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August 2013

Nice "Tooth" Meet You, Little Mole-rat

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A Giant Zambian Mole-rat pup born on June 22 is the first surviving second generation of this species at the Peoria Zoo.

The most notable feature of Mole-rats is a pair of large incisors that lie outside the mouth.  Giant Mole-rats excavate their burrows by biting at the soil with their incisors, pushing it under their bodies with their forefeet and kicking it backward with their hind feet.

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Photo Credit:  Peoria Zoo

Peoria Zoo was the first recorded institution in the United States to exhibit this species.  Peoria Zoo and its partners imported Giant Zambian Mole-rats from South Africa for exhibition and research in the United States in 2006.   Since their arrival zoo staff has been working to find a management technique to ensure breeding success. 

Ashley, the pup’s mother, born in 2008, was the first offspring ever to survive at the Peoria Zoo.   

At six weeks of age the Mole-rat pup weighs less than one ounce (24g), but will grow to weigh more than 1.3 pounds (600g).  Pups have dark brown fur, while adults are buff -colored. 

See more about Mole-rats below the fold.

Continue reading "Nice "Tooth" Meet You, Little Mole-rat" »

Wide-eyed Ocelot Kitten Debuts at Dallas Zoo


A rare Ocelot kitten born on June 26 made her public debut this week at the Dallas Zoo!

With her mother Milagre by her side, Lindy gingerly explored her outdoor habitat for the first time last week.  She scampered over rocks, chased bugs, and stared wide-eyed at the visitors who were watching her. 


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Photo Credit:  Dallas Zoo


Lindy and Milagre have spent the last two months in seclusion in their den.  Milagre is still very protective of her baby and keeps Lindy close most of the time.  But as Lindy grows, expect her to become bolder and Milagre to become more relaxed.

Lindy is the third Ocelot kitten ever born at the Dallas Zoo and the first since 2001.  Only a few Ocelot kittens are born in U.S. zoos each year. Milagre, age 4, came to Dallas from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, while the kitten’s father, Joaquin, age 5, came from the Oklahoma City Zoological Park. Both were brought to the Dallas Zoo in April 2011 on the recommendation of the Ocelot Species Survival Plan, with hopes that they would reproduce. Ocelot kittens typically weigh less than half a pound when born. At four weeks old, Lindy weighed two pounds.

Wild Ocelots occur naturally in Texas, but experts believe that only about 50 of these predators remain in the wilds of the state.  Ocelots are widespread in Central and South America, where they prefer areas of dense vegetation. 

Rescued Manatee Orphan on the Mend at Lowry Park Zoo

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is well-known for its ongoing work rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick or injured West Indian Manatees found in Florida waters.

Their most recent addition is an orphaned Manatee named Jobin.  He was just a few days old and weighed just 55 pounds when he arrived at the zoo’s Manatee Hospital.  Now six weeks old, Jobin has gained almost 20 pounds! 

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Photo Credit:  Lowry Park Zoo

West Indian Manatees, also known as sea-cows, weigh up to 1,300 pounds as adults.  Manatees are mammals – hence, they nurse their young and give birth to live babies.  They feed on underwater vegetation and inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater springs.  Manatees prefer warm shallow waters and often gather in large groups.

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They face threats from propeller strikes and toxic algae blooms.

The Lowry Park Zoo works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Marine Research Institute, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or sick Manatees.  The zoo’s Manatee Hospital is one of three critical care facilities in Florida to care for West Indian Manatees and the only non-profit facility. 

Fort Worth Zoo's Asian Elephant Herd Grows, Again!


On August 5, Fort Worth Zoo celebrated the birth of its second Asian Elephant calf of the summer (third in the Zoo's history). The male calf, named Bowie, comes just 30 days after Belle, feature last month on ZooBorns. Bowie is born to first-time mother Bluebonnet, the first Asian Elephant born at Forth Worth Zoo. Rasha, Bluebonnet's mother, gave birth to Belle. Bowie's birth makes Rasha a grandmother and Belle an aunt. The Zoo now houses three generations of elephants! The multigenerational family mimics the way herds are established in the wild. Fort Worth is home to 7 Asian Elephants total; there are 4 females and 3 males.


Bowie's name is a familiar one to Texans. Jim Bowie was a legendary figure of the American frontier. He played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution and eventually died at the Alamo.


Foth Worth Zoo established breeding program in 1986 and has become an international leader in elephant conservation. Zoo Executive Director Michael Fouraker served as the president of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) for nine years and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and as president-elect of the board. Asian Elephants have been endagered since 1967, threatened by habitat destruction and poaching for ivory.


More photos below the fold!

Continue reading "Fort Worth Zoo's Asian Elephant Herd Grows, Again!" »

UPDATE! Meerkat Family Grows as Calgary Zoo Rebuilds

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Back in June, staff at Calgary Zoo in Alberta rushed to batten down the hatches during a flood. They rescued five meerkats from a damaged exhibit just in time. The zoo withstood terrible damage, but there was a bright spot too: one week later, on June 28, one of the rescued female meerkats gave birth to five little cubs. (See our original story about the rescue and birth here.)

At two months old, the five cubs are now healthy, adventurous, and growing like weeds. They haven't been named yet because it will take a checkup to determine the sexes of the pups. Their mother is doing an excellent job at raising her offspring, so caretakers have decided not to intervene with the family just yet, as everything appears to be going smoothly. 

Calgary Zoo is in the process of repairing and rebuilding after the extensive damage caused by the flood. If you'd like to help out with a donation, it's easy to do from the Calgary Zoo website!

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Photo credits: Calgary Zoo

Rare Somali Wild Ass Joins the Herd at Zoo Basel


Zoo Basel welcomed the newest and youngest addition to their Somali Wild Ass herd, Kali. Kali was born on July 3 in the late hours of the night. Kali has been spending a lot of time with his mother, Yogala. His birth is crucial to his species— there are just about 220 Somali Wild Asses living in zoos worldwide. The species is critically endangered and is one of the rarest mammals on the planet. Only a few hundred Somali Wild Ass remain in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.


Zoo Basel has been home to Somali Wild Asses since 1970, with their first birth in 1972. The species is part of a European Endangered Species Program, which helps to maintain zoo populations and ensure the survival of the species. The program is organized by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is coordinated by Zoo Basel.



Photo Credit Zoo Basel

See more images below the fold

Continue reading "Rare Somali Wild Ass Joins the Herd at Zoo Basel" »

Paignton Zoo Welcomes World's Tallest Baby

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The tallest baby in the world has just been born at Paignton Zoo in England: a Rothschild's Giraffe calf, standing at nearly six feet tall! The as yet unnamed and unsexed calf was born to mother Janica and father Yoda on the morning August 20. 

Says Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment, “The first thing that happens to a baby giraffe when it is born is a six foot drop onto the ground – it’s a hard way to start!” The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. The mother gives birth standing up – the fall breaks the umbilical cord. The calf can stand and run within a few hours.

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Photo credits: Paignton Zoo

Jump over the fold to see and read more.

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Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo in Denmark, where he was born in 2004. The mother, Janica, came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The other youngsters at the Zoo are Valentino, born to Janica in February 2012 and Otilie, who was born to mother Sangha in September 2012.

They are all a subspecies of giraffe called Rothschild's or Baringo Giraffes. Rothschild's Giraffes are classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Paignton Zoo takes part in a European Endangered species Programme for these giraffes.

UPDATE: Woodland Park Zoo Otter Pups Are Boys!


First time Asian Small-Clawed Otter parents Guntur and Teratai have their hands full! After their first vet exam, the Woodland Park Zoo has learned that their four pups are all boys. First seen here on Zooborns, the 9-week old quadruplets are healthy and hitting all of their developmental benchmarks. Still, the pups spend most of their time eating, sleeping and playing. Like most brothers, their play consists of pouncing and chewing on each other.


Behind the scenes, swimming lessons have began for the pups. With mom's help, the pups are slowly beginning to feel comfortable around water. They've started to dip their mouths in a small, shallow tub. Mom dips her mouth, then touches the pups’ mouths with hers. Once the pup's have learned to swim, they will be introduced to the outdoor exhibit. The pups will also begin weaning from mom in late August. Mom and dad have began to share food. Soon they will be on a solid diet of smelt, capelin and soaked cat food. 




Photo Credit Woodland Park Zoo

UPDATE: Good News from the New England Aquarium!

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Just last week we shared the happy news about New England Aquarium's Northern Fur Seal pup (see our first story here), and already there is more good news to share: it's a girl! All the marine mammal trainers wanted to give mom and baby some space after the birth so the pair could bond and rest. After a couple days, the trainers did a closer examination on the pup and determined her sex. She's also tipping the scales at 11 pounds now! The pup continues to nurse, call and grow stronger every day in her cozy behind-the-scenes space she shares with mom, Ursula. The pup will remain behind the scenes until this fall, but visitors can still see dad Isaac and big brother Flaherty on exhibit.

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Tiny Lemur Twins Born at the Duke Lemur Center

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What has four eyes, two tails and the tiniest fingers you've ever seen? A pair of Grey Mouse Lemurs! The Duke Lemur Center welcomed twins, a male named Filbert and a female named Scuppernong, on June 18th. At birth, they were no longer than an inch from nose to the base of the tail and weighed about .2 ounces (5 grams). They two have grown quickly! At just 3 weeks old, Scuppernong and Filbert weight about an ounce each (28 grams and 32 grams, respectively). Filbert is adventurous, exploring outside the nest box and showing interest in the fruit his mother eats. Scuppernong is more timid than her brother, preferring the nest box. At 2 months old, the twins are health and continuing to grow. Scuppernong is 1.5 ounces (44 grams) and Filbert is 1.6 ounces (46 grams).

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These primates belong to the group that includes the world's smallest primates, though the species is the largest of the Mouse Lemurs. Adults weigh about 3 ounces (90 grams) and stand no more than 3 inches tall. At the Duke Lemur Center, they live socially the same way they do in their native habitat of Madagascar—females live in groups and males live solitary lives.

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The Duke Lemur Center houses the only breeding colony of Grey Mouse Lemurs in North America. The program has been very successful, boasting a 100% success rate with infant Grey Mouse Lemurs. Scientists at Duke and all over the world are excited about the new advances in Mouse Lemur research. Genome sequencing and advances in noninvasive imaging technology allow scientists to peek inside a mouse lemur's brain to study the aging process.


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Photo Credit: Duke Lemur Center