Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium/Ingrid Barrentine
Zoo staff members are eager to have names for the tiny tiger triplets and are conducting a public vote on a slate of names for the 3-week-old cubs. In the spirit of the season, voting begins today!
The zoo is also releasing the tiger cubs’ first official photos, taken during a well-cub check by staff veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and staff biologist Christy Webster.
The three female cubs, born Oct. 8, are healthy and thriving. They are living behind the scenes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary with their mother, ‘Jaya’, who is very attentive to their needs. The cubs, who weighed between 2.5 and 3 pounds each at birth, now weigh in at 7.67, 7.80 and 8.31 pounds.
There is no date set for their public debut, but it will likely occur in just over a month when the cubs have grown a bit more and are not quite as wobbly on their legs. The new family is also enjoying additional bonding time. Cool outdoor temperatures could also play a role in when the tiny tigers come out to meet the public.
Members of the public may vote on names, which Asian Forest Sanctuary staff biologists chose from Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language. The cubs will receive the top three names. Voting runs through Nov. 13 and the names will be announced Nov. 14.
Once the votes are tallied, zookeepers will decide which name best fits which cub based on their personalities and appearances.
“The birth of the three cubs also presents a rich opportunity for the public to learn more about Sumatran Tigers, which are a critically endangered species,” Goodrowe Beck said. “Every one of these tigers is precious. We strongly want tiger species to survive so they will be there for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to see and appreciate.”
The cubs’ birth was part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers. Goodrowe Beck coordinates the SSP for North America.
Only about 300 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their numbers are dramatically dwindling due to poaching and habitat destruction, primarily for the growth of oil palms. There are just 80 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos and approximately 400 in zoos worldwide.
The three cubs bring the total number of tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to nine. In addition to ‘Jaya’ and her litter, the zoo is home to Sumatran Tigers ‘Malosi’ (the cubs’ father), ‘Bima’, ‘Dumai’ and ‘Kali’. Malayan tiger ‘Berani’ also lives in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary. The tigers rotate on and off a number of exhibits.
Belfast Zoo is home to the only Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In fact, there are only 22 tree kangaroos in the whole of Europe and only six of this subspecies.
The newborns father ‘Hasu-Hasu’ and mother, ‘Jaya’, arrived at Belfast Zoo in 2013. Keepers first noticed movement in Jaya’s pouch on in early May 2014, but it was not until recent weeks that the joey’s head was spotted peaking out!
Zoo Curator, Andrew Hope, said “Like all marsupials, female tree kangaroos carry and nurse their young in their pouch. Keepers first noticed movement in the pouch back in May, but it is only recently that the joey has started to make an appearance. The joey will remain in Jaya’s pouch for several more months before starting to explore and, for this reason, it is not yet possible for keepers to determine the sex or the name of the latest arrival.”
As their name suggests, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are tree-dwelling mammals, found in the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They can climb 15 to 20 feet up tree trunks and can leap more than 30 feet through the air from branch to branch!
Belfast Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said “Belfast Zoo is home to a number of extremely rare and endangered species and, while the team is always ecstatic when any of the animals successfully breed, we are particularly over the moon with the arrival of the tree kangaroo joey! Only 13 zoos internationally are home to Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos, so the arrival of our joey is spectacular! The population of Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo has dramatically declined in the last 30 years due to the habitat destructions and hunting. Zoos have an important and active role to play in their conservation, and I am proud that Belfast is leading the way for Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo in the UK and Ireland.”
Woodland Park Zoo’s lion pride just got bigger.Three African Lions were born, at the Seattle zoo, on Oct. 24th!
Photo Credits: Dr. Darin Collins/Woodland Park Zoo (1,2); Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo (3); Ruaha Carnivore Project (4)
The cubs represent the first litter between the mother, 5-year-old ‘Adia’ (ah-DEE-uh), and 7-year-old father, ‘Xerxes’. This is the first offspring for the father. The last birth of African Lions was in 2012 when Adia gave birth to four cubs with a different male.
Zookeepers moved the cubs into the off-view maternity den where the new family can bond in comfortable, quiet surroundings. Before reuniting the cubs with mom, the animal health team did a quick health assessment of the cubs and determined that all three are males. The father remains separated from the cubs and mother. Zookeepers are monitoring the new family round-the-clock. The mother and cubs are bonding and nursing, according to Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
The first 48 hours are critical, and animal care staff will be monitoring each of the cubs closely for signs of normal behavior and development over the next several weeks. “Animal management staff are closely monitoring the litter via an internal cam to ensure the mom is providing good maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing. The mom and cubs will remain off public view until they are a bit older and demonstrate solid mobility skills. In addition, outdoor temperatures need to be a minimum of 50 degrees,” said Ramirez.
“The birth of the lions is very exciting for all of us, especially for Xerxes who was not represented in the gene pool for the lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation breeding program,” said Ramirez.
Lion cubs typically weigh about 3 pounds at birth. They are born blind and open their eyes within a week or two after birth. As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health check-ups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.
Xerxes arrived in the spring from El Paso Zoo, to be paired with Adia, under a breeding recommendation by the SSP for African Lions. Adia arrived in 2010 from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. SSPs are a complex system that matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability. Pairings also take into consideration the behavior and personality of the animals.
Woodland Park Zoo’s lions belong to the South African subspecies, Panthera leo krugeri. Known as the Transvaal Lion, it ranges in Southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands. These lions range in weight from 260 to 400 pounds.
Three tiny Otter cubs are melting the hearts of visitors at the United Kingdom’s Newquay Zoo after making their first public appearance this week.
Photo Credit: Newquay Zoo
Born in September, the Asian Small-clawed Otter cubs are still in the nest box, but zoo visitors can view them through a glass panel. It won’t be long before the pups begin learning to swim under the careful guidance of their parents and others in the zoo’s group of 19 Otters.
“The cubs are impossibly cute," said Newquay Zoo Director Stewart Muir. “Asian Small-clawed Otters are incredibly social animals, compared with other Otter species, so visitors will be able to watch how the cubs’ siblings play an active role in teaching them how to cope in the strange new world outside the nest."
Asian Small-clawed Otters are carnivores, and they work together to kill prey, much the same as a pride of Lions. In the wild, they hunt Snakes, Lizards, Crabs, Toads, Rodents, Quails and other birds. Their zoo diet includes ground meat and small mammals to reflect their natural food sources in the wild.
Asian Small-clawed Otters are the smallest Otter species in the world and are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction, water pollution and over fishing have led to a rapid decline in their numbers in Southeast Asia. The IUCN estimates the global population has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.
Seven rare Chinese Crocodile Lizards recently were born at the Staten Island Zoo. This may seem like a large litter, but the last litter included 11 babies!
Photo Credit: Staten Island Zoo
Chinese Crocodile Lizards are native to China and Vietnam, where they live in cool forests. These Lizards are semiaquatic, often sitting in streams or among vegetation, awaiting passing insects, worms, and tadpoles. Unlike most reptiles that lay eggs, they give birth to live young.
Due to extensive habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade, Chinese Crocodile Lizards are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Just over 1,000 of these Lizards are thought to remain in the wild.
Denver Zoo recently celebrated the birth of its very first Fossa (FOO-sah) pup!
Photo Credits: Denver Zoo
Born on July 28th, the male Fossa pup, ‘Rico’, stayed behind the scenes for his first couple months, under the watchful, attentive eye of his mother, ‘Violet’.
Rico was born to Violet, and father, ‘Dorian’. Violet was born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in June 2010 and arrived at Denver Zoo in April 2012. Dorian was the very first Fossa to live at Denver Zoo, arriving in February 2010 from Utah’s Hogle Zoo. He was born at the San Diego Zoo in May 2006. The two were paired in early June when Violet was mature enough to breed. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.
Fossas almost resemble small mountain lions, but their closest relative is actually the mongoose. They have short, brown coats. Adults stand about 8 inches tall at the shoulder and can stretch about two-and-half feet from head to backside. Their tails can be just as long and provide good balance when navigating though trees while hunting for prey. Their teeth, jaws and partially retractable claws resemble those of a cat, but their agility has been described as almost primate-like. They can hang upside down and quickly climb to the top of a tree.
Even though they may only weigh about 20 pounds, Fossas are the largest mammalian carnivore on Madagascar. Roughly half their diet consists of lemurs, but they also eat lizards, birds and smaller livestock. Fossas are cathemeral, meaning they are active and looking for prey at any part of the day or night, depending on mood and food availability.
The Fossa is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. However, with less than 2,500 estimated individuals in the wild, experts are uncertain about the future of the species, due to a lack of sightings. It is estimated, in the past 21 years, there has been a population reduction exceeding 30% and beyond. Their major threats come from habitat loss and hunting.
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo has recently experienced a Nigerian Dwarf Goat baby boom! Six goat babies were born: three on Friday, October 10th and three on Sunday, October 12th!
Photo Credits: Shannon Calvert
‘Peaches’, who is four and a half years old, gave birth to one male and two female kids. ‘Cupcake’, also four and a half years old, gave birth to one female and two male kids. ‘Rodney’, at two and a half years old, is the proud father of all six. The ‘kids’ are all healthy, happy and welcome additions to the goat yard. This is the third set of kids for both moms.
"These kids are high energy and were bouncing around the farmyard within hours of their birth. Visitors coming this month will enjoy seeing them play and jump around having fun," explained Gregg Dancho, Beardsley Zoo Director.
The yet-to-be-named kids will begin to nibble on hay and grains later this week and spend the next few months nursing.
Visitors can enjoy a visit to the Farmyard, at the zoo, to see the newest arrivals.
The youngsters were born September 2nd and are, now, wonderfully playful six-week-olds! ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ have their hands full but are assisted in babysitting duties by their elder offspring.
Meerkats are native to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, much of the Namib Desert, southwestern Angola, and South Africa. They are members of the mongoose family and primarily insectivores, but Meerkats will also eat other small animals, reptiles, arachnids, birds and fungi.
Meerkats are small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day. They are very social, living in colonies, known as ‘clans’ or ‘mobs’, of about 20-50 individuals.
Meerkats forage in a group with one ‘sentry’ on guard watching for predators while the others search for food. A Meerkat can dig through a quantity of sand equal to its own weight in just seconds.Baby Meerkats do not start foraging for food until they are about one month old, and do so by following an older member of the group who acts as the pup's tutor. The Meerkat standing guard makes peeping sounds when all is well. If the Meerkat spots danger, it barks loudly or whistles.
There are, currently, no major threats to the Meerkat, in the wild. Their main predators are martial eagles and jackals. They occasionally succumb to snakebites from confrontations, as well. They are, at this time, classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
NaturZoo Rheine, in Germany, is excited to share news of the arrival of their newest Gelada Baboon baby.
Photo Credits: Eva Bruns / NaturZoo Rheine
The baby was born October 13th and is the sixth Gelada Baboon birth, this year, at the zoo. The new birth brings the total number of Geladas, currently kept at NaturZoo, to 65. The zoo has the largest group of this unique primate species of any zoo worldwide.
For more than 20 years, NaturZoo Rheine has kept the international studbook for the Gelada Baboon. By the end of 2013, a total of 303 Geladas were living in 21 zoos across Europe, which are all part of a European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), managed by NaturZoo.
The Gelada Baboon is native to the Ethiopian Highlands of Africa and spends much of their time, in the wild, foraging in grasslands. They are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, but their populations have reduced from an estimated 440,000 in the 1970s to around 200,000 in 2008. Major threats to the Gelada, in the wild, are a reduction of their range as a result of agricultural expansion and shooting of them as crop pests. Threats that once existed, but no longer do, are trapping for uses as laboratory animals and killing them to uses in making clothing.
The sex of the new baby is still unknown, but keepers are crossing their fingers for a female. Geladas prefer a ‘harem-like’ social unit, consisting of one adult male and several females, with their offspring. Currently, there is a surplus of males within the zoo’s roster, and a new female would not only even the playing field, but provide a viable candidate for the future of the breeding program.