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April 2013

Nordens Ark Welcomes Three Amur Tiger Cubs


A litter of Amur Tiger cubs was born on April 12 at Sweden's Nordens Ark. The three cubs, two males and a female, were born to mother who is important to the European breeding program for this critically endangered species. For the next few weeks, the cubs will remain with Honan in the den. According to zoo keepers, Honan is a great mother and is very gentle with her cubs. The family will make a public debut early this summer.



Photo Credit:  Tom Svensson/Nordens Ark

Amur Tigers, also known as Siberian Tigers, are the largest of the six living Tiger subspecies, with males attaining a head and body length of well over six feet (200 cm) and a weight of more than 400 pounds (180 kg).  They inhabit remote mountain areas of the Russian Far East.  With fewer than 400 individuals and a breeding population of about 250 adults, Amur Tigers are classified as endangered, due primarily to poaching.  A number of international agreements to ban trade and enhance surveillance may be helping to stabilize the population, though low genetic diversity within the wild population may threaten the future of this species.

Thousands of Giant Pacific Octopus Eggs Hatch at Alaska SeaLife Center

ASLC_2013_Lulu Paralarvae 4

A wondrous spectacle of nature began unfolding on March 6 at the Alaska SeaLife Center: LuLu, a Giant Pacific Octopus, has been tenderly guarding her brood of eggs, which she began laying in March 2012. Now, over a year later, tiny hatchlings known as paralarvae have begun to emerge, and the baby Octopuses are captivating visitors and staff. 

LuLu laid eggs throughout the spring of 2012 after an encounter the previous fall with Felix, a male Giant Pacific Octopus. A female will lay up to 30,000 eggs only once in her lifetime, and she will brood and guard the eggs until they hatch. A male may mate with several females but will expire following this reproductive period. Lulu's lifespan will end when the last of her eggs hatch.

ASLC_2013_Lulu Paralarvae 2

ASLC_2013_Lulu Paralarvae

ASLC_2013_Lulu Paralarvae 3

Photo Credit:  Alaska SeaLife Center

"LuLu is not feeding at this time but continues to groom and fan the eggs as attentive Octopus mothers do in this final reproductive phase of their lives," said Richard Hocking, the Center’s aquarium curator. 

While other Octopus species are frequently raised from eggs in aquariums, that is not the case with the Giant Pacific Octopus. Only once, in the mid-1980s, has a Giant Pacific Octopus been successfully reared from egg to maturity in an aquarium. Giant Pacific Octopuses are difficult to rear due to the delicate nature of the newly-emerged paralarvae and their unique nutritional needs. To increase the odds of raising the hatchlings to adulthood, aquarium staff are harvesting both wild and cultured zooplankton to feed the paralarval Octopuses and have also constructed special rearing tanks.

In the wild, the tiny hatchlings, which are about the size of a grain of rice, swim toward the ocean surface and can spend several weeks or even months drifting in the plankton-rich water until they are large enough to hunt in the depths. Once they settle to the bottom, juveniles take refuge in crevices and under rocks, where they are protected from predators while they feed and mature. Octopuses eat crustaceans and mollusks along with other bivalves, snails, fish and smaller Octopuses.

As adults, Giant Pacific Octopuses live in the cold waters of the northern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Canada, Alaska, Japan, and Siberia at depths of over 200 feet (65 m).  Adults attain an arm span of up to 14 feet (4.3 m) and weigh about 33 pounds (15 kg).  They are considered the largest of all Octopus species.   Little is known about these animals in the wild, so they are not protected by international treaties.

Tired Tapir Calf Takes a Break at Artis Zoo


When Ydra, a female South American Tapir at the Netherlands’ Artis Zoo, was restless and refused her food last week, zoo keepers knew it wouldn’t be long before she delivered her calf.  Sure enough, on April 10, a male calf was born and Ydra licked him clean as he lay beside her on the straw.

Named Alexandro, the calf is the first offspring for Ydra and her mate Carlo.  Though Alexandro was delivered breech (feet first), he was healthy and strong. At just one week old, he moved into the zoo’s mixed-species exhibit with Llamas, Maras, Capybaras, and Giant Anteaters.



Photo Credit:  Artis Zoo

South American Tapirs, also known as Brazilian Tapirs, are native to Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Paraguay, where they feed on leaves and fruits in the Amazon rain forest.  The brown-and-white speckled coat of Tapir calves provides camouflage in the dense forest.  These Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Alexandro’s birth is a significant contribution to the European breeding program for this species.

See more photos of Alexandro below the fold.

Continue reading "Tired Tapir Calf Takes a Break at Artis Zoo" »

Critically Endangered Tiger Cub Born at Point Defiance

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This past Wednesday the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington welcomed a critically endangered Sumatran Tiger cub. Zoological staff are closely watching over mom Jaya and the 2.5-pound female cub. Both appear to be healthy and are resting behind the scenes.

It’s the third litter for 9-year-old Jaya. The father is Malosi, who came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium from Honolulu Zoo last year as part of an approved breeding program through the Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers.

Sumatran Tiger Cub Point Defiance Zoo 2a

Sumatran Tiger Cub Point Defiance Zoo 2

“We are elated with this birth,” Goodrowe Beck said. “Sumatran Tigers are highly endangered. There are only 74 in North American zoos and approximately 200 in zoos around the world. Only about 250 to 300 remain in their native habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.” Goodrowe Beck chairs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers.

Zoo deputy director John Houck celebrated the zoo’s leadership in the breeding program. “Today there is one more precious Sumatran Tiger in the world,” Houck said. “This is a confirmation of worldwide efforts to conserve this magnificent species.”

Jaya’s two sons, 3-year-old Bima and 8-month-old Dumai, are among the five Sumatran Tigers now at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The zoo also is home to Berani, an 8-month-old Malayan Tiger.

Tiger Mom, Jaya

Point Defiance Zoo Sumatran Tiger Mom JayaPhoto credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Lemur On White!


The Zoological and Botanical Park of Mulhouse is pleased to announce the birth of 'Dimbi' on the 8th of March. The male Blue-eyed Black Lemur baby is an ambassador for his critically endangered species. For the last 25 years, the park has worked to prevent the final extinction of this species. Less than 2000 individuals remain in the Madagascan wild. Special thanks to Life on White for these outstanding images.



Photo credits:

See many more pictures below the fold...

Continue reading "Lemur On White!" »

Lookit! Three Baby Lions at Barranquilla Zoo


On March 1, the Barranquilla Zoo's young Lioness gave birth to two females and one male -- an unprecedented event in the history of Big cats in the Zoo. 

The birth happened naturally and without complications, under the supervision of the medical team of Botany and Zoological Foundation Barranquilla. Each cub weighed approximately 1.98 pounds (900 grams) each. Being a mother for the second time showed in the confident maternal care that the lioness gave to her babies.  

The first to be born was a female, with the male coming twenty minutes later, followed by the other female.  Now, at a month old , the cubs weigh about 6 kilos. They are full of life, playing at attacking prey and mimicking the roars of their parents. They are still nursing, but mom is allowing them to try meat.

The parents have quite a love story. It seems they took to each other from the first meeting. During mating season, they mate once every 20 minutes for 5 days.  - their courtship gave way to this beautiful set of triplets. The father arrived on September 1, 2012, from the Royal Circus Humbar due to confiscation.. The lioness, who arrived in March 2009 from the Cali Zoo, had her first baby at the conservation center on August 28, 2011.


Photo Credit: Jorge Chavez

See all their pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "Lookit! Three Baby Lions at Barranquilla Zoo" »

Feisty Otter Pups Get Check-Up at Chester Zoo


Back on January 31st, Chester Zoo in the UK welcomed two new Asian Small-Clawed Otter pups to their family. For the past two months the otters have been exploring their exhibit with their mother Daisy and father Robbie.  Recently, the young otters finally got their first check up.

Veterinarians were able to sex both pups, a boy named Wallace and a girl named Dili. They also were able to weigh the little otters and ensure they are in good health. "Little otter Wallace weighed in at 730 grams and Dili was a little lighter than 680 grams. Both proved to be fairly feisty characters but they are extremely healthy indeed so we are very happy with them. As they continue to grow and become even more confident, we're looking forward to seeing them take to the water," said veterinarian Steve Unwin. "Zoos provide the last insurance policy against extinction and these new arrivals will hopefully now continue to develop and become a vital part of the international breeding program to safeguard the species," he continued.



Asian Small-Clawed Otters are native to Southeast Asian, India, Taiwan, Southern China and the Philippines. Their name comes from their very dexterous and agile front paws which act much like hands. These aide them in capturing and processing their diet of crabs, snails, insects and small fish.

Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins / Chester Zoo

Asian Small-Clawed Otters are the smallest of all otter species. They are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due diminishing populations numbers that are a result of habitat loss and overfishing of their prey among others. Because of this, Chester Zoo's otters are part of a European breeding program that aims to provide a safety-net to wild populations.

Baby Orangutan Thriving at Taipei Zoo at One Year Old

O face

Niu-li, a Bornean Orangutan, was born on April 11, 2012, at Taipei Zoo. She is named after her mother, Xiang-niu. Her father, Eddie, living in a nearby enclosure often peeks at his mate and daughter. Mom Xiang-niu was very loving, and held her baby quite tenderly. However, she was not producing enough milk, which had caused unsuccessful nursing in her previous two babies. So, after two days of observation, the keepers decided to it was necessary to hand-rear Niu-li,.

Female Orangutans invest a lot of time in their offspring, taking care of them until they reach adolescence at around 6 years of age. Although Orangutans are similar to human beings, nursing a 3 pound (1.42 kg) baby is still not an easy task. Keepers had to feed her five times a day, one of which had to happen before dawn. “Fortunately, Niu-li is a well-behaved baby. She drinks 65 c.c. of milk promptly every time,” said one of the zoo keepers.

The word “orangutan” comes from Malay language and means “person of the forest.” They are omnivorous, but primarily eat fruits, which make up more than 60% of their total dietary intake. They will migrate depending on fruit availability. 

O keeper nurse

O baby

O sleep

Photo Credit: Taipei Zoo

Here's a video showing the baby's pictures and near the end, her first attempts at climbing:

Read about Niu-li's progress, and see more of her pictures,  after the fold:

Continue reading "Baby Orangutan Thriving at Taipei Zoo at One Year Old" »

UPDATE! Vote to Name Jackson Zoo's Beaver Kits

Beaver 1

Jackson Zoo's three North American Beaver kits, born March 27th, will be named today! Jackson Zoo is hosting a naming contest. They're done taking name submissions, but if you want to vote for your three favorites, the poll is available today on the zoo's Facebook page

Read the first ZooBorns post about the beaver kits here

Beaver 2

Beaver 3

Photo credits: Jackson Zoo