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March 2013

Miniature Muntjac Born in the Netherlands

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Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands has been keeping mighty busy lately. In addition to their hundredth year anniversary, which they celebrated just yesterday on March 30th, and the three Warthogs born last month that we reported on HERE just last week, they have just announced the recent birth of a tiny Muntjac.

Muntjacs are known to be the oldest species of deer. There is evidence of their existence dating back between 15 and 35 million years from fossils that have been discovered in modern France, Germany and Poland. Today, Muntjacs are native to Southeast Asia. Interestingly, in the early part of the twentieth century, a group of Muntjacs escaped from Woburn Safari Park in England and the species was able to survive and thrive in this European environment. Today, a large and sustainable population of Muntjacs descended from these escapees exist in England. It is though that they will soon become the most numerous deer species in the nation. 

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Photo credit: Burgers' Zoo

Wild Spoonbills Nest at Lowry Park Zoo

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There's a nest with four Roseate Spoonbill chicks at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, but these guys aren't 'on the inventory', so to speak: a pair of wild Spoonbills chose to nest right outside of the zoo's Spoonbill exhibit!

Born earlier this month, all four chicks have survived and are growing fast. At just six weeks old, the chicks will fledge and leave the nest. But for now, they're still losing their fuzzy down and starting to show their first flight feathers. Developing flight feathers are at first surrounded by a protective sheath made of keratin, which the bird eventually removes by preening, allowing the feather to continue its development. In the photos below, these new pinfeathers look a bit like plastic straws. 

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Photo credits: Lowry Park Zoo

See and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Wild Spoonbills Nest at Lowry Park Zoo" »

Rare Rothschild's Giraffe Born at Chester Zoo


Keepers and conservationists at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare Rothschild's Giraffe calf - the world’s most endangered subspecies of Giraffe.  The female calf was born on March 25 to first-time mother Orla after a 14 ½ month pregnancy.  Rothschild’s Giraffes are distinguished by broader dividing white lines and have no spots below the knees.

Despite being just a few days old, the six-foot-tall youngster, named Millie, is already towering over zoo keepers.



Photo Credits:  Chester Zoo

“For a first time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far.  Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after,” said Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals Tim Rowlands.  “Rothschild's Giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programs in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”

According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild's Giraffes left in the wild, with the population declining by more than 80% in the last ten years.  Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s Giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.  These elegant mammals are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Chester Zoo supports important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild's Giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.

See more photos of Millie below the fold.

Continue reading "Rare Rothschild's Giraffe Born at Chester Zoo" »

UPDATE: Sacramento Zoo’s Sumatran Tiger Cub Growing Strong


The Sumatran Tiger cub born on March 3 at the Sacramento Zoo is meeting important developmental milestones as he grows bigger and stronger each day.  With fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers in the wild and only 200 in zoos, this little cub represents hope for this critically endangered species.

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Photo Credits:  Sacramento Zoo


You first met this cub on ZooBorns a few weeks ago.  Born to mom Bahagia, the cub has been named after his dad Castro but he’s already been nicknamed CJ, for Castro Jr.  Castro (the father) was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer, in early February. 

CJ’s eyes are now open and he is learning to walk, though you’ll see in the video that he prefers to scoot on all four legs.   A veterinary exam on March 22 revealed that CJ weighed nearly eight pounds, had no teeth yet, and was 53 cm from neck to tail. 

Bahagia and CJ spend most of the day inside the nest box, emerging only for short periods each day, which is typical for Tigers in the wild and in zoos.  Zoo keepers expect mom and cub to remain behind the scenes until sometime in May or June.

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered and found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity, and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.

See more photos of CJ below the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Sacramento Zoo’s Sumatran Tiger Cub Growing Strong" »

(UPDATE!) National Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs Grow Up and Chow Down


The Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., Feb. 6, are healthy and growing. At nearly two months old, they just received their first vaccinations. As they have grown, their diet has changed to match their appetites and nutritional needs. When the cubs were first born they were bottle-fed by keepers every couple of hours, but they recently graduated from bottle-only feedings. In addition to fewer bottle feedings, they receive four feedings of chopped and cooked chicken meat mixed with a small feline diet. The male cub weighs almost three and a half pounds and his female sibling just over two and a half pounds. The cubs will remain at SCBI until they are three and a half months old. They will then move to other zoos for eventual breeding as recommended by the Species Survival Plan. Listed as vulnerable to extinction in the wild, SCBI has successfully bred more than 70 clouded leopards over the past 30 years and is a leader in conservation science initiatives to save the species.




Photo credits: Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

See many more pictures beneath the fold...

Continue reading "(UPDATE!) National Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs Grow Up and Chow Down " »

Alaska SeaLife Center Rehabs Baby Otter For New Home at Vancouver Aquarium

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This orphaned female Sea Otter pup was rescued off the side of a road by Alaska SeaLife Center volunteers on October 19, 2012, after efforts to locate her mother were unsuccessful and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized the intervention.The pup was immediately transferred to its I.Sea.U. critical care unit in Seward, Alaska for emergency treatment. She was estimated to be approximately eight weeks old when found, and was deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the maternal care required by young otters.

She has just been transferred from the Alaska SeaLife Center to its new permanent home at the Vancouver Aquarium, which will allow the pup to receive the ongoing care and companionship she needs. Described as playful, and sometimes mischievous, she has adjusted well and soon will be introduced to Tanu and Elfin -- two Sea Otters who were also found stranded as pups and rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center in years past.


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Photo Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center

Local students from the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Ocean Sciences Club provided three possible Alaskan names for the baby Otter: Susitna, Katmaiand Glacier. The final choice will be made through a voting contest held by the Vancouver Aquarium. 

Learn more of this story of teamwork below the fold:

Continue reading "Alaska SeaLife Center Rehabs Baby Otter For New Home at Vancouver Aquarium" »

Three Little Pigs Born in the Netherlands

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On February 27th, three little Warthogs were born at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands. The triplets are sure to be in good care with their mother, who has already successfully raised fifteen piglets before this latest liter. On March 21st the piglets were examined by veterinarians, given transponders, and sexed. It was determined that the zoo had received one male and two females. This news excited those working at the zoo as the females represent only the third and forth females of this mother's eighteen total offspring.  

The latest birth brings the zoo's Warthog total up to eight. In addition to the parents of the most recent piglets, the zoo is home to three previous offspring of this breeding pair. This includes a male born in 2010 at the zoo, and a male and female born there just last year. The mother and her three piglets are currently separated from the adult male and their three previous offspring. The zoo typically keeps the young separated with their mother for about eight weeks before they are introduced to their father and the rest of their family. This mimics the time a litter would spend in a burrow with their mother following a birth in the wild.

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Photo credits: Theo Kruse / Burgers' Zoo

This piglets were born after a gestation period of approximately 155 days. They represent a very typical litter size, though litters can range anywhere between one and seven offspring. Though they were quite small when first born, the males will weigh upwards of 200 pounds when full grown, with the female reaching anywhere between 100 and 150 pounds.

Baby Red Panda Hand-Reared at Mogo Zoo

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Following an uncertain start to life, Chai, a Red Panda cub born at Mogo Zoo on the South Coast of New South Wales, will be making her first public debut. Born on December 3rd, the baby was  rejected by mom at just six days old. It was necessary for the Zoo’s veterinarian, Dr Sam Young, to intervene and hand-raise the cub. 

Since then, Chai has been bottle-fed a special milk formula and has only recently been introduced to bamboo and fresh fig. The energetic youngster now weighs a healthy 2.8 kilograms and is proving a handful for Dr Young  and the Zoo’s keepers. Chai’s abundant energy is harnessed as she often wrestles her stuffed toys and balls, and on occasion has been known to cheekily bite her keepers. Dr Young commented, “It’s been a great pleasure and challenge caring for Chai and watching her develop and grow. We’ve become very fond of her mischievous nature and look forward to seeing her interact with the public for the first time”.

The Red Panda is listed as a vulnerable species as its population has dwindled to fewer than 10,000 individuals, with a declining trend of greater than 10% over the next three future generations. Habitat destruction is the greatest threat faced by Red Pandas today, who, in the wild, are found in Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal. In eastern Nepal, six land management practices are collectively threatening the survival of this species: demand for firewood; grazing; hunting; cash cropping; timber and the medicinal plant trade.

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Photo Credit: June Andersen, Mogo Zoo

Learn more and see more Panda pictures after the jump:

Continue reading "Baby Red Panda Hand-Reared at Mogo Zoo" »

Meet Chester Zoo's Brow Antlered Deer Fawn!

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Chester Zoo recently welcomed a Brow Antlered Deer fawn named Zeyar, which means "success" in Burmese. Unfortunately the mother rejected her calf, but Zeyar is flourishing under the care of her surrrogate deer-mother Hellen Massey (shown in photos with the fawn at sixteen days old). Born a tiny 3.7 kilograms, Zeyar gets bottle-fed four times a day and is growing in leaps and bounds. Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK breeding this endangered species, making Zeyar a great success story for deer conservation.

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Photo credits: Chester Zoo

Zeyar belongs to a subspecies of Brow Antlered Deer native to Burma, where they live in grassy plains, swamps and deciduous forests. Brow Antlered Deer are also known as Eld's Deer or Thamin. The most serious threat to the species is poaching for bushmeat, traditional medicines and trophy antlers.

First C-Section Delivery of a Hyena Pup In Australia's History

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Monarto Zoo's Spotted Hyena Mom Kigali and her daughter Forest both gave birth recently to healthy cubs. They are the only female Spotted Hyena in Australia. Kigali is the dominant female of the clan. Her cub, named Pinduli, was born back on June 12, shortly after 2:00 a.m.. She had him in a den on exhibit which meant no one had the opportunity to see him for around four months.  Keepers monitored Mom and baby via cameras set up in the den prior to the birth. Thanks to that,  you can watch Kigali giving birth on a video below his pictures.

Keepers chose the name Pinduli as it means 'brings a change of direction'.  This was fitting as he was the first cub to be born on exhibit with the clan. While keepers suspected Pinduli was male they had to wait until his six-month health check to confirm it, via a DNA sample. Pinduli has just made his public debut!

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Photo Credit: Pinduli photos by David Mattner for Monarto Zoo

The second cub came into the world by the first ever Hyena caesarean performed in Australia on Kingali's daughter Forest. Hyena births are particularly complex, with first-time moms such as Forest having only a 20% chance of a successful outcome due to a quirk in their anatomy. Veterinarian Dr Jerome Kalvas said that with this in mind, when they saw no progress being made three hours into Forest's labor, it was clearly time to intervene.

“While the anesthetic and surgery went smoothly the cub was initially not breathing after delivery. We administered a respiratory stimulant and our veterinary nurses vigorously rubbed the cub until a small squeal and a strengthening heartbeat told us we were out of the woods,” Dr Kalvas said. “Then when the cub gave one of the vet nurses a little nip - Spotted Hyena cubs are born with a full set of teeth and open their eyes shortly after birth – we knew things were looking good!"




Forest and cub
Photo Credit: Forest and baby by Claire Geister

See more pictures of both cubs and learn the rest of the story below the fold:

Continue reading "First C-Section Delivery of a Hyena Pup In Australia's History" »