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December 2011

Rhino Baby Is a First For Zoo Miami!


Early yesterday morning, after a nearly 16 month pregnancy, “Kalu,” an 11 year old Indian one horned Rhinoceros, gave birth at Zoo Miami.  This is the first ever successful birth of this highly endangered species for Zoo Miami and in fact, in the history of all South Florida zoos.

Kalu was born at the Bronx Zoo on December 22, 2000 and arrived at Zoo Miami as part of a breeding loan on June 10, 2004.  The father’s name is “Suru” and he was born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park on December 31, 2000.  He arrived at Zoo Miami on October 19, 2003 as part of a breeding loan with the San Francisco Zoo.  This is the first offspring for both individuals.




Photo Credits: Ron Magill

There are less than 3,000 Indian Rhinos left in the wild occurring in small protected areas of Nepal, India, and Assam.  Over the years, they have been poached extensively for their horn which is used for medicinal purposes and for dagger handles that are revered in some Asian cultures.  They are the world’s fourth largest land mammal sometimes reaching a weight of 6,000 pounds.

More photos below the fold...

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Three Wee Tree Monitors

New York's Buffalo Zoo has announced the latest additions to their Reptile House -- three baby Black Tree monitors (Varanus beccarii). Their birthdays are October 28, 30 and November 2. This is the first time since 2006 that the species have hatched at the zoo.

Black tree monitors are native to the Aru Islands off the coast of New Guinea, and little is known about their natural ecology in the wild. They are highly adapted to life in the trees due to their long, curved claws, streamlined body and long, prehensile tail They can grow to be approximately 3 feet (.914 meters) long. They're carniverous, eating things like insects, scorpions, eggs, and small mammals.

The Black Tree monitor is considered to be a CITES AppendixII (threatened) species due to deforestation. Buffalo Zoo is one of only 13 zoos in North America (and 22 in the world) to house this species and the only zoo in the world reported to have hatched Black Tree monitors this year.




Check Ups For Chester Zoo's Sumatran Tiger Cubs

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up 4

Chester Zoo's three nine-week-old Tiger cubs have had their first ever health check ups. Last week, the rare cubs were checked by zoo vets and keepers who determined their sexes, wormed them, fitted them with microchips and gave them their vaccinations for cat flu.

Curator of Mammals, Tim Rowlands, said: "They basically receive the same vaccines that a pet cat is given when it’s taken to the vets. The only difference is we're much more cautious about handling the cubs than we would be with domestic kittens."

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up 2

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up 3

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up 5

Chester Zoo Tiger Cub Check Up 6


Each of the cubs – which are only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in the wild - was also weighed and given a general check up. Vetinary Officer, Livia Benato said: "The cubs received a physical examination to check they are healthy and in good body condition. Happily, all three cubs – all girls - have been given a completely clean bill of health."

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It's a Girl! Baby Rhino Born on Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve brought a very special delivery to Germany's Magdeburg Zoo -- a healthy baby Black rhino! A name has yet to be chosen for this little female, but, like all the rhinos at Magdeburg, it's sure to begin with "Ma" is. Mana, her 30-year-old mother, and very experienced, as this is her fourth calf. Both are doing very well, and just today stepped out into the rhino yard. The baby wasn't afraid in the least.

The birth of a Black rhino is extremely rare and so seeing them born at a zoo or in the wild is not often observed. Yet installed a live video camera in the Rhino House so zoo staff as well as the public could watch the birth and now, the baby bonding with it's mother, round the clock. It's reported that several thousand people saw the baby being born this way. To see the live rhino-cam for yourself, click HERE.




Photo Credit: Magdeburg Zoo


A New Baby Gibbon Swings Into Brookfield Zoo


The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male White-Cheeked Gibbon on November 15. The 1-month-old infant—along with his mom, Indah; dad, Benny; and 2-year-old brother, Thani—can be seen on exhibit in the zoo’s Tropic World: Asia exhibit daily between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Since his birth, the infant has been keeping a close grip on his mom. He will stay in contact and be carried by Indah for a few more months. As he gets older, he will begin to explore the habitat on his own, become more independent, and play with his brother and dad. 

All White-cheeked Gibbons are born with a blond coat matching their mother’s coat, a form of camouflage. The new male Gibbon will retain this light coloring until it begins to turn dusky when he is half a year old. By the time he reaches his first birthday, the young Gibbon will be sporting a black coat with light cheek patches, like his dad and brother. He will retain this coloration for life. Females turn black and then back to blond again, with a small patch of black on their crown, when they reach sexual maturity at around 6 to 8 years of age.







Indah, 23, and Benny, 26, have been together at Brookfield Zoo since August 1995. Indah was born at Minnesota Zoological Garden, and Benny was born in Leipzig, Germany. They are managed as a breeding pair based on a recommendation by the Gibbon Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). An SSP is a cooperative conservation program for the long-term management of an endangered species’ breeding, health, and welfare in North American zoos. Jay Petersen, curator of mammals for the Chicago Zoological Society, is the Gibbon SSP coordinator. With the assistance of the Gibbon SSP Management Group, he is responsible for management goals for all gibbons in AZA zoos and for breeding recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied North American white-cheeked gibbon population. Currently, 83 white-cheeked gibbons live in accredited North American zoos.

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Perth Zoo Hatches Black-winged Stilt Chicks


Four Black-winged Stilt chicks hatched at Perth Zoo in Australia at the end of November. These chicks are the first in a new generation of stilts and are part of a regional breeding program for this native Australian species.

Chicks are gray and with a sandy hue on their wings. When fully grown the will sport stark white feathers on the head, neck and belly while the feathers on their back and wings will be black with a greenish sheen on males and a little more brown looking on females. Adults are 13-14 inches (33–36 cm) long, with their distinctive pink legs making up about 60 % of their height which gives them an advantage in deeper waters over other wader birds (hence the name).

Black-winged Stilts can be found on the shores of large, inland water bodies and coastal habitats. They breed in freshwater or brackish (slightly salty) wetlands with a sand, mud or clay bed. While they are not currently considered endangered, they can be threatened by climate change and continued destruction of wetlands by man.




Photo Credits: Perth Zoo

Third Endangered Penguin Hatched This Year!


On December 6, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo keepers welcomed the third successful hatching this year of an endangered African Penguin chick. After 10 days, the downy grey chick was alert, warm and vocalizing, three positive signs of health and strength. It is nesting inside the Penguin building under the watchful care of first-time parents, Tinkerbell and Loki. To date, the parents are very attentive and sharing in the brooding responsibilities of the hatchling, whose gender has not yet been determined. The tiny chick weighed just 54 grams when hatched, and has grown to 272 grams as of December 15.

The newest Penguin chick will remain with the parents for a few weeks, then be transitioned to zookeeper care to facilitate independence and learning to swim, before ultimately joining the colony on exhibit in several months. Once on exhibit, it will be easy to spot with its dark gray juvenile plumage for about a year. This will be replaced by the characteristic black and white feathers following its first molt.



Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

African Penguins, endemic to mainly offshore islands on South Africa’s coast, were reclassified in 2010 from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List (IUCN). The Zoo’s penguins are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. 

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What's a Caecilian? Virginia Zoo's Newest Baby


"This is the first Caecilian born at the Virginia Zoo," said Craig Pelke, Birds and Cctotherms Curator at the Virginia Zoo. Resembling large earthworms or small snakes, Caecilians completely lack limbs and swim like an eel. Their skin is smooth and a dark-matte blue-grayish-brown in color. Their eyes are small and covered by skin for protection; Caecilians have poor eyesight, which is limited to light and dark perception, but have a great sense of smell.

Just over 6 inches long (15.2 cm), the baby Caecilian has been moved off exhibit to a separate holding tank away from the adults. It's still too early to tell if it is male or female. "We first brought them here in 2008 to help celebrate the Year of the Frog and we recently acquired 4 juveniles from the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey."

"When it gets closer to adult size, we'll move it back on exhibit, but that could be months," said Martha Hamilton, a zookeeper who cares for the Caecilians.

This species fo Caecilian, the Rio Cauca (Typhlonectes natans), is also referred to as "blue worms." They are aquatic amphibians that give live birth in the water. They range from western and northern Colombia to the Lake Maracaibo Basin in Venezuela, where they live in drainage systems, rivers, marshes and lakes, thriving in polluted water.


Photo Credit: Winfield Danielson/Virginia Zoo

"Long" Awaited Giraffe Arrival in Singapore!

Singapore Wilidlife Park Giraffe Calf 4

Wildlife Reserves Singapore in Mandai, Singapore welcomed a lanky surprise this festive season – a 1.88m tall baby Giraffe born on December 5, 2011! The male calf got on his feet just moments after a six-foot drop from his mother, Dobeni, who gave birth standing up. The birth is the first in three years. The 75-kg baby, which is still unnamed, is the third South African Giraffe born at the Reserves' Night Safari. His father, Pongola, and mother Dobeni are also proud parents of female Giraffe Kayin, born at the park in 2008.

Singapore Wilidlife Park Giraffe Calf 2

Singapore Wilidlife Park Giraffe Calf 5

Singapore Wilidlife Park Giraffe Calf 3

Singapore Wilidlife Park Giraffe Calf 1
Photo credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

“We hope that the birth of this South African Giraffe sub-species at Night Safari will continue to increase the gene pool of the species for global zoological institutions through animal exchanges and breeding programs,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, for Night Safari.

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Bush Baby Hat Trick for Prague Zoo!

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 7

Three Senegal Bush Babies (also known as Galagos) were born at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic on October 5th. On wednesday, zoo veterinarians gave the three their first medical check up. The babies are from two different litters, despite having been born all on the same day. This trio of tree dwellers includes two males and a female. Bush Babies use sensitive hearing and ears which can bend one at a time to hear their prey which includes birds and insects. Fruit, seeds, flowers, eggs, nuts, and tree gums make up the rest of their omnivorous diet.

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 3

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 2

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 5

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 1

Senegal Bush Baby - Zoo Prague 6
Photo credits: Zoo Prague