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June 2013

Snow Leopard Cub and Mom Play at Dudley Zoological Gardens

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Introducing Dudley Zoological Gardens' newest arrival: an eight-week-old Snow Leopard cub! The cub is the first Snow Leopard to be born at the zoo in 12 years. The youngster, who was born on May 2, has been nicknamed Cub X by keepers until they confirm its sex. The baby made its public debut recently and delighted visitors with five-minute play-arounds with mom, Nanga, aged four. Dad is three-year-old Margaash. Assistant Curator Richard Brown said, "Nanga is a first-time mum so it's such a relief that they have bonded well. You can see the baby developing every day, it's wonderful to watch, and already it seems quite a feisty little cub."

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Photo credits: Tal Chohan / Dudley Zoo

Photographer Tal Choha said,  "The youngster's routine at the moment is to sleep for two hours, play for five minutes, sleep for two hours, then play for another five minutes, so I had to make sure I got there in time for those crucial five minutes!" Sneak a peek at the cub's playtime in the video below. (Spoiler: there's some tail-chasing action ahead!)


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A Wolf Pup for Zoo Zurich!

Wolf n mom

A Mongolian wolf pup was born April 25th, 2013, at Zoo Zurich in Switzerland. Zoo keepers had prepared a den (with a hidden camera) for the first time wolf mother, but she used it for only several days. She soon took her pup to different dens the wolves had burrowed themselves. According to keepers, the small female pup has an independent streak, preferring at times to wander around alone. As she grows older, she'll learn to adjust to life within the pack.

The mating season for wolves is approximately from December to January, starting when wolves reach maturity at two years of age. Gestation takes about 65 days and often produces 4-7 offspring in a litter. Wolves can live up to 20 years.

The Grey Wolf and its subspecies, such as this pup, once ranged over most of North America, Europe, and Asia, but have been pushed to the northern boundaries of most of these continents by habitat destruction and eradication efforts. These wolves share a common ancestry with domestic dogs and live in packs. Group life requires a versatile and precise language. Members of a Wolf pack communicate with visible signals such as ear position, baring teeth, fur bristling, and tail position. But there are also olfactory signals, such as urine or feces; audible signals, such as growling, whining, and howling; and tactile signals like snout poking. 

Wolf pup portrait

Wolf rest

WOlf bite
Photo and VIdeo Credit: Peter Bolliger/Zoo Zürich

Watch this video of the pup at play.

See more pictures of the pup after the fold

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Musk-Ox Calf is a First for Highland Wildlife Park


Highland Wildlife Park’s female Musk-ox, Karin, has given birth to the Zoo's first ever Musk-ox calf. Born on Wednesday, May 15th, little Belle has spent her first few weeks of life off-show with mom, but has now started to venture out into her outdoor enclosure.

Belle’s mother Karin was born in the Czech Republic in 2002 and came to the Park only 18 months ago in January 2012. Three-year-old father Myse arrived a few months later in May.



Photo credits: Alex Riddell

Belle is not only a little cutie, but this hooved newbie is also a significant step in the Musk-ox breeding program– she is the first Musk-ox to be born in the UK in 17 years, an important achievement for the Zoo’s expert animal husbandry team. 

Musk-oxen have an extremely thick coat which consists of two parts: long course outer hairs and a soft dense undercoat called qiviut (pronounced kiv-ee-ut). Qiviut wool is highly prized for its softness, length, and insulation; it is considered to be one of the lightest and warmest wools in the world.

Prematurely Born Giraffe Calf Getting Stronger at Zoo Brno

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This baby is a fighter! Born prematurely just over a week ago at Zoo Brno, this Reticulated Giraffe calf came into the world frail and weak. Though it began to suckle from its mother, it was not able to feed very well. It is vitally important that a calf get enough colostrum through the milk right away to develop its immune system. But under the constant supervision of its keepers and zoo veterinarians, the baby has gotten stronger, and the zoo can report the calf is slowly growing.

So much so, that Mom Tosha and the baby stepped out into the yard to get a healthy dose of sunshine in rear garden within the Giraffe yard!

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Photo Credit: ZooBrno

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males can average 19 feet (5.8 m) tall and weigh between 2,400 and 4,250 pounds (1,089-1,920 kg). Females measure up to 17 feet (5.2 m) tall and weigh between 1,540 and 2,600 pounds (698-1,179 kg). Much of the height is due to their long neck, which can be 8 feet (2.5 m) in length and can weigh almost 500 pounds - yet it's made up of only 7 bones, the same number as we have in our own. The little horns or cones on the top of their heads are used for sparring between males. Giraffe spots are as unique to each animal as our finger prints are to us. 

See more pictures of the baby after the fold:

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A Second Seal Pup for Point Defiance Zoo


The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium welcomed its second Pacific Harbor Seal pup in two weeks when mom Qilak delivered a healthy baby on June 10.  Another female, Shila, delivered a pup on June 2.

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Photo Credit:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


The pair of pups made their public debut on June 20.  Zoo keepers report that Shila and Qilak are taking excellent care of their newborns.  The newest pup weighed 22.6 pounds (10.3 kg) at birth.

In the wild, Seals feed on a wide variety of fish.  You can see mother Seal eating fish in the video above.  For now, of course, both pups get all their nutrition through their mothers’ milk.


Quadruple the Fun: Ruffed Lemurs Born at Sacramento Zoo

14 days old - Christa Klein

The Sacramento Zoo welcomed four Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur babies on May 17. The babies have been growing fast in an off-exhibit area with mom.

8 days old - Christa Klein

12 days old - Christa Klein

4 days old - Christa Klein

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Photo Credits:  Christa Klein (1,2,3,4); Sacramento Zoo (5)


Ruffed Lemurs are the only primates that keep their young in nests instead of carrying them. In the wilds of their native Madagascar, these Lemurs nest in tree cavities. At the zoo, keepers provide tubs and crates as nesting sites. Just as she would in the wild, the mother Lemur moves her babies from nest to nest in her enclosure.

At a few weeks of age, the baby Lemurs began following mom around and practicing their climbing skills. For now, the babies’ father and older brother live separately from mom and her young, but they can all see and smell each other through a mesh door. This will make the introduction process, when the family is completely reunited in a few months, go much smoother.

Infant Lemurs are pint-sized versions of adults, with the same black-and-white coat colors. Each individual has a slightly different coat pattern with varying amounts of white, black, and even some shades of brown. Eye color often starts out as blue and then changes (often multiple times in the same individual) to yellow, gold, or green.

In Madagascar, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Because they are large, these Lemurs are hunted for their meat. As rain forests are cut to make way for agriculture, the Lemurs’ habitat is destroyed. They now live in only a few isolated forest pockets on the island. 

A Bouncing Baby Boy for Aquarium of the Pacific

Shelby, a popular Harbor Seal at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, gave birth to a male pup on May 1.  The 32 pound (14.8 kg) pup is the second for Shelby and her mate, Troy.




Photo Credit:  Hugh Ryono

The new pup is much larger and hungrier than Shelby’s first pup.  According to keepers, Shelby has to end nursing sessions herself, rather than waiting for the pup to finish.  Keepers have been giving Shelby extra fish so that she can produce enough nutritious milk for her growing pup.

Keepers also report that this pup is unusually vocal.  He calls loudly to get his mom’s attention, then enjoys floating on his back next to Shelby.

Three Snow Leopard Cubs Born at Zoo Salzburg


On April 29, three Snow Leopard kittens were born at the Austria’s Zoo Salzburg – the fourth litter for 11-year-old female Mira and her 12-year-old mate, Shankar.



Photo Credit:  Zoo Salzberg

Snow Leopard cubs are born blind and weigh about one pound (0.5 kg). About seven days after their birth, the cubs opened their eyes and took their first clumsy steps. Mother Mira is taking excellent care of her offspring, so it’s not surprising that the cubs doubled their weight in just six weeks.

Snow Leopards are one of the most endangered big cats on earth. Poaching, illegal trade, and habitat destruction threaten the survival of this majestic cat species in the wild. Experts estimate that only 3,500-7,000 Snow Leopards survive in the high mountain regions of Central Asia. Exact figures are not available, unfortunately, because these animals are rarely seen in their natural habitat, which is rough and remote.

See more photos of the cubs below the fold.

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Good Luck to Zoo Budapest's Rescued Beaver!

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There's a beaver pup behind the scenes at Zoo Budapest—but this little girl wasn't actually born at the zoo. She was rescued from the Rába River on June 8 during a huge flood of the Danube River system. Although she was old enough to be able to swim, she was too small to survive the strong current of the flooded river. She is in excellent condition after her rescue, and once she is a bit older, stronger, and more self-sufficient, she will be released back at the Rába River, her original environment. For now, she is well cared for by the zoo's dedicated rescue staff and by her foster mom, a snuggly plushie toy. 

Beaver 1


Photo Credits: Zoltan Bagosi / Zoo Budapest (1,2); Gabriella Fekete (3, and pictured in 1 and 2) 

Each year, staff at Zoo Budapest rescue more than 1,500 wild animals native to Hungary, including many protected birds, small mammals, and reptiles. The European or Eurasian Beaver is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of Least Concern. However, their current stability is due to active conservation programs. Historically, European Beavers have been heavily exploited throughout Eurasia for their dense fur and for castoreum, a scent-gland secretion used for perfumes and also for artificial food flavorings. Loss of wetland habitats also contributed to their decline. Thanks to conservation efforts, reintroduced populations are successfully expanding in areas where beavers were once locally extinct. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling in Asia, where, according to the IUCN, conservation action is desperately needed.

One, Two, Three, Four! Four Little Meerkat Pups for Twycross Zoo

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Four Meerkat pups have been born at Twycross Zoo in England, and the tiny new arrivals have already proved a huge hit with visitors! The pups were born on May 11 to mum Tallulah after an 11-week gestation period. While staff were keeping an eye out for pups after spotting a heavily pregnant Tallulah, quadruplets came as a welcome surprise to everyone.

Julian Chapman, Team Leader of Large Mammals, commented, “This is the largest litter of pups we’ve had in a few years. They are all doing very well and mum is doing a great job caring for them, despite probably having her hands full! At four weeks old, the pups are still feeding from mum and will become fully weaned and eating solids at around 60 days old.”

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Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo

Meerkats are part of the mongoose family and live in large families in burrows in the desert. They are highly social animals and live groups called mobs -- and family members are very much involved in raising pups. Julian added: “Aunties and older sisters will help mum out with babysitting whilst she goes off to feed, and other members of the family will stand on their hind legs keeping a look out for predators. The pups spent the first few weeks in their underground burrows and have just started venturing out."

The pups have been a huge hit with visitors and are on view now, but you can see them right now by clicking on the video below!

See more pictures after the jump:

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