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December 2011

UPDATE on the Cameron Park Zoo's Tiger Twins!

Cameron Park Zoo 2

Who could forget the first photos of Cameron Park Zoo's Sumantran tiger twins? You can find their baby pictures right HERE.

Indah, the female and Bugara, the male have been getting more and more adept at navigating the territory within their habitat since they first began to go out for short periods of 1-2 hours in late October. They continue to be full of life, play and spunk and are a delight to visitors and keepers alike. 

Sumantran tigers are a species that inhabit the Indonesian island of Sumantra. They were declared critically endangered by the IUCN in 2008. Their total population in the wild is projected to be as low as under 300. That is why healthy cubs like this and zoo breeding programs are so important to their preservation. 

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the tiger subspecies whereas the Siberian tiger is the largest.

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Photo Credits: Cameron Park Zoo

More photos below the fold...

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The Sloths Are Coming (Slowly) to a TV Near You!


Filmmaker Lucy Cooke's full length hour-long documentary "Too Cute! Baby Sloths" premiers this Saturday, December 17th at 8pm EST on Animal Planet. The film (and trailer below) features lots of baby Sloths, the residents of The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, the world's only Sloth sanctuary. Most are orphans whose mothers have been killed by power lines or cars. These orphans have a new, if slightly unconventional mom in celebrated Sloth whisperer Judy Arroyo.

Two of the biggest stars of the film (and trailer) are Violet and Sebastian - the sanctuary's first ever twins. While Lucy was filming they both got sick with a skin condition and had to pay a visit to the sanctuary 'slothpital'. Violet got wrapped up in pink bandages and Sebastian was given specialized sloth pajamas made out of sports socks! (Sebastian in his jammies above)



Judy now has over 160 sloths at the sanctuary which is a lot of mouths to feed. The sloths chomp through 40 tons of vegetables every year. You can help keep these slothful friends fed by making a donation to the Sanctuary today!

One Day, I'll Have a Mohawk Like Mom!


On November 3rd at Zoo Basel, two Cotton-top Tamarin twins came into the world. As is customary with Cotton-tops, the mother and father alternate duties in caring for their new babies. Sometimes, both twins can be seen atop Dad's back, while at other times, Mom will shoulder both babies. Still at other times, it's one baby for each parent. When it's time to eat, of course, dad hands the kids off to Mom for suckling.



Photo credit: Zoo Basel

As these new twins get older, even their siblings will help to carry them. Older siblings play an important role in rearing young tamarins in the wild. They constantly monitor the environment and sound a high pitched whistle to alarm the group if any threats should arise. At birth, Cotton-tops weigh about 45 grams, compared with mom's impressive 600 grams.

Chinese Crocodile Lizards Give Birth - You Heard That Right!

Chinese Crocodile Lizard 3

Two female Chinese crocodile lizards gave birth at Seatle's Woodland Park Zoo this fall and their two litters produced a total of eleven babies. And that's right, they were not hatched, but born. These reptiles actually give birth to their young, after a 9-12 month gestation. 

The newborns, weighing approximately 4 to 6 grams, are independent at birth and litter size ranges from 1 to 9. In the last picture below, you can see a side by side size comparison of the adult and baby. Since WPZ acquired a pair in 1993, there have been 70 crocodile lizard offspring born at the Zoo. 

The Chinese crocodile lizard is an endangered lizard found in the Guanxi province in Southern China and in 2002 previously unknown populations were discovered in northern Vietnam. This species is semi-aquatic and lives in creeks between 200–700m in altitude surrounded by broadleaf trees and conifers. This lizard has become severely endangered due to collection for the pet trade and for food, and from habitat destruction.

Chinese Crocodile Lizard 2

Chinese Crocodile Lizard 1
Photo credits: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

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Baby Gorilla Nurtured Back to Health


Okanda, the six-month-old baby gorilla at Twycross Zoo in baby gorilla has been extremely poorly and their vet Sarah has been living with him around the clock as she helps nurse him back to health. We discovered a problem with his mothers milk which meant the young primate was not getting the nutrients he needed. They had to sedate his mother, Ozala, while keepers hurried the infant to the on-site vet.

Sarah is now living with Okanda at an undisclosed location; She is only communicating with the infant through grunts, mimicking the sounds and actions of a primate so not to expose him to human influence.

Vet and director of life sciences at the zoo Sharon Redrobe said: "We're very pleased with his progress but we thought we were going to lose him. It's been very touch and go. He was so thin and he doesn't want to be left alone because after all he's still only a baby. Sarah isn't holding him like a human baby, or talking to him, just grunting and grooming him like his mother would do."

Okanda was put on a drip and had a feeding tube placed in his stomach as he was not strong enough to feed from a bottle. He was then fed powdered baby milk every three hours while his condition was continuously assessed. For the past few days, staff have been weaning the youngster off milk and on to solid foods, such as bananas and food pellets.

Sharon said: "He was really quiet until yesterday, but now he's starting to play and make gorilla noises. He's started biting Sarah, which is a good sign for him, but not so good for Sarah."

‘We hope he will be back with his mum in about eight weeks. Gorillas are intelligent animals and it's clear she misses him. We were worried that she would go off her food and we'd have to care for her too, but luckily we've not had any serious problems."


Keeper 2

Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo

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The Purr-fect Stocking Stuffer, for FREE!



Everyone knows ZooBorns CATS!, our new hardcover book from Simon & Schuster, is a grrr-eat stocking stuffer, but did you know you can enter to win a FREE signed copy?

ZooBorns CATS! features adorable pictures of newborn felines from accredited zoos and conservation programs around the world. This is the largest and most complete collection of kittens of different feline species ever published! 

Details for entering the giveaway are on our Facebook page here.

You can order ZooBorns CATS! any time on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. A percentage of proceeds from sales of "CATS!"  goes directly to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund.

Rules and restrictions below the fold and at the contest page.

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Two New Animal Babies for Prague Zoo


In the Children's Zoo at Zoo Praha in Prague something special happened: two furry babies - an alpaca llama and dwarf zebu -- were born. Both are thriving under the care of their mothers.

Alpaca are related to the camel and the llama. Once nearly driven to extinction by Spanish conquerors, a small number survived high in the Andes Mountains, thanks to their adaptability. Now they populate the mountain plateaus in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Highly pirzed for their luxurious coats, the alpaca has been a treasured blessing to the people who live near them. Their fleece grows in abundance, in 22 naturally different shades, from black to champagne color, and is easy to shear to make coats, hats, and the like. They are very low maintenance, needing little to drink or eat. They nibble at grasses and do no harm to trees and other plants. 



Dwarf Zebu like the ones below are a kind of cow and stand about 4 feet tall (1.22 meters), with a large hump on the shoulders. They have long, slender legs, and a large dewlap -- a fold of loose skin that hangs from the neck. Unlike many other horned animals, their horns point forward.

Found primarily in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, they have been mostly domesticated and become very helpful draft animals. Their small size allows them to survive on scarce food supplies, so they are easier to maintain than larger cattle.

Due to the gentle nature of both, these animals make perfect ambassadors for their species in the Children's Zoo, where kids can get up close as they learn about them. 

Calf and mom

Photo Credit: Tomas Adamec/Prague Zoo

Help Name Tampa's New Baby White Rhino!


At Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, a Southern White Rhinoceros calf was born in the early morning hours on Wednesday, December 7, to second-time mother “Kidogo” in the African Rhino boma (barn) which houses the animals overnight. The birth marks the second Rhino born at the Zoo this year, preceded by an Indian Rhinoceros (also known as the greater one-horned rhinoceros) born in July.



Photo credits: Zoo docent Dave Parkinson

“Every rhino birth, regardless of which species, is significant in our global efforts to protect these animals,” noted Dr. Larry Killmar, VP and director of collections. “During the past 16 months, the animal care staff applied sound animal husbandry principals that resulted in this, our second successful birth of a southern white rhino.”

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Four Little Meerkat Pups Develop Confidence!


Four little meerkat pups were born on October 31, at Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. Their mother is named Feta... but the father is unknown. Feta could have paried off with any one of the 5 males in the mob.

One of the babies first ventured out into the sunshine on exhibit with the others at only three weeks old. The rest of it's siblings stayed behind in the den. Meerkats are highly social and live groups called mobs, which made up of as many as three family groups (up to 30 individuals total). Each family group is made up of parents and their offspring.



Mum and pup

Meer peek 3 wk
Photo Credit: Wellington Zoo

Now over 6 weeks old, they all have been out in the yard. Not only that - they have gotten confident enough to attempt snagging their food right from the grown ups, as seen in the video below!


Two Fluffy Flamingo Chicks Hand Raised in Johannesburg


Every spring in South Africa, Johannesburg Zoo’s flock of flamingos gets busy with preparations for their new chicks. Flamingos start laying eggs around September & October, after carefully building raised nests from mud in their enclosure. Weeks before breeding season starts keepers provide clay-like substrate to the enclosure for the birds to build with. Initially the clay is kept wet once a week to ensure nest stay moist and keep their shape.

Unfortunately, the hen sometimes makes the mistake of laying an egg on the grass or the egg may roll off the nest. For those eggs abandoned by the parents’ zookeepers collect and incubate them for 28 to 30 days in the hope that the chicks will hatch and survive. This is no easy task as the eggs need very specific conditions of 99.5 degrees (37.5 degrees celcius) and 75% humidity to grow.

The first egg laid this season unfortunately rolled off of the nest and was collected by birdkeeper, Elaine Bratt. It was incubated from September 22, and to Elaine’s delight a little chick hatched on October 20! Named Nu, it is the first official flamingo chick of 2011 and is being cared for around the clock, just as its parents would do. Nu was joined by Kuba on November 8. The two live in the zoo’s bird rearing facility called “The Brooder Room”. Each has its own room with a heat lamp to keep the temperature constant. The chicks are fed every 2 to 3 hours a special diet of sardines, shrimp, boiled egg, maize meal, calcium and multi-vitamins.



With adults

Photo Credits: Photos 1-2 Lorna Fuller, Photos 3-4 Candice Segal/Joburg Zoo

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