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April 2016

Maned Wolf Pups at Greensboro Science Center


Greensboro Science Center is excited about the birth of two Maned Wolf pups! The pups, a male and a female, were born on March 7 to mom Anaheim and dad Nazca.

The wolves’ exhibit was closed from mid-February till the beginning of April, in preparation for the birth and to allow the new family to bond.

The pups are now on exhibit, but staff remind visitors to keep in mind that the pups may or may not be visible, depending on whether or not they choose to come out of their den boxes.

The Greensboro Science Center is also excited to announce that the pups now have names! After a contest was conducted via social media, the zoo is happy to introduce…Rio and Rosario.



4_13047779_10154159763068833_7753853476064369246_oPhoto Credits: Greensboro Science Center

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is not a fox (nor is it a wolf), as it is not closely related to other canids. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "golden dog").

This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south, central-west, and southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes, and far southeastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only). It is very rare in Uruguay, possibly being displaced completely through loss of habitat. The IUCN classifies it as “Near Threatened”, while it is considered a vulnerable species by the Brazilian government (IBAMA).

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Rare Banteng Born at Chester Zoo

1_A rare banteng calf, named Jasmine, has been born at Chester Zoo (1)

A rare Banteng born at Chester Zoo has provided a welcome boost to the conservation of the South East Asian species.

The Banteng is a wild forest-dwelling member of the cattle family. It is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its numbers have declined dramatically in the last 50 years due to habitat loss and hunting throughout its native range. Recent estimates suggest there could be fewer than 5,000 left in the wild.

But, in a bid to counteract the worsening threat to their survival, Chester Zoo has joined forces with the wider global zoo community, international conservationists and the Indonesian government to support Banteng conservation in South East Asia.

The coordinated approach to conservation brings together the skills of top zoos (breeding, animal husbandry, veterinary treatment and education) with those of local experts, conservationists and sanctuaries on the ground.

2_A rare banteng calf, named Jasmine, has been born at Chester Zoo (17)

3_A rare banteng calf, named Jasmine, has been born at Chester Zoo (7)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo’s new female Banteng calf, which keepers have named Jasmine, arrived to mum Pankhuri and dad Gaston. She is the first youngster to be born since the conservation collaboration was formed at the end of March 2016.

Johanna Rode-Margono, the Zoo’s South East Asia conservation field programme officer who is working on the conservation of Asian wild cattle, said, “Zoos from Europe, America and Indonesia, field conservationists and Indonesian government representatives have, for the first time, joined forces in a global collaboration - working together to share expertise and resources for the conservation of Banteng. The new-born calf is a very important step towards a sustainable insurance population of the species.”

Jasmine is one of the first mammals to be born in Chester Zoo’s new Islands Zone exhibit, which showcases threatened species from region of South East Asia. Her arrival means the zoo now has a herd of ten Banteng (four males and six females).

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, added, “By making sure there is a viable global population of Banteng in zoos, whose genetic diversity represents the genetic diversity in the wild, the global zoo community can play a key role in the conservation of the species. There’s no doubt that zoos are now an important piece of the puzzle in the long-term protection of Banteng.”

“We’re thrilled with our new calf and are pleased to say she is strong and doing extremely well. Hopefully she will draw some much needed attention to these very special animals and help us to highlight the plight of her cousins in the wild. The Banteng is one of the few remaining species of totally wild cattle in the world, and, in the wild, they are hardly ever seen.”

“Sadly the threat of extinction to these magnificent animals is imminent. Banteng are now rarely sighted in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo where their remaining forest home is fragmented and populations isolated. They’re facing a real battle for their survival as forests across South East Asia are being turned into palm oil plantations and hunting for their horns and meat, although illegal, is rife.”

The Banteng (Bos javanicus) is similar in size to domestic cattle, measuring 1.55 to 1.65 m (5 ft. 1 in to 5 ft. 5 in) tall at the shoulder and 2.45–3.5 m (8 ft. 0 in–11 ft. 6 in) in total length, including a 60 cm (2.0 ft.) tail. Body weight can range from 400 to 900 kg (880 to 1,980 lb.).

In mature males, the shorthaired coat is blue-black or dark chestnut in color, while in females and young it is chestnut with a dark dorsal stripe. Both males and females have white stockings on their lower legs, a white rump, a white muzzle, and white spots above the eyes. The build is similar to that of domestic cattle, but with a comparatively slender neck and small head, and a ridge on the back above the shoulders. The horns of females are short and tightly curved, pointing inward at the tips, while those of males arc upwards, growing 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) long, and being connected by a horn-like bald patch on the forehead.

Banteng live in sparse forest where they feed on grasses, bamboo, fruit, leaves and young branches. The Banteng is generally active both night and day, but in places where humans are common they adopt a nocturnal schedule. Banteng tend to gather in herds of two to thirty members.

Reticulated Giraffe Calf Born at San Francisco Zoo

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The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens recently welcomed a new addition. A female Reticulated Giraffe calf was born April 8 in the Bernard Osher Foundation Giraffe Barn.

Mother, Barbro, and her calf are in excellent condition, and the calf stood up and took her first steps within 30 minutes of birth. She’s already more than six-feet tall!

“It is such a special time when babies are born at the Zoo,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “You can’t help but fall in love with this calf the moment you see her. We are so fortunate to be able to share this exciting news with our community.”

2_SF Zoo Calf_photo by Marianne Hale

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4_SF zoo giraffe calf 3Photo Credits: Images 1,3,4,5: San Francisco Zoo / Image 2: Marianne Hale


The newest arrival joins six other giraffes in the herd. The calf, not yet named, has a two-year-old sister, Sarah. Dad, Floyd, has fathered a number of giraffes at the Zoo.

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.

The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos.

A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs. at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth, and they are weaned at around one year of age.

In the wild, giraffes have few predators, but they are sometimes preyed upon by lions and less so by crocodiles and spotted hyenas. However, humans are a very real threat, and giraffes are often killed by poachers for their hair and skin.

Currently, there are thought to be less than 80,000 giraffes roaming Africa, and some subspecies are thought to be almost completely gone, with fewer than 100 individuals. Reticulated Giraffes are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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The Force Awakens…and Explores at Sacramento Zoo!

1_Red River Hoglets First Exam_5 April 2016_TC (1 of 16)

On April 3, 2016 the adult pair of Red River Hogs at the Sacramento Zoo welcomed two female hoglets and two males, each weighing between 2 and 2.5 pounds. Inspired by Star Wars, zookeepers have named the two males Poe and Kylo, and the females have been named Finn and Rey.

2_Red River Hoglets First Exam_5 April 2016_TC (6 of 16)

3_Red River Hoglets First Exam_4 April 2016_TC (26 of 32)Photo Credits: Sacramento Zoo


The quad recently explored their exhibit for the first time with mom and dad. The family has access to their yard and off-exhibit dens.

When fully grown, the hogs will weigh between 120 and 250 pounds and reach three to five feet in length. Until about three months of age, hoglets are brown with yellowish stripes. This coloring serves as effective camouflage in the wild. Adult Red River Hogs are best known for their long ears with hair tufts and reddish-brown fur.

Native to the dense tropical forests of Central to West Africa, localized Red River Hog populations are in decline due to subsistence hunting for food, being killed as agricultural pests, and the commercial bushmeat trade.

The Sacramento Zoo’s participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Red River Hog SSP program contributes directly to the species’ long-term survival.

**Zoo fans can become a Red River Hog Zoo Parent for a donation of $80. They will receive a photo of the youngsters, a plush hog, and more! Follow this link for more info:

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“Mary Had a (Very) Little Lamb!”

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A tiny Ouessant Lamb was born earlier this month at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK.

Park Director, Nick Reynolds, commented, “We keep Ouessant Sheep in the Fun Farm here at Paradise Park. As one of the world's smallest breeds, their lambs are very tiny and very cute…hopefully visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of our new arrival.”

2_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall

3_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 2

4_Ouessant Lamb Paradise Park Cornwall 3Photo Credits: Paradise Park

The Ouessant (or Ushant) is a breed of domestic sheep from the island of Ouessant off the coast of Brittany, France. Occasionally called the Breton Dwarf, it is one of the smallest breeds of sheep in the world. Rams are around 49 centimetres (19 in) tall at the shoulder, and the ewes about 45 centimetres (18 in).

Most Ouessant are black or dark brown in color, but white individuals do occur. The rams have relatively large horns, and ewes are polled.

The Ouessant existed exclusively on its home island until the beginning of the 20th century, and it is still a rare breed today.

The breed is primarily used for wool production. In Paris, the city government recently began using a small herd of Ouessant sheep to graze public lands.

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Baby Sloth Worth the Wait

Sloth Baby at Drusillas Park3
A baby Sloth born at Great Britain’s Drusillas Park is the first ever born in the zoo’s 91-year history.

The little Linne’s Two-toed Sloth was born to female Sidone and her mate Sophocles on March 26. Zoo keepers had been anxiously awaiting the birth, and were thrilled to find the baby on their early morning rounds.

Sloth Baby at Drusillas Park
Sloth Baby at Drusillas Park2Photo Credit:  Drusillas Park

Though this species of Sloth is not rare in the wild, births are not common in zoos.  In the past year, only four were born in the United Kingdom and just 27 were born worldwide.

Because Sidone was hand-reared as a youngster, keepers were concerned that she would lack mothering skills.  However, Sidone is proving to be an excellent mother to her new baby.

Sidone and Sophocles were introduced in January 2014, and like all Sloth activities, they took their time getting to know each other.  After a ten-month gestation period, their baby finally arrived.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths are native to northern South America’s rain forests, where they spend nearly all their lives in the treetops.  Sloths are specially adapted to eat, sleep, and mate while hanging upside-down from a branch.  They descend to the ground only to defecate and move to a tree that cannot be reached from their home tree.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Are a Triple Threat of Cuteness


Clouded Leopard triplets were born March 30 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. They are under the 24-hour care of keepers who feed them seven times a day and see to all of their other needs.

They squeak. They crawl a bit--sometimes over each other. They huddle together closely, looking like a big ball of spotted fur with legs and tails sticking out. They eagerly eat their special formula. And they sleep…a lot!

“Hand-rearing of these endangered exotic cats is an established practice that’s critical for their well-being as cubs and their later participation in the Species Survival Plan program for Clouded Leopards”, said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb.

Goldfarb has spent three decades caring for and raising endangered cats, and is known internationally as an expert in raising Clouded Leopards.

The cubs each weighed around 13 ounces, or just about three-quarters of a pound, at their first checkup. It’s still too early to tell their genders for certain, and they have yet to be named. The zoo will issue a news release and post to its Facebook page when details are available on how the public can help name the cubs.



4_160406_pdza_leopardcubs_42Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 

No date has been determined for their public debut, but zoological staff members expect the triplets’ feeds will be viewable in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit Cub Den by the end of April.

“These cubs are particularly valuable to the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program because the genetics of their mother, Sang Dao, are not represented in the population. That increases genetic diversity among the Clouded Leopards in North America,” Goldfarb said.

Sang Dao came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium three years ago from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas. The cubs’ father, Tien, was born at Point Defiance Zoo three years ago. They are first-time parents.

The species is under significant pressure in the wild from encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching.

The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.

“These cats are very rare,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “We hope visitors to the zoo will connect with them and be inspired to take action to help save their species in the wild.”

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has been a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Both Goodrowe Beck and Goldfarb, supported by The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund, have worked with zookeepers in Thailand on improving ways to breed and rear Clouded Leopards. Goodrowe Beck holds a Ph.D. in reproductive biology.

Having a robust population of Clouded Leopards in zoos allows scientists to study the species’ behavior, physiology and medical conditions. That’s not possible in the wild, Goodrowe Beck said. But the information gained may one day help scientists develop conservation strategies for helping the species in the wild.

Maintaining Clouded Leopard populations in zoos allows animals like Sang Dao and Tien – and their cubs – to inspire people to take action on behalf of wildlife and wild places.

The Point Defiance Zoo’s “Paws for the Cause” program, meanwhile, helps consumers understand the link between some foods they eat, products they use and the deforestation of animal habitat half a world away.

The program also provides shoppers with tips on choosing products with deforestation-free palm oil and ways to get engaged by urging companies to make wildlife friendly choices in the raw materials they buy.

Palm oil, used in a wide variety of goods from candy to shampoo and body lotion to laundry soap, is derived from the oil palm tree. And some palm oil production results in wholesale destruction of the habitat on which Clouded Leopards, Orangutans, Tigers, Tapirs and other animals depend.

To learn more about this and how to take action, go to:

To learn more about Clouded Leopards, go to: and

Tacoma zookeepers founded the nonprofit Clouded Leopard Project 15 years ago ( The group works closely with the Zoo and The Zoo Society in fundraising efforts for conservation projects.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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Brown Kiwi Chick Thriving at San Diego Zoo


The San Diego Zoo’s Avian Propagation Center is caring for a Brown Kiwi chick for the first time in more than a decade. The female chick hatched from its egg March 11, and as is typical of this species, it didn’t eat for the first six days. The chick began eating and gaining weight, and on April 5, 2016, it weighed 11.8 ounces (333.6 grams).

It is typical for this bird species to lose weight for two weeks after it has hatched. San Diego Zoo animal care staff report the female chick lost 26 percent of her body weight before she began gaining weight the last week of March.

The Kiwi has several unique and unusual traits: it does not fly, the mothers do not feed their chicks, and the egg is four times the expected size for a bird of the Kiwi’s proportions.

Animal care staff will continue to monitor the Brown Kiwi chick, measuring its weight and observing the young bird in a brooder over the next several weeks.

The San Diego Zoo successfully reared its first Brown Kiwi in 1983, and the recent hatching marks the Zoo’s 11th chick. The San Diego Zoo is one of just six zoos in the United States working with these endangered birds.

Kiwi_002_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo

The North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli; Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri) is a species of Kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35,000 remaining, is the most common Kiwi. This bird holds the world record for laying the largest eggs relative to its body size.

Females stand about 40 cm (16 in) high and weigh about 2.8 kg (6.2 lb). Males weigh about 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). Their plumage is streaky red-brown and spiky. The North Island Brown Kiwi is the only species of Kiwi found internationally in zoos.

They feed on invertebrates. They have two-three clutches a year with two eggs in each clutch. Chicks are fully feathered at hatching and leave the nest and can fend for themselves within one week.

The North Island Brown Kiwi is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their major threats come from predators, such as dogs, cats, and stoat Mustela erminea.

Nationwide studies show that, on average, only five percent of Kiwi chicks survive to adulthood. However, in areas under active pest management, survival rates for North Island Brown Kiwi can be far higher.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Virginia Zoo Is Naming Their Tiger Cubs

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If you’ve ever wanted to name a tiger cub, now is your chance! The Virginia Zoo will be auctioning off the naming rights for both male Malayan Tigers born in January.

The online auction began April 14, 2016 and will conclude at the Zoo’s upcoming fundraiser, “Zoo To Do”, on May 14, 2016.

If you are unable to visit the Virginia Zoo’s fundraiser, online bids can be placed at the following link: . Bidding starts at $100. The proceeds raised from the event and auction will go to the “Defining Moments” capital campaign which funds the Zoo’s newest expansion, World of Reptiles.



4_12901340_10154210228293054_5043478179320769504_oPhoto Credits: Virginia Zoo

The two Malayan Tiger cubs were born at the Virginia Zoo on January 6. The males arrived, about 12 hours apart, to parents Api and Christopher.

The cubs were born after the typical 103 days gestation to a healthy mother. However, with several hours of close observation, the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff were not comfortable with the level of care that first-time mom Api was giving.

After much internal discussion and consulting with the National Species Survival Plan Chair for Malayan Tigers, the decision was made to remove the cubs from the mother and hand-rear them.

(See ZooBorns original post introducing the brothers—which includes video! “Critically Endangered Tiger Brothers at the Virginia Zoo”)

The cubs are getting bigger by the day. Recently, they had their 12-week vaccines and each boy weighed-in at 25 pounds.

The boys have their deciduous set (baby set) of incisors and canine teeth. They are also still teething and enjoy chewing on their toys. At around 6 months of age, their baby teeth will fall out and adult/permanent teeth will come in.

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Rejected Cheetah Cub Finds a Home at Cincinnati Zoo


Four Cheetah cubs in the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery now have a brother from another mother:  A lone Cheetah cub, just 12 days older than the zoo’s litter of four, arrived in Cincinnati from Oregon’s Wildlife Safari after his mother was unable to care for him.

25614535764_e41463f765_bPhoto Credit:  Mark Dumont   

Wildlife Safari and the Cincinnati Zoo, both members of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition (BCC), agreed that it would be beneficial for the single cub to join the four cubs being cared for in the zoo’s nursery.  “Socialization and companionship, ideally with other Cheetahs, is important at this age,” said Christina Gorsuch, Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Because the four premature cubs in the Nursery are still receiving critical care, it will be a week or two before they’re introduced to the bigger cub.  “He’s stronger and much larger than the other cubs.  We will supervise initial visits and ease him into the mix,” said Gorsuch.

All of the cubs will eventually become ambassadors for their species. Two males will move to another zoo and the others will remain in Cincinnati as part of the Cat Ambassador Program.        

Nursery and vet staff are doing everything they can to help the cubs gain weight and make it past the critical one-month milestone. They will remain in the nursery for four to six more weeks.   Visitors may be able to view the cubs through the nursery windows, but some feedings and exams will take place behind the scenes.   

Cheetahs are endangered, and their population worldwide has shrunk from about 100,000 in 1900 to an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 Cheetahs today. 

See more photos below.

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