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October 2012
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December 2012

November 2012

Three Koala Joeys for Taipei Zoo

Closeup 1koala joey mother empress father flynn b nov 29 2011

A trio of Koala joeys is making headlines at the Taipei Zoo.  The three joeys were born nearly a year ago, but are only now spending most of their time outside of their mothers’ pouches.  Like all marsupials, Koalas are only the size of a jellybean at birth and develop in the pouch.

It is unusual for a zoo to have three Koala joeys at once, but the zoo’s group of eight Koalas resulted in three pairings.  Female Koala Empress paired with male Flynn; female Tiwi paired with Q-be; and Coral selected Q-di as her mate.

6Koala Taipei mother tiwi father Q-be b jan 15 2012

4koala taipei empress2

5koala taipei mother coral father Q-di b feb 15 2012

2koala taipei coral

3koala taipei empress

Zoo officials began seeing the joeys peek out of their mothers’ pouches in July, but those appearances were brief and sporadic.  As the joeys have grown, their explorations out of the pouch have grown more frequent.

Newborn joeys nurse in the pouch for several months.  When the joey is about five months old and is being weaned, the mother will pass on the bacteria needed to digest eucalyptus leaves when it grows up.  Koalas feed exclusively these low-protein, hard-to-digest leaves.  To facilitate digestion, Koalas spend much of the day resting – up to 18 hours per day.

Koalas are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and are protected under Australian law.  Recent clearing of bushland for development has caused a sharp decline in the wild Koala population.

Photo Credit:  Taipei Zoo

Take a peek at Prague Zoo's baby Tapir!


The Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo celebrated the birth of a Malayan Tapir on November 6.  Born to mother Ivana, the male baby is only the second Tapir ever born in the history of the zoo.

The baby’s birth lasted only 30 minutes, and the calf was immediately “alive and kicking,” according to staff reports.  For now, the calf prefers to stay close to Ivana in the zoo’s exhibit.




All Malayan Tapir calves are born with a dappled brown and white coat, which offers excellent camouflage in its native southeast Asian rain forest.  By the time the baby is about six months old, it will develop the solid black and white coloration of the adults. 

Malayan Tapirs are endangered.  Once found throughout the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, their range has been drastically fragmented in recent years due to deforestation, damming of rivers, and illegal trade. 

Photo Credit:  Prague Zoo

Tentacled Snake babies a surprise for National Zoo's staff


The newest additions to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo were a surprise even to the keepers: eight Tentacled Snakes were born October 21 to parents that have not produced viable young in the past four years, despite breeding attempts. Tentacled Snakes are aquatic, produce live young and are ambush hunters. They use their tails to anchor themselves and wait underwater for their prey. They get their name from the unique tentacles that protrude from their snout and function as sensory mechanisms that allow the reptiles to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by.




“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” said Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper. “Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we’re already learning so much just watching them grow.”

Tentacled Snakes are native to the mangrove swamps of southeast Asia.  They can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes.  Known as rear-fanged snakes, their venomous fangs are located in the back of the mouth.  They are not considered dangerous to humans. 

The zoo’s four adult snakes are on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center, while the eight young snakes will likely be sent to other zoos when they get older. Only a few zoos exhibit this species, which is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Photo Credit: Brittany Steff, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Dolphin Calf Makes Waves at SeaWorld San Diego


An Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin calf is making waves at SeaWorld San Diego.  After a 12-month gestation period, the calf was born to a 29-year-old Dolphin named Cascade on November 5 in a behind-the-scenes pool at the marine-life park.  Trainers and veterinarians at SeaWorld report that the mother and baby are in good health and are swimming together and bonding. This birth marks Cascade’s fifth calf born at SeaWorld San Diego. 




Trainers monitor the mother and baby round-the-clock documenting respirations and nursing frequency.  The gender of the calf will be determined in the coming weeks.  The calf is estimated to weigh approximately 30 pounds.

Bottlenose Dolphins are mammals, so they give birth to live young. Mother Dolphins nurse their young with milk.  Dolphin populations are widespread, occuring throughout most of the world's temperate and tropical oceans.  At this time, most populations are stable, so Dolphins are not endangered.

Photo Credits:  SeaWorld San Diego

Help Name This Baby Sloth!


The National Aquarium in Baltimore's baby Sloth is ready for a name! Following two weeks of accepting name suggestions from the public as part of a baby sloth naming contest, the aquarium is excited to announce the following four names for final consideration:

  • Iris – In honor of the beautiful flower
  • Camden – In honor of the city it was born in, Baltimore, and the winning baseball season
  • Waylay – Meaning surprise, like the baby was for Ivy
  • Izzy – Submitted by a teacher on behalf of a Frederick County Public Schools class that selected the name
  • Luna – Meaning moon in Spanish

Please take this opportunity to vote here for your favorite name of the five listed above. Voting will run through November 15 and the final name will be announced on Friday, November 16th.





Photo credit: Jessica Nelson, National Aquarium

The baby, and mother Ivy, have been doing well since keepers first discovered the young Sloth in late August. Here are some details about baby and Ivy to inspire your votes:

  • Linne's Two-toed Sloths are native to South America and can be found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil (north of the Amazon River)
  • Sloths spend their entire lives in the trees and are nocturnal by nature
  • This baby is Ivy's first and the third born at the National Aquarium

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey out and about at Brookfield Zoo


Some guests to Brookfield Zoo may not know what a Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is since there are only 10 in four North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). But if they visit Brookfield Zoo’s Australia House, they will get to see several of these marsupials, including a female joey that was born February 18, 2012.

The not-yet-named joey is the fourth offspring of 12-year-old Kambora, who was born at San Diego Zoo, and the second for Wilbur, 20, who was wild-born in Australia. Although the joey was born more than eight months ago, it wasn’t until mid-September that zookeepers were able to get a good look at the youngster because, like all marsupials, Wombat joeys develop in a pouch.

Immediately after birth, the tiny joey which was about the size of a bumblebee—crawled into Kambora’s pouch, where she has been sleeping and nursing to get all the necessary nutrients she needs to fully develop. Now predominantly out of her mom’s pouch, the inquisitive joey has been exploring her new surroundings.


Photo credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

Last month, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, held the first North American international symposium on Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats. During the three-day meeting, representatives for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and from Australia shared information on care, husbandry, conservation, and management of the species. Participants discussed local and regional Wombat conservation issues in Australia, as well as the importation process that has been established with the Australian government. This past summer marked a significant milestone for the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat program in the United States in that it was the first importation of this species in several decades.

More pics below the fold!

Continue reading "Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey out and about at Brookfield Zoo" »

Indian Rhinoceros Born: It's A Girl!


In the wee hours of November 3rd, a bouncing bundle of joy was delivered at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Indian Rhino Mom "Namaste" gave birth to a happy, healthy female calf. The yet-to-be named baby Rhino was walking and drinking milk within 30 minutes of her birth. Namaste is an experienced mom and has given birth to 5 babies so far. Indian Rhinoceroses are threatened by illegal poaching. Today they can only be found in some nature reserves in Northern India and Nepal.




Photo credit: Shirley Kroos (1-3) Rob Doorland (4)

Three Little Devils Are Hopeful Sign!


The Alma Park Zoo's baby Tasmanian Devils (Imps) are starting to make themselves known as they begin to venture out of the den with their mom, Lilith. All three are girls and what is even more remarkable is the fact they are all completely black. Devils usually have a white band across their chest or white across their rump, but not these girls. To have one completely black would be rare, to have three is quite exceptional.

These little imps are also significant as they are the great grand devils (children) of individuals with Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) - but are of course disease free themselves. This means that they are unrelated to all other devils on the mainland and so play a vital role in the genetic diversity of the captive devil population.




Photo credit: Alma Park Zoo

The iconic Tasmanian Devil is at serious risk of extinction from the highly contagious Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) and wild populations are disappearing fast.

In a bid to prevent extinction, Devils must be captive bred in facilities well away from the disease – these include mainland Australian zoos, and the unique Devil Ark, which consists of large free ranging natural enclosures.

Baby Gorilla is showered with gifts at Little Rock Zoo


Adelina, a baby Western Lowland Gorilla born on August 19, has her own Facebook page and devoted fans who gave her a baby shower when she was just a few weeks old.  Why all the fuss?  Adelina is only the second baby Gorilla ever born at the Little Rock Zoo.






Sekani, Adelina’s 21-year-old mother, is demonstrating excellent care for her baby, according to the zoo staff.  The father, 26-year-old Fossey, was recommended to breed with Sekani by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) a breeding and conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which accredits North American zoos.

Sekani was registered for her baby shower at a local retailer.  Soft receiving blankets topped her list, along with safe and colorful infant toys.  In the photos, you can see Sekani studying the cards she received at the shower.  Like most youngsters, Adelina appeared to enjoy the wrapping paper more than the gifts themselves. 

At 11 weeks old, Adelina is growing normally and appears strong, alert, and healthy.   Fans can watch Adelina' progress via weekly updates posted on her Facebook page.

Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered in their native central African home, due to illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat.

Photo Credits:  Little Rock Zoo

Twycross Welcomes a Tapir Toddler

Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 1

On Friday, October 19th the Twycross Zoo welcomed a female Brazilian Tapir calf to Muffin (mom) and Pele (dad). The healthy calf has been suckling well and exhibiting bursts of exuberance, romping around her enclosure and then retreating to the indoor area for a snooze.

Tapirs give birth to a single youngster after a gestation period of about 13 months. The baby has a striped and spotted coat which she will lose as she grows older. Brazilian Tapirs are found in lowland regions of northern and central South America and listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist. This young female Tapir born only a week ago at Twycross Zoo will play a very important role in the European Breeding Programme of this species.

Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 2

Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 3

Snouts up!

Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 4

Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 5Photo credits: Twycross Zoo