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May 2013

From Tadpole to Froglet: An Amazing Transformation

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage1

On March 12, an amazing transformation took place at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo:  a Milky Tree Frog tadpole became a froglet, one more important stage on its journey to becoming an adult Frog.  The metamorphosis from tadpole to juvenile took about three weeks to complete.

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage2

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage1

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage2
Photo Credit:  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Milky Tree Frogs are also known as Amazon Milk Frogs, Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frogs or Blue Milk Frogs.  They inhabit tropical rain forests in the Amazon basin, and dwell entirely in the forest canopy.  This is not all that unusual, except most Tree Frogs are rather small.  The Milky Tree Frog, however, grows up to four inches (10 cm) long – big enough to dine on pinky mice at the zoo.

The “milk” in this Frog’s name comes from the poisonous, milk-colored fluid they secrete when stressed. The photos above show the froglet (top two photos) and adult (bottom two photos).

Rare Albino Wallaby Joey Grows Up at Linton Zoo

Albino Red Necked Wallaby born to mum Kylie Linton Zoo (2) 26.02.13

When keepers at the United Kingdom’s Linton Zoo first saw the oddly-colored joey peeking out of Red-necked Wallaby Kylie’s pouch on February 8, they affectionately named it ALF (Alien Life Form).  But as the pale-colored joey grew, they realized its dramatic white coloring was truly stunning!  These photos show the joey’s progression from pouch-dweller to snow-white juvenile. Though the joey is now half-grown, it still tries to squeeze into its mother's pouch for a little TLC.

Albino Red Necked wallaby 18.05.19 (1)

Albino Red Necked Wallaby joey with mum Kylie 10.05.13 (8)
Albino Red Necked Wallaby joey with mum Kylie 10.05.13 (5)
Photo Credit:  Linton Zoo


Albino animals (including humans) lack pigment for coloring, which means the joey has pink eyes and white fur. Red-necked Wallabies are usually grey-brown in color, but on rare occasions, a white or albino is born, even after generations of normal-colored individuals. The Linton Zoo staff believes their Wallaby mob is descended from the group of Wallabies given as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II while she was on a state visit to Australia in 1962. This joey is the first albino Wallaby to be born at the Linton Zoo.

See more photos of the albino Wallaby joey below the fold.

Continue reading "Rare Albino Wallaby Joey Grows Up at Linton Zoo" »

Prague Zoo is the First to Hatch Rare Turtles


Eleven tiny Brown Roofed Turtles hatched at the Czech Republic's Prague Zoo this month, the first of the species to hatch in any zoo in the world. 



Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha

Brown Roofed Turtles are native to South Asia, including Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Many Turtle species in this region of the world are in decline.  They are often collected illegally for the pet trade and for use in traditional Asian medicine.  The Turtles' shells are ground up, mixed with herbs, and marketed as remedies for a wide variety of ailments, but there is scant evidence that these potions are effective.

Five Playful Coatis for Taipei Zoo


Five lively South American Coati babies are keeping their mother busy at the Taipei Zoo.  Born on March 23, the babies progressed in their development quickly, opening their eyes at five days and standing at 12 days. 



Photo Credit:  Taipei Zoo

The babies now follow their mother everywhere in the exhibit, stopping to explore and investigate along the way.  They’ve recently learned to jump, and will use their mother’s back as a springboard to reach tree trunks. 

Coatis are expert climbers and diggers.  They rummage for food in the leaf litter of the tropical forests of South America.  Fruits, insects, and lizards are preferred food items, but as omnivores, Coatis will eat a wide variety of foods. 

Not enough is known about the wild population of Coatis to understand their conservation status.  Like many mammals, they face pressures from unregulated hunting and habitat loss.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis (The Baby Wombat) Has Entered The Building


At family-run Wild About Wildlife Rescue Center in Kilmore, Victoria, marsupials are regulars.  Earlier in May, when a member of the public brought in a tiny wombat whose mother had been hit by a car, the Milligan family knew just how to nurse the little marsupial back to health.

Thanks to warm blankets and frequent bottle-feedings, the baby, named Elvis, is doing very well under their care. Elvis arrived weighing a tiny 220 grams but has grown to weigh 600 grams.  A baby marsupial is entirely dependent on its mother.  Born tiny, naked and undeveloped, the baby crawls into its mother's pouch where it nurses and continues to grow.  Wombats stay inside their mother's pouch for five months, and become independent at about seven months.




Photo credits: Wild About Wildlife

Learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis (The Baby Wombat) Has Entered The Building" »

Endangered Tiger Cub Trio Born at Busch Gardens Tampa

Tigers CU

Three endangered Malayan Tiger cubs were born at Busch Gardens Tampa on March 31. The litter consists of two males and one female, each weighing between six and seven pounds. They are currently being monitored around the clock by the park’s animal care team. These newborn cubs will add to the genetic diversity of the Malayan Tiger population and contribute to conservation efforts for the species. Malayan Tigers are Critically Endangered. Scientists estimate that only 500 remain in the wild. 

Malayan Tiger cub births in managed care are rare – just one successful birth in 2012 as part of the SSP. These are the first born at Busch Gardens Tampa and the first offspring for both the mother Bzui and father Mata. The cubs, along with their parents, are currently behind the scenes and are being monitored around the clock by the park’s animal care team.

Tiger nurse

Tiger play
Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

The births are part of park’s partnership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. There are currently just over 50 Malayan Tigers in the Species Survival Plan.

Read much more about the cubs after the fold:

Continue reading "Endangered Tiger Cub Trio Born at Busch Gardens Tampa " »

White Rhino Calf is a Precious Surprise for Taronga Western Plains Zoo

White Rhino Calf_15.5.13_credit Leonie Saville_thumb for online

A year ago, staff at Taronga Western Plains Zoo grieved for the loss of four White Rhinos that had contracted an illness. But this year on May 14th, staff arrived to find a wonderful early morning surprise. Mopani, the only female White Rhino to survive the illness, had given birth to a little male. Only hours old, the calf was still a bit wobbly on his feet as the news spread around the zoo.

“Mopani is an amazing animal, having actually contracted the illness last year whilst carrying her calf. To come through that and give birth to this healthy calf is just remarkable,” said Senior White Rhino Keeper, Pascale Benoit. “Everyone is just over the moon with the arrival of the White Rhino calf."

Mopani, a gentle and caring first-time mother, is doing her job well. The calf will nurse from his mother for two years until he is weaned. While the male rhinos do not take part in raising the young, the father Umfana also deserves congratulations, as this is his third calf and second male.

White Rhino Calf_15.5.13_credit Leonie Saville (1)

White Rhino Calf_15.5.13_credit Leonie Saville (4)

White Rhino Calf_15.5.13_credit Leonie Saville (5)

White Rhino Calf_15.5.13_credit Leonie Saville (3)
Photo credits: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

See a video the little male calf and his mother: 

See and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "White Rhino Calf is a Precious Surprise for Taronga Western Plains Zoo" »

Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Pair Hand Reared at Mesker Park Zoo

Wolf 7 days old FB2

A litter of Mexican Gray Wolves, the most Endangered wolf species in the world, came to the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden -- and not by conventional means. They arrived on a LightHawk* flight at Tri-State Aero, Inc. and were immediately given into the care of zoo staff. The pups are doing well.

Born on May 8 at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, the pups were pulled within hours of their birth with the goal of being in the care of the Mesker Park Zoo within 24 hours. There they have experienced Wolf parents standing by. The plan is for the pups to be partially hand reared and then, within a few months, be fostered by the resident Wolf parents. This is considered their best chance for surviving and contributing to the genetics of this Endangered species.

Wolf nurse front crop

Wolf pup 7 days hold crop
Photo Credit: Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden

Although their genetically important birth mother was successful with one litter in her lifetime, her other litters have been totally lost or large portions of her litters lost within the first few weeks of life. The reasons behind these deaths are not known, so the arriving litter is considered fragile by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Mesker staff. The decision was made to pull any pups she produced this year and foster them via an experienced pair was reached in July by the USFWS and the Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan in consultation with Dr. Susan Lyndaker Lindsey, Animal Curator at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden and Behavioral and Husbandry Advisor to the USFWS Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program and the Species Survival Plan.

Read more after the fold:

Wolf nurse 2

Wold nurse 3

Wolf 1.5 days crop

Dr. Lindsey has previous experience rearing wolf pup litters that are not socialized to humans and fostering them to adult wolves to form packs.

Selection of the initial wolf parents for Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden was based upon the need for an experienced pair of wolves and the unique conservation contribution that Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden could offer to the future of this critically Endangered wolf. The male Wolf, Nagual, was born on May 4, 2005 at Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in MO. On May 22, 2009, he was transferred to a USFWS Sevilleta Wolf Management Center, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, NM. Dr. Lindsey fostered two orphan wild born pups to this male later that year. The female was born on April 22, 2007 at the California Wolf Center near Julian, CA. She was transferred to the USFWS Sevilleta Wolf Management Center, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, NM on Nov. 23, 2009 and later placed with Nagual.

This pair had pups in 2010 and 2011 and raised them all successfully in a large pack. They have proven to be excellent parents.

There are only approximately 300 Mexican Gray Wolves in captivity and 60 to 70 in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. These wolves have also been recently released in Mexico. 

*LightHawk provides donated flights for conservation related organizations and others working on natural resource issues. All flights are arranged through the generosity of LightHawk volunteer pilots. For more information about this nonprofit and unique group of conservationists visit:

Pittsburgh Zoo's Amur Tiger Cub Gets His First Check-Up


The Pittsburgh Zoo's Amur Tiger cub, born on Easter, recently recieved his first vet check-up. Weighing in at just over 9 pounds, the cub is still too small to venture outside his den. For now, the cub can be seen on a video monitor. The cub is doing very well and has recieved his first round of vaccinations.

Photo Credits: Paul Selvaggio

See the video of the cub's first vet check-up:

It's Two More Baby Clouded Leopards for Nashville Zoo

Cloud pile Amiee Stubbs

Just six weeks after the birth of a trio of Clouded Leopard cubs reported HERE on ZooBorns, the Nashville Zoo proudly announced that another two cubs were born on April 30! The babies are doing well and are being hand raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff. 

“Since 2009, 20 Leopards have been born at Nashville Zoo, and in the last year alone, Nashville Zoo welcomed the births of more Clouded Leopards than at all the world’s zoos combined,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo President. “We are proud to be on the forefront of Clouded Leopard conservation.”

Due to deforestation, pet trade and poaching, Clouded Leopards are considered endangered in their native range of Southeast Asia and China, and recently listed as extinct in Taiwan. For the past 11 years, Nashville Zoo has been a member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, a multi-faceted clouded leopard conservation program with the National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, Clouded Leopard Species Survival Program and Zoological Park Organization in Thailand. 

Cloud solo Aimee Stubbs

Cloud pose AmieeStubbs

Cloud 4AmieeStubbs_0947
Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs

The breeding parents to these recent cubs are Lom Choy and Luk. Introducing Clouded Leopards to potential mates is difficult due to the cat’s reclusive disposition. Males are often aggressive and have been known to attack and kill potential female partners. To reduce fatal attacks, cubs are hand-raised and introduced to mates at a young age.