Previous month:
April 2014
Next month:
June 2014

May 2014

Two Rare Snow Leopard Cubs Born at Akron Zoo

Snow Leopard cubs 2 weeks old

For just the second time in its history, Snow Leopard cubs have been born at the Akron Zoo. One male and one female cub were born on April 14, 2014. The cubs are currently off exhibit with their mother, Shanti, where they will remain for several more weeks.

The photo above shows the cubs at two weeks old; the photo below was taken when the cubs were two days old.

Snow leopard cubs 2 days old
Cub getting exam by zoo vet Dr. Kim Cook
Photo Credit:  Akron Zoo

The cubs currently weigh about six pounds; at birth they weighed around one -and-a-half pounds each. At six weeks old, the cubs’ eyes are open, they are able to walk and are starting to climb.

Shanti had been trained by staff, through protected contact, to allow them to perform ultrasounds. Once staff suspected Shanti was pregnant, they performed an ultrasound at 44 days after breeding and continued to do so weekly to monitor the cubs' development. For the first time in its history the zoo was also able to train Shanti to sit during x-rays so the cubs’ development could be even more closely monitored. This type of training is beneficial to Shanti, eliminating the need to anesthetize her for these procedures. The Akron Zoo is one of the few zoos in the country to use these techniques with Snow Leopards.

This is Shanti's and father Roscoe’s second successful litter at the Akron Zoo. Two male cubs were born at the zoo in 2012.

Snow Leopards are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Snow Leopards are an endangered species primarily due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and body parts, and killings by local herders when a Snow Leopard has preyed on their livestock. There are less than 150 Snow Leopards in the SSP in the U.S. and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild.

Baby Cheetahs Frolic at Schönbrunn Zoo


Three Cheetahs born on April 16 are frolicking, playing with each other, and cuddling up with mom now that they are on exhibit at Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo.

Gepard_06_TGS_ZupancPhoto Credit: Daniel Zupanc

At five weeks old, the Cheetah cubs, whose sex has not yet been determined, are already the size of domestic cats and tip the scales at around nine pounds (4 kg). The triplets also have roly-poly milk tummies.

“All three young animals are developing splendidly.  Two of the babies come out several times a day, the third one is a bit more timid and prefers to wait in the litter cave until his mother and siblings come back,” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

Baby Cheetahs grow very quickly. Schratter says, “Cheetahs are pure carnivores, but up to now the young are being suckled, although they have already broken their milk teeth. Before long, the little feline predators will be enjoying their first meal of meat.”

Once hunted for their fur, Cheetahs are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction and the lack of prey. Only around 10,000 of these animals still live in Africa. The Schönbrunn Zoo participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), despite the difficulty of breeding Cheetahs in a zoo setting.  The new triplets are the first Cheetahs born at the zoo in 13 years.

See more photos of frolicking Cheetah cubs below.

Continue reading "Baby Cheetahs Frolic at Schönbrunn Zoo" »

Three Maned Wolves Join the Family at Denver Zoo

1 wolf

Denver Zoo in Colorado is celebrating the birth of three Maned Wolf pups, born on May 1. The unnamed triplets, two males and one female, were born to mother, Adrianna, and father, Inigo, and are the first of their species to be born at the Zoo since 2009. All three pups were just given a clean bill of health by zoo veterinarians. Though the pups are not yet old enough to explore the outside world on their own yet, Zoo visitors might catch glimpses of them as their protective mother totes them from den to den inside the Wolf Pack Woods exhibit.

2 wolf

3 wolfPhoto credit: Denver Zoo

These are the first pups for both Inigo and Adrianna, who both arrived at Denver Zoo in September 2013. Inigo came from Texas’ Abilene Zoo, where he was born in December 2011. Adrianna arrived from Springfield, Missouri’s Dickerson Park Zoo, but was born at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, near Glen Rose, Texas in February 2012. The pair came to Denver Zoo as part of a Species Survival Plan recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

Maned Wolves resemble Red Foxes with long legs. Despite their reddish coloring and general appearance they are not related to foxes and despite their name, they are not members of the wolf family. The Maned Wolf is the largest wild dog of South America. Standing about three feet tall at the shoulder, their long legs enable them to see above the tall grass – an adaptation that helps them hunt for food and avoid predators. Unlike wolves, they do not form packs: they are solitary hunters, and guard terriotories with a monogamous mate. 

See and read more after the fold.

Continue reading "Three Maned Wolves Join the Family at Denver Zoo" »

Baby Mongoose Lemur Holds On Tight

1 lemur

In April, Kikeli, a Critically Endangered Mongoose lemur, gave birth to the first infant of 2014 at Lemur Conservation Foundation in Florida. Kikeli's new infant is starting to climb around on mom a lot, and is reaching out to one-year-old brother, Silvio, and dad Felix.

Silvio and Felix are both very interested in the new addition to their family group, and have groomed the infant while it holds onto its mother. With such a young infant, Kikeli is being a good, protective mother and only allows the males brief contact with the baby.

2 lemur

3 lemur

4 lemurPhoto credit: Caitlin Kenney / Lemur Conservation Foundation

Between 2008 and 2012, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) increased the conservation status for Mongoose lemurs from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. The IUCN and the Species Survival Commission organized the Lemur Red-Listing and Conservation Planning Workshop in July of 2012. Participants met to review the status of all 103 known species of lemurs, concluding that lemurs are among the most endangered species in the world. In 2013, all 3 Mongoose lemur infants born in the United States were born to mothers at Lemur Conservation Foundation.

Hi, Mom! Baby Giraffe Born at Dickerson Park Zoo

A baby Giraffe was born on exhibit at the Dickerson Park Zoo on May 19 while zoo staff and curious visitors looked on.  These photos were taken in the first hours after the birth.

IMG_9651-medPhoto Credit:  Dickerson Park Zoo

The calf, whose gender has not been confirmed and who has not yet been named, appears healthy.  The calf met two important milestones – standing and nursing – within two hours of birth. 

This is the 12th calf for 21-year-old Gidget.  As an experienced mother, Gidget immediately began licking her calf clean after the birth.  Like most Giraffe calves, this newborn is about six feet tall.

Giraffes are pregnant for 14-15 months and give birth standing up.  Calves drop about six feet to the ground and begin trying to stand shortly afterward.  In the wild, it is important for calves to stand and walk as soon as possible to avoid becoming prey for lions or hyenas.  

12 Playful Dhole Pups at Howletts Wild Animal Park

Its a family affair for dhole puppies at Howletts Wild Animal Park c Dave Rolfe rs

A playful litter of 12 Dhole pups born in late March debuted outdoors at the United Kingdom’s Howletts Wild Animal Park.

Dhole puppies at Howletts Wild Animal Park c Dave Rolfe
Two Puppies Take a Drink at Howletts Wild Animal Park c Dave Rolfe resize
Photo Credit:  Dave Rolfe


Dholes, also known as Asiatic Wild Dogs, typically have litters of four to ten pups.  “To have a litter of 12 healthy and active pups is quite unusual,” said Ben Warren, head of the park’s Carnivore Section.  “The pups are getting really confident now and love playing around and annoying the adults, they’re really entertaining to watch.”

Dholes typically live in large packs.  Once weaned, the pups are cared for and fed by the entire pack. Packs work together to take down large deer, wild boar, and cattle.  Unlike other pack hunters, like wolves, who allow the dominant adults to feed first at a kill, Dholes give priority to pups.  Nursing females and their young are fed regurgitated food by other members of the pack. 

Dholes have an unusual and varied vocal range, and communicate using a series of squeaks, whistles, and barks.

Once found in most of Southern and eastern Asia, Dholes now live only in parts of India, Tibet, Bhutan, and extreme southeast Asia due to illegal hunting and habitat loss. Dholes are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Rare Warty Piglet Born at Chester Zoo

WartyPig-14One of the world’s rarest wild Pigs has been born at the United Kingdom’s Chester Zoo.  Only about 200 Visayan Warty Pigs remain in their native habitat in the Philippines.

WartyPig-11Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

The baby, whose gender is not yet known, sports yellow and brown stripes which act as camouflage.  The stripes will disappear at around 9-12 months.

Zoo keeper Lucy Edwards said, “Visayan Warty Pigs are critically endangered and face an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild."

“They’ve suffered a drastic population crash in recent times with widespread commercial logging, illegal logging and agricultural expansion devastating vast amounts of their natural habitat. They’re also being over-hunted and their meat can often command at least double the price of domestic pork in local markets and some restaurants.”

These wild Pigs get their name from the three pairs of fleshy warts on the boar's face. The warts protect them from rival Pigs' tusks during a fight.

Visayan Warty Pigs are small, forest-dwelling Pigs that feed on roots, fruits, and some cultivated crops.  Little is known about their wild habits.  They are found only in the small patches of remaining forest on the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines.

Chester Zoo’s latest arrival is vitally important to the breeding program which seeks to maintain a genetically viable population of Visayan Warty Pigs in zoos around Europe.  The zoo also provides financial assistance for an education and breeding program in the Philippines.

Rothschild Giraffe Calf Bonds with Mom at Dublin Zoo

2 giraffe

Dublin Zoo in Ireland is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe, born on May 7. The yet unnamed calf stands tall at five feet seven inches (1.7 m) and weighs an estimated 150 pounds (70 kg). He was born to experienced parents Maeve and Robin, and joins a herd of eight giraffes at Dublin Zoo. 

The successful birth of this calf is wonderful news as the Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most threatened subspecies of giraffe. 

1 giraffe

5 giraffePhoto credit: Patrick Bolger / Dublin Zoo

With only a few hundred left in the wild, Rothschild Giraffes (also known as the Baringo Giraffe or the Ugandan Giraffe) are close to meeting the International Union for Conservation of Nature's threshold as Critically Endangered. According the to The Rothschild's Giraffe Project, fewer than 670 individuals remain in the the wild today, in 13 small populations in Uganda and Kenya. They are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. 

Rothschild Giraffes can be identified by their slightly jagged and more lightly colored spot pattern, and by their light, unmarked legs below the knees. 

See more photos after the fold.

Continue reading "Rothschild Giraffe Calf Bonds with Mom at Dublin Zoo" »

International Day of Biological Diversity 2014


International Day of Biological Diversity 2014 is upon us and ZooBorns is participating by joining zoos and aquariums around the world in helping to bring attention to the threats species face from climate change. Led by the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, the campaign is called the Wild Face of 350 (#Wild350)

What does 350 mean?

350 parts per million (ppm) is what scientists say is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Right now, the atmosphere contains over 400 ppm of CO2 and is increasing every year.

Scientific evidence increasingly shows that climate change will become a primary driver of species extinction in the coming century. ZooBorns wants to remind all our readers that many of the animals you know and love will not survive if we continue on the current trajectory.

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Singapore Zoo

Baby Eurosian Otter

Baby Burmese star tortoise

Squirrel monkeys for 350

Phoenix Zoo 350 Macaws 1

The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group's mission is to save threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide. They provide species conservation planning expertise to governments, specialist groups, zoos and aquariums, and other wildlife organizations.

Climate change could affect almost every species but here are ten of the most vulnerable, which includes Arctic Foxes, Clownfish, Koalas, Emperor Penguins, Leatherback Turtles, Staghorn Corals, Ringed Seals, Quiver Trees, Salmon and Beluga Whales.

Follow the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and there Wild350 campaign throughout the day!

Endangered Siberian Crane Hatches at Franklin Park Zoo

1 crane

Franklin Park Zoo in Massachusetts has announced the successful hatching of a rare Siberian Crane chick. Hatched on May 6, the chick is the offspring of Sneetch, age 20, and Shakti, age 22.

In the wild, Siberian Cranes breed in the high Arctic regions of Siberia. These Endangered birds stand about 4 feet (120 cm) tall and are noted for their pure white plumage and black flight feathers. It is estimated that only 3,000 of these birds remain in the wild.

There are only 21 Siberian Cranes in captivity in four North American institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Franklin Park Zoo has six Siberian Cranes including the new chick. Since 1999, there have been eight chicks, including the newest chick, hatched at the zoo.

2 crane

3 cranePhoto credit: Franklin Park Zoo

This success is the result of a lot of hard work and technical expertise. The chick at Franklin Park Zoo is a result of artificial insemination. The chick’s parents, a breeding pair, have resided at Franklin Park Zoo since 1996. Because these birds hail from the high Arctic regions, each year on February 14 the zoo staff increases the amount of light in the birds’ exhibit by one hour a week to simulate the light cycle in their native environment. The light is increased until the birds receive 21 to 22 hours of light a day. Once the light cycle reaches this point, the birds typically begin breeding. Franklin Park Zoo is actually the first zoo in North America to have successfully bred this endangered species.

“Siberian Cranes are an incredible species with an important conservation story to tell. Every successful hatch is important as it helps to hedge against this species’ extinction,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO. “With any new birth or hatch, there is always risk but we are hopeful that this new chick will continue to thrive and will contribute to the survival of its species.”