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June 2011

Bongo Baby Boom at Belfast Zoo

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Belfast Zoo in the UK, has welcomed three new additions to the Eastern bongo herd!  Willa and Fern became mothers to Maggie and Ruby in April, while Kimbiri’s calf was named after the month in which she was born in - May. The resident male, Embu, arrived at Belfast Zoo from Chester Zoo in September 2006 and is father to all three calves! 

Eastern bongos are found in the mountain forests of central Kenya. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the Eastern bongo to be facing a very high risk of extinction; it is estimated that there are as few as 75 to 140 Eastern bongos left in the wild!

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Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, is thrilled with the new arrivals. “The whole zoo team is delighted with the three new Eastern bongo calves and we are especially proud to be playing such an important role in the conservation of such a beautiful and threatened species. We take part in a collaborative breeding program to help protect the Eastern bongo and we have one of the most successful breeding herds in the UK.”

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Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said, “Experts believe that zoos around the world will play a key role in the survival and future of this important sub-species.  In fact some zoo bred animals are now part of the Bongo Repatriation Program.  In 2004 this pioneering project reintroduced Eastern bongos from American zoos to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, where the animals have since formed a core breeding group, producing offspring who will eventually be released into the World Heritage Site at Mount Kenya.  Although our three latest arrivals may not be part of this project at present, it definitely shows the conservational importance of these three calves to the future of the sub-species.”

Visitors can help contribute to the care of these endangered animals by adopting an Eastern bongo at Belfast Zoo. 

Snow Leopard Mom Has Her Paws Full with Triplets!

Snow Leopard Cub Stalking at Zoo Basel

This past week Zoo Basel's furriest new residents began to venture outside of their den for the first time, proving to be bold and curious little cubs. Born April 22nd, the three little Snow Leopard cubs have stayed secluded with mom, Mayhan, in the den for the last two months and these pictures are their first debut to the world. While the cubs are still nursing, they are also getting practice at munching chicken, which appears to be more about having fun than dinner at this stage. In the wild, this shy, mountain dwelling feline is threatened by poaching and suspicious herders. Wild populations are estimated to be only 4,000 - 6,000 making these births all the more important.

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More incredible photos below the fold!

Continue reading "Snow Leopard Mom Has Her Paws Full with Triplets!" »

Baby Anteaters Hitch a Ride... on Mom

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of two giant anteaters! The first, a male named Mochilo (above), was born on April 25 to mom Tiana. On May 6, mom Consuela gave birth to a female named Dulce, pictured below. Both babies are doing well and living with their mothers at the Zoo’s off-exhibit anteater breeding facility.

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The babies will ride on their mom's back for up to a year, intermittently spending some time on the ground as they grow. This is for several reasons - one is protection from predators. They camoflague themselves by lining their shoulder stripe up with the mother's. It's also a way to keep up with their mother, who can cover a lot of ground moving from one termite mound to another, consuming up to 30,000 termites in a day. Though they nurse for about 12 months, they begin to supplement their diets with what she eats.

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Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs

Nashville Zoo, in Nashville Tennessee, has been involved in giant anteater conservation for 13 years and has the largest collection of anteaters in the country. The off-exhibit breeding facility is the only one of its kind in the United States. Giant anteaters are solitary animals from the tropical forests of Central and South America. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the giant anteater as vulnerable, although it is considered extinct in areas of Belize,Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uruguay.

I Vant Them! Baby Vampire Bats!

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Two new vampire bats were born at The Philadelphia Zoo on March 9 and April 7, 2011. Though they ususally nurse for only three months, the babies are still able to be seen clinging to their mothers and are still nursing on her milk, as seen above. This one does look kind of cute and fuzzy in it's own way These bats do drink blood, so their teeth are few, but razor sharp. In the wild they hunt at night --usually feeding off sleeping cattle or horses -- and drink for about 30 minutes.

Bats have two means of locomotion: They are the only mammals that can fly, and the vampire bat is also able to run.Their small but strong legs can reach speeds up to 4.9 miles per hour!  The common vampire bat is found in the tropics of Mexico, Central America, and South America.

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Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

Take a look at this video to see them in action, and learn more about this fascinating species:


Amur Tiger Triplets Visit the Vet

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An update on the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Amur tiger triplets from our recent post found here.

We reported that the cubs mother, Tatiana, 11, and father, Toma, 10, were introduced to each other this past December. The vivacious trio was the result. “Tatiana is an excellent mother,” said Tom LaBarge, curator of animals at the Zoo. “With the exception of occasional veterinary health checks, we’ll allow her to take care of the cubs without interference."

When the cubs were 26 days old, the time had come for that vet visit. County Executive Joanie Mahoney came to see it happen.

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Photo Credits: Amelia Beamish, Rosamond Gifford Zoo

And now you can see the check up too:

The cubs will be weaned and ready to go on exhibit in late August or early September.

Hand-rearing a Baby Orangutan at Sedgwick County Zoo

Baby orangutan clinging to keeper at Sedgwick County Zoo

It’s a boy! On May 19th, the Sedgwick County Zoo welcomed a baby Orangutan to mother Daisy. Unfortunately Daisy did not show much interest in caring for her newborn so the baby is now being raised by hand with round-the-clock keeper care. However, Zoo officials aren't giving up and are coaching Daisy on mothering behaviors in the hopes of returning the baby to her care soon. Zookeeper Devin Bailey explained, ”Being hand-raised might make the infant more people-oriented like his mother. Zookeepers want to make sure that this infant orangutan knows he’s an orangutan. Zookeepers are providing for the physical and psychological well-being of the orangutan instead of mom, for now. However, keepers are still working on maternal care behaviors with Daisy and are thinking positive. We believe we’re on the right track and hope that Daisy might show more interest in taking on some of her infant care responsibilities,” Bailey said. "Daisy is showing some progress. She’s interested. She’s not mean. But she’s just not sure if she should pick up this new arrival"

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Trumpeting the Arrival of Little Cygnets

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Six Trumpeter Swan cygnets were hatched at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo last week. The largest North American bird, Trumpeter Swans vanished from most of the United Sates over 100 years ago due to over hunting and lead poisoning. In 1996 the Ohio reintroduction program was started by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Zoo. The father of these new cygnets was part of this program and all six of these cygnets will eventually be released into the wild.

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Continue reading "Trumpeting the Arrival of Little Cygnets" »

Friday Surprise... Scorplings! (Baby Scorpions)

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The Elmwood Park Zoo in Pennsylvania recently welcomed a brood of baby Emperor Scorpion known as "scorplings." Unlike most arachnids, baby scorpions are born alive! These tiny scorplings' shells have not yet hardened and they must ride on mom's back for safety. Emperor Scorpions are among the largest and lowest in toxicity, making them a popular pet, so much so that over-collecting could threaten this species in the wild. 

Check out their tiny scorpling eyes!

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New Crested Macaque Baby At Dublin Zoo

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The Sulawesi Crested Macaque Island at the Dublin Zoo celebrated yet another addition to their troop. Since Sumo the alpha male arrived in 2009 the group has welcomed five youngsters with this most recent addition born about a month ago. It is too early to tell if the baby is a male or a female. 

Ciaran McMahon, team leader of the macaques said, “Macaques are an endangered species and it is a real accomplishment that our troop is growing so fast. We have a cohesive group of twelve macaques who can regularly be seen grooming and spending time with each other. He added, “Male macaques are not monogamous primates and Sumo is enjoying great success with his six breeding females. We hope to welcome more new arrivals throughout the year.”

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Continue reading "New Crested Macaque Baby At Dublin Zoo" »

Introducing Chocolate, the Baby Moose

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On May 23, 2011, Whipsnade Zoo welcomed this caramel-coloured moose calf that they named Chocolate – who looks pretty darn sweet! A bubbly and hungry baby, before too long this leggy moose will grow up to be tall, dark and hopefully handsome. For now the calf is enjoying milk from mother Minnie and a nibbling leaves from a nearby willow tree.

The calf is the first moose born at the zoo in many years. Keeper Carole Day said two-year-old mother Minnie is being a super-protective mum and the calf is thriving. First the baby had to learn to stand, and has since gotten the hang of it. 

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Photo Credit: Copyright ZSL

One of the largest members of the deer family, male moose are famous for their antlers. Melka, the calfs' dad, has already started growing his new set. Even at the tender age of two Melka has to be strong – the last pair of antlers weighed an astounding 12 pounds (5.5kg) when they eventually fell off in February! Moose can grow to 1,800 pounds (816.5 kg)and be more than six feet tall at the shoulder. As herbivores, they are generally non-aggressive toward humans unless provoked or separated from their calf.