While it is definitely winter for a lot of us, ‘Kibibi’, the 15 week old Hippo calf, is testimony to the fact that it is summer in Australia. Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo have been treating Kibibi to a cooling hose down in the summer heat, while her mother, ‘Cuddles’, enjoys her morning meal.
Photo Credits: Taronga Western Plains Zoo
“Kibibi really enjoys being hosed down just like her mum. I think the sensation of the water spraying over her is a real treat for her,” said Keeper, Carolene Magner.
“We have been working hard to develop a relationship with Kibibi, just like the one we have with her mother, so that she trusts us. Hosing her down is just one way we are working to build a bond with her as she continues to thrive,” said Carolene.
Kibibi is continuing to grow and develop rapidly. She is now well over double her birth weight and growing in confidence.
“She is becoming more confident and will sometimes stay in the shallow water on her own while Cuddles comes out to feed, but most of the time they are spotted side by side in their pond together,” said Carolene.
The sisters are also quite skillful at testing the patience and fortitude of 14-year-old mom, ‘Dshamilja’, and 11-year-old father, ‘Villy’.
The Snow Leopard is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As of 2003, there were only estimated to be a global population of 4,080 to 6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 may reproduce in the wild. There are approximately 600 Snow Leopards in zoos around the world.
In October, ZooBorns introduced you to ‘Chloe’, the orphaned Wombat joey, at the Taronga Zoo. Chloe’s mother was struck by a car, and Taronga keeper, Evelyn Watson, became surrogate mom to the six-month-old joey. Evelyn carried Chloe everywhere, in a makeshift pouch, stopping work for feeding every few hours.
Photo Credits: Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo
Chloe is, now, nine-months-old and out of the pouch. She has become Keeper Evelyn’s loyal companion and assistant during her morning rounds at the zoo.
The morning walks are part of the joey’s continuing development, as she prepares to take her next big step towards returning to the wild.
“It’s a natural behavior and something Chloe would be doing with her real mother if she’d survived. Wombats stay with their mothers for up to two years, walking by their side until they’re old enough to fend for themselves,” said Evelyn.
Now strong enough to walk and explore on her own, Chloe has begun learning the natural Wombat behaviors she’ll need to survive in the wild. Keepers have built the joey a special home in an off-exhibit area to encourage her to dig burrows and forage for her own food.
“She’s really learning how to be a Wombat. Her paws are already toughening up and she’s quite happy digging about on her own,” said Evelyn.
When ready, Chloe will be transferred to a Wombat ‘halfway house’, where she’ll learn how to care for herself, before being released back into the wild.
The twins were born July 1st to mother, ‘Sophia’. Unfortunately, Sophia was unable to provide adequate care for the pair. Zoo staff intervened and began hand-rearing the cubs.
The Zoo decided to ask the public for help naming the cubs. In October, the winning names were selected, in honor of famous Nebraska natives: ‘Carson’ for television icon, Johnny Carson, and ‘Willa’ for writer, Willa Cather.
Today, the duo is not only thriving, but they are thoroughly enjoying the holiday season, especially the snow!
At three weeks old, a Greater One-horned Rhino calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has no problem with the super-sized bottle wielded by a zoo keeper. This little Rhino gulps down a bottle every two hours and gains almost four pounds each day.
Born on November 27, the male calf, who has not yet been named, was cared for by his mother for almost two weeks, but he was not gaining weight as he should. To provide the calf with the optimal care to thrive, he was taken to the Safari Park’s animal care center where he is watched around-the-clock, bottle-fed every two hours, and taken outdoors for exercise each day.
After only a week in the nursery, the little Rhino is growing: he weighed 160 pounds at birth and currently weighs 190 pounds. Adult Rhinos weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds.
Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. This species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching threats. There are an estimated 3,250 Greater One-horned Rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th Greater One-horned Rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this species.
Taronga Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first-ever Bilby joeys. The births cap off an exciting year that saw The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially open the zoo’s new Bilby exhibit named in honor of their son, Prince George.
Photo Credit: Auspic (4), Robert Dockerill (all others)
Two joeys were born about 10 weeks ago, but have only just begun to emerge from their underground nest alongside first-time mother, Yajala.
Yajala arrived from Monarto Zoo in 2013 and her successful pairing with Taronga’s resident male, also named George, is a triumph for the national breeding program for this threatened marsupial species.
“This breeding success will help us build on the incredible exposure of the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George, which brought the message of Bilby conservation to the world,” said Taronga Zoo Director Cameron Kerr.
The Royal couple visited Taronga on April 20 for the dedication of the Prince George Bilby Exhibit, part of the Australian government’s official gift following his birth in mid-2013.
“I’d like to think there was a little Royal magic at work in the birth of these joeys. You could say the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought us good luck, as it’s after their visit that we’ve been able to breed Bilbies for the very first time,” said Bilby Keeper Paul Davies.
The gestation period for the bilby is only 14 days, one of the shortest of all mammals. Joeys are then carried in their mother’s pouch for about 75 days.
Davies said keepers had yet to determine the sex of the two joeys, who still spend much of their time underground in their home.
Bilbies once ranged over most of mainland Australia, but have suffered a catastrophic decline over the past 200 years due to introduced predators such as feral foxes and cats, competition with rabbits and habitat degradation.
Taronga has begun conservation partnerships with the Save the Bilby Fund and Australian Wildlife Conservancy to help protect Bilbies and their remaining habitat in the wild.
A baby Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth made its public debut, recently, at the Topeka Zoo.
Photo Credits: Wrylie Guffey/Topeka Zoo
The sloth was born November 20th to mother, ‘Jackie’, and father, ‘Mocha’. Zoo staff had been closely monitoring Jackie’s pregnancy and had been tracking the growth of the baby via ultrasound. Their excellent zoo and veterinarian staff worked hard to train Jackie to allow them to do an ultrasound on a weekly basis. Gestation for sloths is about 11 ½ months. This is the thirteenth time for Jackie to give birth at the Topeka Zoo, but it is the first offspring for father, Mocha.
It will be a little bit longer before staff can determine the sex, but the baby and mother are doing well. They now make their home in the Zoo’s Rainforest exhibit. For now, the baby is content to snuggle deeply into the fur on mom’s chest, as she makes her way, slowly through the trees of the exhibit.
Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloths are native to Central and South America. They are largely nocturnal and arboreal animals, primarily found in rainforests and deciduous forests. They are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threat in the wild is, believed to be, habitat destruction.
Meet ‘Becky’ and ‘Bandit’, a pair of Bat-Eared Foxes that are now making their home at Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn, South Africa.
Photo Credits: Cango Wildlife Ranch
In their first few weeks of life, the brother and sister have lived something straight from a script for a feature film, or one of those lovely children’s books. A local farmer brought the duo to the Ranch after finding them on his farm. The farmer was building a dam on his property. The dam collapsed, and shortly after, the pups were seen floating in a stream of water. The farmer did his best to locate their den and find the mother. When neither could be located, he realized the pups needed more specialized care to ensure their survival.
The pups were brought to the Cango Wildlife Ranch and were estimated to be around two-weeks of age. After a proper clean-up, they were placed into an incubator for warmth. Staff began feeding them every 3 hours and stared round-the-clock care.
Every day, for 4 weeks, the pups travelled to and from work with the Ranch’s Zoological Manager, Narinda Pentz, who cared for them 24-hours a day. Luckily, she had special help in the form of her 8-year old Labrador, ‘Zoey’. Zoey became a wonderful playmate and guardian, and the fox pups soon took full advantage of her loving, placid nature. Becky was initially quite timid, but has become an outgoing explorer, and her brother, Bandit, can ‘out-dig’ her any day of the week!
The foxes are now at home at the Ranch and both are doing extremely well. They are much loved and adored additions to the Cango Wildlife Ranch family!
An endangered Florida Bonneted Bat has found a new home, inside a camera pouch, at Zoo Miami.
The baby was found by a Miami park ranger, last month, and was soon given the moniker, ‘Bruce’, after the famed comic book character. Volunteers tried to locate the mother in the vicinity, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Wildlife rescue officials were contacted, and the baby bat was sent to a rescue center in Fort Lauderdale. After it was determined the baby was a rare Bonneted Bat, federal officials turned its care over to Zoo Miami.
Photo Credits: Dustin Smith
Frank Ridgely, a veterinarian and head of conservation and research at Zoo Miami, began feeding the bat a milkshake of diluted goat’s milk, crushed bug guts, and high-protein powder. ‘Bruce’ is responding well to the feedings and is happily growing accustomed to his new home, snuggling into his camera pouch-sleeping bag.
This is the first juvenile Bonneted Bat rehabbed, according to experts, and the entire process is a learning experience for zoo staff and wildlife officials. Bruce’s development and progress will provide vital information about the endangered bats. Biologists are still working to discover key elements in the bat’s lifestyle: such as diet and roosting habits.
Although it is not known how Bruce was separated from his mother, there is speculation that recent tree trimmings in the area could have disturbed his roost. The time of year baby Bruce was found also provides previously unknown information for biologists. The baby bat was found in November, suggesting that the Bonneted Bats’ birthing season lasts longer than was suspected.
The Florida Bonneted Bat is native to the southern portion of Florida, excluding the Florida Keys. Previously known as Wagner’s Mastiff Bat, the bat was reclassified, in 2004, as a separate species, unique to Florida. They are classified as ‘Endangered’, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Perth Zoo bred animals were released into a 150 hectare (371 acre) fenced area at Whiteman Park, giving them a chance to establish in the absence of foxes and cats, which have likely contributed to their decline in the wild.
Lisa Mantellato, from Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program, said: “We have bred Dibblers for release into various habitats in the past, but this is the first time they have been returned to metropolitan Perth. Judging from sub-fossil records, Whiteman Park formed part of the Dibbler’s former natural range. We hope that through this program we can establish a self-sustaining population of Dibblers within the metropolitan parkland.”
Perth Zoo has been breeding Dibblers for release since 1997 resulting in the establishment of two new wild populations. In 1996, the first recovery plan was put in place by the Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife, with an aim to increase the species’ numbers and expand their distribution. The 2007 recovery plan maintains the need for a captive breeding colony to establish further populations.
Dr Tony Friend, from the Department of Parks and Wildlife said: “Establishing populations of small carnivores is always challenging and the Dibblers certainly fit that bill with a short life-span, matched with a ‘live fast and die young strategy to life’. So anything that limits the success of the first few years of breeding in the wild can have a big impact.”
Fourteen of the Dibblers will carry tiny radio transmitters, weighing less than one gram each, to assist in determining the success of the reintroduction into the predator-free area. University of Western Australia researchers will undertake the monitoring to learn more about the habits of this crepuscular animal and help inform future recovery actions.
This endangered Western Australian species was once found in coastal areas around the south-west corner of Australia, from SharkBay around to Albany and east to the western parts of South Australia, but by the early 1900s they were thought to be extinct. Only a chance discovery in 1967 revealed the species still survived, though in much smaller numbers. Since then, Dibblers have only been found to survive, in the wild, on two small Jurien Bay islands and in the Fitzgerald River National Park.
The Dibbler is threatened by loss of habitat caused by land clearing, the plant disease Phytophthora, die-back, and wildfires. On top of that, introduced foxes and cats also prey on them.
Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program breeds threatened Western Australian fauna for release into natural habitat. Since 1992, more than 2700 animals bred at the Zoo including Dibblers, Numbats, Western Swamp Tortoises and endangered frogs have been released into the wild and through this collaboration between Parks and Wildlife and Perth Zoo, a huge effort continues to save the State’s wildlife.