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May 2014

Roger Williams Park Zoo Welcomes Endangered Tree Kangaroo


Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island has just announced the birth of a Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, born in October last year. The female joey, named Holly, is the first tree kangaroo birth at the zoo in over 20 years, and one of only one of three born in captivity in the U.S. last year.

Tree Kangaroos are an Endangered species, and are part of a Species Survival Program – a cooperative breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that aims to rehabilitate endangered and threatened species populations.


3 kangarooPhoto credit: Roger Williams Park Zoo

See video of mother and baby:

Zoo keepers discovered that the female tree kangaroo was pregnant after the announcement of the zoo’s plans to build a new tree kangaroo exhibit in the Australasia building by spring 2014.

“The first six months after birth is a critical time for both mother and baby. For this reason, we have put construction of the new exhibit on hold until late June 2014,” said Zoo Executive Director Dr. Jeremy Goodman, DVM. The exhibit will feature indoor and outdoor viewing areas with easy access for the animals between both spaces, giving guests a much improved view of the animals. Opening of the new exhibit is planned for early fall.

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Otter Pup Beats the Odds at Dallas Zoo

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Dallas Zoo in Texas is celebrating the successful birth and nurturing of an Asian Small-clawed Otter pup. She was born on January 25, but needed more than 100 days of devoted care from her keepers, because otter pups born without siblings usually do not survive.

The pup’s mother, Daphne, became the oldest female otter in the national Species Survival Plan’s breeding population to give birth. Now 13, Daphne was age 12 years, 9 months when the pup was born. The pup has been named Tasanee, which means 'beautiful view' in Thai. Dad Jimmy, eight years old, was born at the Dallas Zoo in 2006.

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Photo credit: Dallas Zoo

See video of the otter pup: 

Otters typically give birth to three or four pups. The survival rate for single otter pups is extremely poor, possibly due to their mothers’ insufficient milk production and lack of stimulation from litter-mates. Since 2000, only 18 single pups have been born in U.S. zoos, and 76 percent have died. Tasanee is the first female single pup to survive longer than 30 days.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for our team,” said Dr. Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare at the Dallas Zoo. “The safe birth of a single pup to the oldest otter mother to give birth has required skilled, dedicated care.”

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Tiny Hippo is Big News for Zoo Basel

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It's been 14 years since a baby Pygmy Hippopotamus was last born at Basel Zoo in Switzerland. Baby Lani came into the world on March 18, when it was still a little cold for her outside. Now, she joins her mother, nine year-old Ashaki, in the zoo's outdoor enclosure on warm, sunny days. Lani is one of about 135 Pygmy Hippopotamuses in the European Endangered Species Programme and is the seventy-fourth baby hippo to be born at Basel Zoo.

Lani was born early in the morning and the animal keepers were able to observe the quick, trouble-free birth. The bright-eyed youngster was nursing within an hour. When she was born, Lani was the size of a rabbit and weighed about 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg). Since then she has been put on the scales every day. Her weight gain offers information about whether she is nursing regularly. At the last measurement she weighed in at already more than 35 pounds (16 kg). Mother Ashaki currently weighs around 440 pounds (200 kg).

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5 hippoPhoto credit: Zoo Basel

For the present, Ashaki and Lani can only be seen in the outdoor enclosure between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm on warm, sunny days, alternating with the males. The water is still very chilly and the little one should not be allowed to get cold. Lani likes to hide in the bushes, so zoo visitors currently need a little luck and patience if they wish to spot her.

Lani has been very active from the start and mother Ashaki provides her with exemplary care. The little one has now begun to show some interest in solid food and nibbles on leaves. 

See and read more after the fold.

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First Look at Topeka Zoo's Tiger Cubs

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On May 4, Topeka Zoo in Kansas welcomed three Sumatran Tiger cubs! Mother Jingga gave birth to the first cub around noon and a few hours later the third cub was confirmed. Jingga has her cubs tucked away in a den box located in an interior holding space. Staff are keeping an eye on the new family using a camera installed in the den box, and the cubs recently had their first veterinary checkup.

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Photo credit: Topeka Zoo

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Keepers at Wildlife Safari Save Rejected Cheetah Cub

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Staff at Wildlife Safari in Oregon have stepped in to care for a newborn Cheetah who was rejected by his mother. On May 3, first-time Cheetah mom Moyo stopped eating, which alerted keepers that a birth was imminent. Keepers attentively monitored the birth on surveillance cameras, and became concerned for the wellbeing of the cub when mom ignored him, and did not attempt to clean off the birth sack. 

Newborns can only survive minutes without being removed from the sack and cleaned, so staff quickly stepped in to save the cub's life. They removed the sack, cleaned the airway and stimulated the cub to take his first breath. Since the mother would not care for the newborn, he was rushed to an incubator inside Wildlife Safari's animal hospital.

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4 cheetahPhoto credit: Wildlife Safari 

The newborn is doing well: he's taking his bottle, putting on weight, and has already won the hearts of staff. He is the 174th Cheetah cub to be born at the park through the internationally recognized Cheetah breeding program. 

"Given this rare opportunity to hand raise the cub, he will soon become an ambassador for his species at another AZA accredited facility" said Carnivore Supervisor Sarah Roy.  

Meet Mesker Park Zoo's First Takin Calf

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Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden in Indiana has welcomed its first-ever Takin calf, a female named Ching Lan, which means 'beautiful orchid' in Chinese. In the wild, this little calf would be following her mother on steep mountain paths at three days-old. It looks like she's practicing those motor skills by sneaking up on mom!

Born to first-time parents, the calf is thriving and zoo staff are very pleased with the attention her parents are giving her.

Zoo Director Amos Morris said, “The Takin are doing exactly what they need to be doing for their offspring and we are all enjoying watching wildlife at its best.”  

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3 takinPhoto credit: Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Garden

There are four subspecies of Takin that live throughout the eastern Himalayas, in Tibet, some Chinese provinces, Bhutan, and northeast India. Once thought to be related to muskox, the Takin is now known to be more closely related to sheep.

In the wild, baby Takin begin to follow their mothers along steep paths when they are just three days old – a crucial survival skill for these leaf-eating animals that travel seasonally to find food. Though heavily-built, Takin are surprisingly agile on the rocky cliffs of their homeland.  Their large hooves have a spur that makes them sure-footed even on steep terrain.  Males can weigh up to 800 pounds. Both males and females have thick upward-turning horns.

Equipped for life at higher altitudes, they can withstand very cold temperatures. In winter, they grow a secondary coat as protection from freezing temperatures. Long nasal passages warm frigid air before it reaches the lungs. 

Because Takin live in remote areas, not much is known about their wild populations.  But habitat loss, hunting, and human disturbance have caused Takin to be listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Denver Zoo's Second Malayan Tapir Birth Goes Smoothly

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Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf! The male calf, named Baku (Bah-koo), was born to mother, Rinny, and father, Benny, late in the evening on April 29. He the second offspring of this pair, and only the second birth of his species at the zoo.

Fortunately, his delivery was much easier than the first. The first calf, Dumadi, was born in September 2012. While his birth was normal, the events immediately following were difficult. After Rinny unsuccessfully attempted to free Dumadi from his amniotic sac, two staff members raced in to free the newborn from the sac, providing mouth-to-snout rescue breaths and manually stimulating the newborn for regular breathing in order to expel liquid from his lungs. After a few minutes of rescue efforts, Dumadi successfully began to breathe on his own.

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5 tapirPhoto credit: Denver Zoo

Fortunately, Baku's delivery went smoothly, and the newborn calf is healthy. He will remain behind the scenes in Toyota Elephant Passage while being cared for by his mother until they are comfortable enough to venture outdoors. Until then, visitors can see live, closed-circuit video of Baku on monitors inside Toyota Elephant Passage.

'Baku' is the Japanese word for tapir. Baku are also supernatural spirits in Chinese and Japanese folklore that take children’s nightmares away and protect against evil. They are often depicted as having some tapir-like physical characteristics.

Malayan Tapirs are the only tapir native to Asia. Once found throughout Southeast Asia, they now inhabit only the rainforests of the Indochinese peninsula and Sumatra. With a wild population of less than 2,000 individuals they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and hunting.

See and read more after the fold.

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Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Have Their First Checkup

13935707150_ce0058ef2b_bThree Asiatic Lion cubs born on March 27 at Finland’s Helsinki Zoo had their first vet visit at five weeks of age.  

14122325415_9347177432_bPhoto Credit:  Mari Lehmonen

The Zoo staff lured the three-year-old mother to another area of the exhibit, and the veterinary staff swooped in for a quick exam.  The cubs are still small enough to be handled safely, and they received vaccinations and gender checks. 

According to the staff, the cubs are “chubby,” so it’s clear that their mother is caring for them properly.  And if you watch the video, you'll see that the cubs have no trouble airing their displeasure with the veterinary staff.

To date, the cubs have been with their mother in a cubbing den behind the scenes.  The staff has watched the new family on closed circuit cameras.  The cubs won’t be on public display until sometime in June. 

Wild Asiatic Lions live only in northwestern India in the Gir forest area.  Because only about 400 individual lions live in the wild, they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Though this number is small, the population has more than doubled from a low of only 180 individuals in 1974. These cats once ranged into central Asia and the Middle East as recently as the 20th century. 

Because the current wild population is derived from only a few cats, inbreeding is one of the greatest threats to Asiatic Lions.  In addition, the Gir forest is under intense pressure from an encroaching human population. 

See more photos below.

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Brand-new Baby Takin at Prague Zoo

A rare Takin calf was born on May 6 at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic, and these photos show the baby just hours after its birth.1948040_10151988799492581_6453082175353355828_n

165928_10151988799477581_1534481335975659852_nPhoto Credit:  Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha

The male baby is genetically valuable to the European Takin breeding program because his grandfather was born in the wild.  Zoo Praha has exhibited Takin since 1998, when a small herd arrived from the Berlin Zoo.

Native to the eastern Himalayas, Takin are in the same family as goats and sheep.  Stocky and sure-footed, these goat-antelopes easily navigate high mountain terrain.They tavel in herds of 20-30 individuals, and graze on vegetation.

Takin are unqiue in that they secrete an oily, strong-smelling substance all over their entire body.  As adults, males Takin can weigh up to 770 pounds (350 kg).  Females are slightly smaller.

Due to overhunting and habitat destruction, Takin are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.   

More Penguins Than Ever Hatch at NaturZoo Rheine

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NaturZoo Rheine's Humboldt Penguin colony has been especially prolific this year: ten breeding pairs have nested and laid eggs, and so far, eight chicks have hatched! The German zoo has housed Humboldt Penguins for over forty years and has never had so many hatchlings before.

Most of the action is happening in the nests, where both parents help to raise the young, but with some luck, zoo visitors may catch a peek at the chicks.

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Photo credit: NaturZoo Rheine

See and read more after the fold.

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