Zoo has exhibited this species for decades and, in fact, was home to the oldest documented Hairy-Nosed Wombats in the world, Carver, who lived to be 34, and his mother, Vicky, who lived to be 24. See the earlier shots here.

Baby wombat and mom at Brookfield Zoo 2


Baby wombat climbs on mom at the Brookfield ZooPhoto credits: Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo

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Endangered Baby Tapir Arrives at Bristol Zoo


There is a new addition to Bristol Zoo’s Brazilian Tapir family. A tiny baby calf will join parents Tamang and Denzil and big sister Tip Tap. The three week old Brazilian Tapir calf has been sexed as male and is the seventh born to the Zoo’s current adult Tapirs. The calf currently has a distinct spotted and striped coat of light brown fur that is similar in all young Tapir species and provides ideal camouflage in their native forest habitat. However, this coloration will slowly disappear between six and nine months of age to be replaced with an overall coloring of dark, chocolate brown. Emily Pugh, senior mammal keeper at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “The calf is strong and full of life and can be seen exploring his enclosure with his mother.” Emily added: “He is very inquisitive, always learning and discovering, but likes to stay close to mum, Tamang.”


Photo credits: Peter Budd/Bristol Zoo Gardens

Currently the size of a small dog, the little calf will grow up to be the size of a Shetland pony, reaching his full adult size and weight of anything between 150-300 kg (330-660lbs) by the age of fourteen months. The birth of the calf is a significant contribution to the conservation of Brazilian tapirs, which are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Threatened with extinction from extensive hunting and deforestation, the breeding programme in which Bristol Zoo Gardens is involved helps raise awareness of the threats facing tapirs in the wild.

Denver Zoo Raises Palm Cockatoo Count by Two!

Denver Zoo Palm Cockatoo 1

Denver Zoo recently welcomed two Palm Cockatoos from two different breeding pairs. The chicks hatched on January 18 and February 10 and their genders are still unknown. Though the hatchlings will eventually be on display at the zoo's Nurture Trail exhibit, they are currently growing and developing under the watchful eye of bird keepers in the zoo's Bird Propagation Center. These are the second and third Palm Cockatoo chicks to be hatched at North American Zoos in the last year.

Denver Zoo Palm Cockatoo 2
Photo credits: Denver Zoo / Dave Parsons

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Big Steps for "Tiny" the Baby Gorilla


He’s been nicknamed "Tiny" by zookeepers, but ZSL London Zoo’s male Gorilla baby is now taking his first big steps. Thrilled zookeepers captured the moment on camera when the three-month-old youngster left his mother’s side for the first time to explore his Gorilla Kingdom home. Tiny, who has clung to his mother, 12-year-old Mjukuu, since birth, was urged on by her as he stumbled and crawled around the gorilla enclosure - much to the delight of his keepers. Under the watchful eyes of ‘Aunty’ Gorilla Zaire, 36, and Effie, 17, the baby made his way back to his mum, only to be gently pushed away and encouraged to continue his new adventure.




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Frodo the Koala Joey's Recovery

Bandaged Koala joey Frodo at Australia Zoo 1a

When Frodo the baby Koala arrived at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital three months ago, she had 15 shotgun pellets in her tiny body and no mother. The victim of a vicious, inexplicable attack, this heartbreaking but sensational story made international news. Well now ZooBorns brings you an under-reported, but hopeful update on this special little orphan joey.

Bandaged Koala joey Frodo at Australia Zoo 2

Koala X-Ray

While the odds were certainly stacked against her, Frodo has made outstanding progress, so much so that veterinarian Dr. Amber Gillett moved her to an outdoor enclosure.

Dr. Gillett detailed Frodo's progress: “I am so happy to see Frodo's health continuing to improve every week. She now weighs a healthy 2.6kg since being in care at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital which is a great indicator of how well she is doing. [Her recent check-up] was very pleasing. There were no signs of deterioration, her blood lead levels have, so far, been within normal limits and her fur has completely grown back over old wounds making her virtually unrecognisable to the Frodo who came into care three months ago.”

Frodo the Koala with keeper taking a peek

Frodo says helloPhoto credits: Australia Zoo

Unfortunately caring for Frodo has been extraordinarily expensive. Explained Dr. Gillett “A patient like Frodo costs thousands of dollars to treat and care for before returning to the wild,” Dr Amber said.“[She requires] fresh leaf, paste, and fluids; not to mention associated medical costs such as antibiotics, x-rays, surgery, and around the clock veterinary treatment, all of which adds up. Without donations from the general public, we couldn't continue our vital work here at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.”

Help Frodo's recovery by contributing to her care with a donation on the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital's special Frodo support page

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Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cub Gets a Name!

Baby Panda at Zoo Atlanta 1

100 days is a long time to wait for a proper name, but today Zoo Atlanta's little Panda cub got a name: "Po!" It's no coincidence that the cub's name might sound familiar to fans of Kung Fu Panda. DreamWorks sponsored the naming of the little cub in exchange for funding Zoo Atlanta's panda conservation efforts. Additionally, DreamWorks will continue to fund efforts at China's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a facility we have covered in the past. The cub is now 11lbs and took his first steps a few days ago. See the cubs progress as covered by ZooBorns at birth and four weeks.

Baby Panda at Zoo Atlanta 2bPhotos courtesy of Zoo Atlanta