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March 2012
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April 2012

Meet Blossom the Blesbok Calf, Born at Belfast Zoo


The flowers at Belfast Zoological Gardens are not the only things ‘blossoming’ this spring, as keepers are celebrating the birth of Blossom, the Blesbok calf. Its father, Basel, arrived in Belfast in 2009 from Africa Alive in Suffolk and was soon joined by mother, Daphne. The pair’s relationship has since ‘blossomed’ and they welcomed their first calf on March 5. 

Blesbok are a species of antelope that are indigenous to the open grasslands of South Africa. This species was first discovered by settlers in the 17th century and their numbers were said to be so huge that they filled the horizon. However, blesbok were hunted for their skin and for meat and by the 19th century they were on the verge of extinction. Protective measures have since been put in place and the population has sufficiently increased to the point that the species has been removed from the endangered list.

Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, said, “The zoo team are all delighted to be playing an active role in the conservation of this beautiful species which has been brought back from the brink of extinction by conservation efforts.  We only became home to blesbok in 2009 and this is the first time that a blesbok has been bred in Ireland.  Let’s hope there will be many more in the future! ”

Mom follows

Photo Credcit: Belfast Zoo

Baby Mongoose... Lemur!


Is it a boy or a girl? Only time will tell. All baby Mongoose Lemurs are born looking like females. However, at around 6-8 months, males begin to change color and develop their trademark black masks. These pictures were taken yesterday at Sacramento Zoo, when the little Lemur was just ten days old. 

Infant Mongoose Lemurs cling tightly to mom’s waist (like in the picture below) and are weaned between five and seven months. Mongoose Lemurs tend to live in small groups of three to four consisting of a mature pair and their immature offspring. The Ankarafantsika Reserve is the only protected area in Madagascar for the Mongoose Lemur. It is under heavy pressure due to forest clearance for pasture, charcoal production and croplands.

Mongoose Leumr Sacramento Zoo 2
Photo credit: Sacramento Zoo

Can you spot the baby in the photo above?

Laughing Kookaburra Chick Hatches at Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo


This Easter peep laughs (or will when it is fully grown)! The chick is a Laughing Kookaburra, hatched on March 2 at Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo. The little bird has grown and changed quite a bit over the last 5 weeks. First time parents -- mom Jayke and dad Maverick -- have been very busy taking turns carrying insects and mice to the nest box to keep their youngster well fed. This is their first chick and it is thriving under their excellent care.

The parents are the zoo's only Kookaburras and were identified by the Species Survival Program (SSP) as among the most genetically valuable pairs in captivity. They are one of just six pairs in the United States recommended to produce offspring this year.  

In the wild, young Laughing Kookaburras often stay with the family to help raise their younger siblings. A spokesperson for the zoo said they hope that this youngster will get the chance to help its parents raise another brood soon. The photos below show the baby at one week, and again at five weeks.

Larger 1 wk

Chick smile

Photo Credit: Carmen Murach/Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo



Zoo Miami Welcomes 45th Zoo-Born Giraffe!


Last month, Zoo Miami welcomed it's 45th giraffe birth! Born March 12th to mother Mia, the calf underwent neonatal tests in order to determine whether it's a girl or a boy, receive vaccinations, and generally assure that its health is good. The calf passed with flying colors and was given a clean bill of health. At 6 feet tall and nearly 150 pounds, this "little" girl is 5-year-old mom Mia's second offspring.




 Photo credits: Ron Magill / Miami Zoo

Clouded Leopard Cubs at One Month


Three weeks ago we brought you photos and video of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's beautiful Clouded Leopard cubs at just one week old. Time to check back in. On April 6, the cubs celebrated their one month birthday. Just three zoos breed Clouded Leopards in North America and this is Point Defiance's second litter for mom Chai Li and dad Nah Fun. See the whole photo set on the Point Defiance Zoo's Facebook page

Native to Southeast Asia, the Clouded Leopard is a skilled climber that can walk headfirst down a tree trunk or climb upside down along the underside of a branch. Reaching up to 50 lbs., Clouded Leopards are under increasing pressure in the wild as a substitute for tiger in traditional medicines.






Photo credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Twin Sumatran Tiger Cubs for San Diego Zoo Safari Park


These two Sumatran Tiger cubs were recently born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is the 24th and 25th births of this critically endangered species for the Zoo. 

The cubs are still too small to leave their den and are being attentively raised by their experienced mother, Delta. On Thursday, keepers gave Mom a short break to stretch her legs and get a little sun while they took the opportunity to socialize with the cubs as shown in the video below. The 10- and 11-pound cubs are being desensitized to human touch in anticipation of vaccines and other necessary veterinary care.They are only just beginning to move around the den on their own paws. Keepers expect them to be more agile and ready to explore the outdoors in July.

Only about 400 Sumatran tigers are left worldwide. They're the smallest of the tiger species, but once grown, males can weigh up to 220 lbs. The San Diego Zoo is home to six Sumatran tigers and is fund-raising to build a new, forested tiger haven that will offer up-close views and highlight conservation efforts


Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo


Smithsonian National Zoo Welcomes a Baby Black Howler Monkey


The Smithsonian’s National Zoo's Small Mammal House celebrated the birth of a Black Howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) on March 22. Since then, keepers have been monitoring the family at a distance, allowing mom Chula along with the father, Pele, to bond with their baby. They've proven to be excellent first-time parents. The baby seems bright, alert, and increases its activity and independence day by day. This is the first surviving howler monkey in the Zoo’s history of exhibiting the animal. Its gender has not yet been determined. 

Why are they called howlers? Their thick necks house a unique voice box, including an enlarged hyoid bone, that enables male howler monkeys to penetrate three miles of dense forest with a single rumbling growl. These booming territorial calls have earned the primates, which are native to Central and South America, the title of loudest animal in the New World (North, Central and South America). The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the black howler monkey as least concern.







Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2, 3, 5, 6: Janice Sveda / Photos 4,7: Clyde Nishumura

Georgia Aquarium Welcomes First South African Penguin Chicks

CU 7 days

Yesterday, Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium announced the birth of two South African Penguin chicks. The young sea birds, whose genders are unknown at this time, hatched within two weeks of each other in early January and have been hand-reared behind-the-scenes by Aquarium animal training and veterinary staff members.

The chicks have gone through considerable changes in a short amount of time. They are currently fledging -- a process during which they lose the fluffy down feathers they were born with and begin growing juvenile plumage (the pictures below show their progress). After becoming fully fledged, the chicks will be “waterproof.” Then the animal care and training team will begin introducing them to water so they can learn to swim in a special pool away from the colony. Once they are strong swimmers, the team will gradually introduce the chicks to the penguin colony and their habitat though they will continue to be hand-raised behind-the-scenes. 

South African Penguins are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. These chicks will serve as animal ambassadors in the Aquarium’s outreach programs, helping to raise awareness and educate guests about threats penguins face in the wild.




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Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium

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Two Boys and a Girl! It's River Otter Babies for Oakland Zoo

Smile on scale

Three baby River Otters - two males and one female - were born in the afternoon at California's Oakland Zoo on February 18 to mom Ginger. Each weighed approximately 5.3 oz (150 gms) at birth. The pups are nursing, starting to open their eyes and growing each day. Within a few weeks they will begin eating fish and meat. Keepers say the babies are very vocal, especially the female. 

"It is very important for baby otters to learn appropriate social behavior from their mothers, so we are happy that Ginger has been such a great mom and is raising such well-adjusted pups," said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager. 

The baby otters will not go out on exhibit until May as they need to reach a certain size and learn how to swim (it's not instinctual) before leaving the night house. 

CU pup

Pup trio


Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo