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June 2014

UPDATE: Zoo Miami's Clouded Leopard Cubs

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The staff at Zoo Miami knows that their fans are eager to see more of the Clouded Leopard cubs born March 13 – so they’ve released some new photos from a recent veterinary checkup!

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Photo Credit:  Ron Magill

The two female cubs are now two months old and doing well in an off-exhibit area with their mother. It is typical for young cats to remain in the den for several months.  The cubs will soon move onto exhibit, but no date has been set for their public debut.

Check back to ZooBorns’ first look at the Clouded Leopard cubs when they were just a few weeks old!  

See more photos below.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Zoo Miami's Clouded Leopard Cubs " »


Meet Baku and Cleo!

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As adults, Africa’s Serval cats are one of the world’s most successful hunters. But as kittens, these future spotted killers are one of the cutest creatures you’ve ever seen. Making their debut this week in Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, the brother and sister Servals are just two months old. You can see them in the new Animal Training Session presentations held daily in the Zoo’s Safari Canyon theater at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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There's Something Very Unique About This Skunk Kit!

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The union of two young Skunks last November at Germany's Zoo Heidelberg has produced five offspring! The five lively "Stinktierkinder" (German for baby Skunks!) were born on April  28. Mother "Chanel" has kept her offspring well hidden and lovingly cared for in the birth den. The pups are just now beginning to explore their enclosure. "Chanel" has a lot to be proud of with her growing litter, but perhaps especially notable is that one of the five kits was born with white fur and red eyes, an albino! Albinism occurs in humans and in almost all animal species. Albino people and animals suffer from sensitivity to UV light and blurred vision. In the wild, the albino girl would have no chance of survival. Perhaps the biggest problem for wild animals, is they are more easily recognized as prey.

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One of the snow white girl's siblings chases a toy around the exhibit...

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Peek-a-boo At Hamilton Zoo With Two Red Panda Cubs

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The birth of two rare Nepalese Red Pandas thrilled Hamilton Zoo keepers earlier this year and now that they’ve reached four months old, they are venturing out and exploring their enclosure.
 
“The pair and their mum are doing great,” says Hamilton Zoo Curator Samantha Kudeweh.
 
“Initially the cubs weren’t gaining as much weight as they should have so we started supplement feeding. That worked really well and now the pair are fit and healthy and enjoying hanging out with their extended family”.
 
Although it’s difficult to tell early on, Kudeweh said they are fairly confident the two cubs are both females.
 
“If this is the case, it means we have a nice mix with our juveniles, as the new cubs have three male siblings Karma, Nima and Dawa who were born last year.”

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Red Pandas are found throughout the Himalayan ranges, in Western China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. They live in the same habitat as the Giant Panda and almost exclusively eat bamboo leaves and occasionally fruit, small animals, eggs and roots.
 
Classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, their population in the wild is thought to be less than 10,000 and decreasing. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are the main threats to the survival of the species, and poaching for their beautiful fur is a major problem in China, where pelts have cultural significance.


Philly Zoo's First Ever Black-footed Cat Kittens are Thriving!

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Philadelphia Zoo's female Black-footed Cat Aza gave birth to a litter of kittens on April 8, 2014: the first Black-footed Cats ever to be born at the Philadelphia Zoo! Their names are Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Drogon and Viserion are male and Rhaegal is female.

Before making their debut, the kittens underwent a routine wellness check to make sure they’re healthy. In addition to weighing and sexing them, veterinarians completed full physical examinations of each kitten. They also gave the kittens dye marks so the keepers can tell them apart from a distance. Philly Zoo also baby-proofed the kittens' exhibit ahead of the big debut. They lowered the water level in the exhibit and added climbing structures so they could enter and exit their pool with ease, and before entering their exhibit, they practiced with different amounts of water in their indoor bedroom. They also added another feeding dish so Aza could eat separately from her kittens, and they placed the kennel they had been sleeping in inside the exhibit so they would have some familiar scents. A keeper is present to monitor them throughout the day to make sure they're maneuvering through their habitat well, but as you can see in these photos, they are feeling quite at home already.

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Just last week, the kittens received another checkup, which included vaccinations, reapplication of dye marks and weighing. Their weights now range from 631 to 757 grams (from a little more than 22 oz. to a little less than 27). All three babies are in great health.

These small but mighty cats are terrestrial and crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn). They are not great climbers, but are skilled diggers when looking for insects or creating birthing dens. They have been observed to have several hunting styles that include: fast hunting (running through and over vegetation, flushing out prey), slow hunting (slow, stalking movements- which indicates they are low to the ground in an almost serpentine motion), and finally "sit and wait" hunting (motionless vigilance at a rodent burrow waiting for an animal to come out of their den). All of these methods have proven successful for this cat. On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Black-footed Cat is listed as Vulnerable.

 


Marshbirds On the March

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It is the peak of the nesting and hatching season in the Marsh Aviary at NaturZoo Rheine, the home of a large mixed colony of coastal birds like Ruffs, Redshanks, Lapwings and Avocets. NaturZoo Rheine has been renowned as an expert for breeding waders for decades. Every year at least dozens and up to more than a hundred chicks of the different species are reared and distributed to zoos worldwide. However, working with these birds is never routine and there are always challenges in husbandry.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) chicks are extremely agile from hatching on. This is evidenced in their food searching skills – their ability to filter and pick up small particles of food from the water surface. Adults care well for the chicks, guiding, defending and warming them and scooping them up into their plumage. However, most of these chicks have been reared by zookeepers to ensure balanced care as it's not guaranteed in the large colony in the aviary because of territoriality and rivalry among the birds.

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Six Pups Boost Endangered Red Wolf Breeding Program

10365946_10152172047108174_8626744923135281762_nThe NEW Zoo & Adventure Park in Wisconsin has some exciting news: six Red Wolf pups were born on May 22! All six pups are tucked away in the den with their mother, Mayo and father, Tasmaska.

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Photo Credit:  NEW Zoo

A quick veterinary exam on May 28 revealed that the litter contains four males and two females. All six pups appear healthy and are exhibiting age-appropriate behaviors.

Mayo left the Western North Carolina Nature Center last fall to be paired with Tamaska under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). The purpose of the SSP is to cooperatively manage populations of threatened and endangered animals in accredited facilities.

Red Wolves are Critically Endangered, with only about 100 remaining in the wild and another 200 in captive breeding programs like those at the NEW Zoo and the Western North Carolina Nature Center. These Wolves one ranged throughout the Southeastern United States.  Today, Red Wolves are confined to a few wildlife refuges on the North Carolina coast. Though they are perilously close to extinction, the number of Red Wolves has increased since the 1970s.

See more photos of the pups below.

Continue reading "Six Pups Boost Endangered Red Wolf Breeding Program" »


Endangered Turtle Hatches at Fort Wayne Children' Zoo

IMG_0471adjThe Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo’s newest baby may be small, but the tiny Black-breasted Leaf Turtle could play an important role in saving an endangered species.

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IMG_0498adjPhoto Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

The teensy terrapin hatched on May 10 after a 75-day incubation.  At three weeks old, it weighed just over six grams (about the same weight as a quarter).  Black-breasted Leaf Turtles in zoos are managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  For now, zoo keepers are caring for the hatchling behind-the-scenes and monitoring its progress carefully, feeding it fruit, vegetables, crickets, and worms. 

Why are Black-breasted Leaf Turtles endangered?  It all comes down to habitat destruction and over-collection in their native range of Southeast Asia.  These Turtles are collected for use in Traditional Asian Medicine, and are often sold as pets. Their unique facial expressions, scallop-edged shells, and small size make them particularly attractive within the pet trade.   Black-breasted Leaf Turtles live up to 20 years but only reach an average length of five inches, making them one of the smallest Turtles in the world.


Wallaby Joey Gets a Helping Hand at Taronga Zoo

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A Swamp Wallaby who was rejected by her mother is being cared for by zoo keepers at Australia’s Taronga Zoo.

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The six-month-old female joey was found separated from her mother in the zoo’s Wallaby exhibit.  Keepers’ attempts to reunite the joey, named Mirrawa, with her mother were unsuccessful, so they took on the job of caring for the joey.

Mirrawa is currently being fed milk developed specifically for Wallabies.  She’s just beginning to chew on soft new growth leaves of a few native plants, such as bottlebrush.

Keepers will care for Mirrawa until she is about eight months old.  At that time, she’ll be reintroduced to the exhibit, where she will live among the Wallaby group.

Swamp Wallabies are common in the forests and scrublands of easternmost Australia.  They emerge at night to feed on a wide variety of plants.  

See more photos of Mirrawa below.

Continue reading "Wallaby Joey Gets a Helping Hand at Taronga Zoo" »


Three's Not a Crowd for Koala Joeys

Three Joeys (1)_Credit Ellen Wilson, Taronga ZooThree’s a crowd – unless you’re a Koala joey at Australia's  Taronga Zoo!

Keepers spotted joeys Sydney, Milli and Tucker snoozing and spooning happily together. The trio have been tree-mates in the Zoo’s Koala Encounter area for the past month, since moving away from their mothers.Three Joeys 1_Credit Ellen Wilson, Taronga Zoo

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Koala Joeys 9_Paul FahyPhoto Credits:  Ellen Wilson (1,2); Paul Fahy (3,4,5,6,7,8) 

The two females, Sydney and Milli, are nearly 18 months old, while male Tucker is the youngest at 12 months old.

Koala keeper, Laura Jones said the trio are enjoying their time together and can often be spotted eating or sleeping close together – and occasionally on top of each other.

“Tucker is usually the poor guy on the bottom. I think he goes to sleep first and then the girls find a comfy spot on top of him,” said Laura. “He’s seems to quite like it at the moment though, as it may remind him of cuddling with his mum.”

Part of Taronga Zoo’s Koala breeding program, Sydney, Milli and Tucker all emerged from the pouch during last year’s breeding season. The Zoo has three more joeys getting ready to emerge this season.

See more Koala photos below the fold.

Continue reading "Three's Not a Crowd for Koala Joeys" »