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September 2011
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October 2011

Three Sets Of Baby Tiger Paws at Potter Park Zoo


Potter Park Zoo in Michigan saw triple with the birth of three Amur tiger cubs early in the morning on September 13.

“This birth was recommended by the Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP),” explains Dr. Tara Harris, coordinator of the Amur Tiger SSP and Director of Conservation at Minnesota Zoo. “We’re thrilled that Potter Park Zoo’s tigers proved to be a successful breeding pair and are helping to strengthen a sustainable population of Amur tigers worldwide.”

Two days after their birth, tests run by the veterinary staff and Michigan State University revealed pneumonia in the cubs. They were then taken from their mother and treated with antibiotics, and are now being hand-fed and raised by the Zoo's animal care staff. Their health has improved drastically.

Dr. Tara Harrison, veterinarian at Potter Park Zoo said, “This marks the third set of Amur tiger cubs born at Potter Park Zoo in the past 20 years. We are proud to play an active role in the conservation of this species.”

The three cubs are all girls, and have been named Savelii, Kira and Ameliya. These births bring Potter Park Zoo’s tiger population five. The cubs’ mother, Nikka, arrived in Lansing in 2009 from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Sivaki, their father, was born at Potter Park Zoo in 2005. The cubs will be on exhibit inside the Feline Primate House in early December. Until then, the public can watch their activity on a live webcam which is available on the zoo’s website,


Cub group
Photo Credits:Potter Park Zoo

Secretive Shrew Gives Birth at Smithsonian National Zoo


In August, two baby Tree Shrews were born at The National Zoo. Keepers at the zoo had no idea until the pair were nearly fully grown! This is due to the secretive rearing habits of this small mammals native to Southeast Asia.

“One of the many things that’s interesting about [Tree Shrews] is the way they’re cared for as young,” says David Kessler, a biologist at the Zoo. “What happens is, as soon as they’re born, they’ll nurse, and they will drink up to 50 percent of their body weight in one nursing. Then they’re in a nest, and the female has her own nest separate from where they are, and she’ll only come and nurse the young once every 48 hours.”


Photo credits: Clyde Nishimura / SMithsonian National Zoo

As a result of this lack of contact, baby Tree Shrews remain nearly entirely hidden during the maturation process. Read more about Tree Shrews and this birth at the Smithsonian Magazine blog.

Fall Arrival: One Tawny Waterbuck Baby

Water solo

Keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in England were delighted with a new arrival to their herd this month – a baby waterbuck!

The Defassa waterbuck is a large, robust antelope with a long-haired, often shaggy brown/grey coat. Despite its name the Waterbuck is not really aquatic but often takes refuge from predators in water and swamps. Waterbuck give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of 9 months. The calves may be born at any time of year, but calving peaks occur in the summer. 

Head Hoofstock Keeper Bob Savill said, "It’s a credit to captive breeding programs like ours when herds can be introduced to protected areas – It proves how important these births are for the continuation of this species and others."


Solo tail

Buck and bro
Photo Credit: Dave Rolfe

Growing Up Giraffe at New York's Bronx Zoo


Earlier this month, a Baringo giraffe calf made its public debut at the Bronx Zoo’s African Plains. Born on September 14, 2011, James Marjani is the first giraffe calf born at the Bronx Zoo since February 2009. He was approximately six feet tall at birth and estimated to weigh more than 100 pounds. As an adult, he could eventually grow to more than 17 feet and weigh close to 4,000 pounds. The baby was born to mother, Margaret Sukari, and father, James Michael. The Bronx Zoo names all of its giraffes in memory of Mr. and Mrs. James Carter, benefactors for whom the Carter Giraffe Building is named. His birth brings the total number of giraffes in the herd to eight.




Photo credits: Julie Larsen-Maher (c) WCS's Bronx Zoo

Continue reading "Growing Up Giraffe at New York's Bronx Zoo" »

It's a Girl! Okapi Baby First Female In Eleven Years For San Diego Zoo


Looking a lot like a horse, but with stripes similar to a zebra, the faces of an okapi calf and her mother show signs of their real relative: the giraffe! On September 4, mom Makini gave birth to the 37th okapi born at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park -- the first female born in 11 years. Okapis are the only living relative of the giraffe and have similar large, upright ears and a prehensile tongue that helps them strip leaves from trees in their native habitat of the Ituri Forest in Central Africa.

Animal care staff reports that the calf, which has not been named yet, is adventurous, independent and self-assured. She is tolerant and enjoys petting from her keepers. And like her mother, she can often be seeing sticking out her tongue.

Calves look just like adults except for a short fringe of hair along their spine, which will disappear about a year after birth. Guests at the Safari Park can see this calf, and other okapis, in the African Woods area on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 9 a.m and noon.

Okapi baby

Okpai wKeeper
Photo Credits: Ken Bohn and San Diego Zoo Safari Park 

African Crane Chicks First March Outside

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Two African crowned crane chicks were recently introduced to their outdoor habitat at the Virginia Zoo and are now accepting visitors.

"They hatched in late August, but we wait until they bulk up and are less vulnerable before putting them in the outdoor habitat," said zookeeper Dennis McNamara, who works on the team that cares for the chicks. He added that the chicks still spend the night indoors, and will continue to do so until they are nearly full grown.

Named for what appears to be a crown of golden pins on their head, which are actually modified feathers, African crowned cranes are native to the savannah south of the Sahara. The birds stand just over 3 feet tall and weigh nearly 8 pounds, with the males tending to be slightly larger. They feed on insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals and seeds.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for people to observe the chicks' transformation into the striking adult birds," said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo's executive director.

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Photo Credites: Winfield S. Danielson/Virgina Zoo

Continue reading "African Crane Chicks First March Outside" »

Prickly Perfection at Belfast Zoo!


Belfast Zoological Gardens is celebrating the arrival of two bundles of joy, in the form of two African pygmy hedgehog babies! Mickey and Minnie were born to parents, Tom and Geri, just six weeks ago and these prickly little creatures only measure between six and eight inches in length when fully grown! Below you get a feel for the size of both Mom (right) and baby (left).

Hedgehog mum and baby720

Education Officer Geraldine Murphy is delighted with the new arrivals, “Belfast Zoo’s education officers and our small team of animals come into contact with over 40,000 children every year and the African pygmy hedgehogs are a firm favourite with everyone!  Along with our team of animals including leopard geckos, tarantulas, royal pythons, bearded dragons and stick insects, we aim to raise awareness and understanding of the natural environment and to highlight the importance of conservation, particularly amongst young people.”


And Four Bear Cubs Are Juuust Right

All 4

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo doubled its grizzly bear cubs with the addition of two more orphaned young bears from the western United States. Cheyenne and Jackson, a brother and sister pair from Wyoming, joined Montana brothers Cody and Cooper on exhibit in the Zoo’s Northern Trek last week.

After a few days of defensive posturing and bluff charging, all four cubs are getting along well and have been seen wrestling and playing with one another. Animal care staff thought  it might take several weeks of familiarization before the two new cubs could be out on exhibit with Cody and Cooper, but the bears’ behaviors told them otherwise.

The bears were given visual access to one another in their night holding building through what keepers call the “howdy door” which can be opened or closed depending on the reactions of the animals, but keeps them from being able to touch. There was a normal amount of investigating and some nervousness, but keepers didn’t observe a great deal of aggression. The decision was made soon after to let them out into the exhibit together. All of the bears are estimated to be 7 months old and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds.




Photo Credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Continue reading "And Four Bear Cubs Are Juuust Right" »