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September 2016

Baby Tapir Shows Off His Snout

ASX_5910-Amiee-Stubbs-web TWLike all baby Tapirs, a newborn Baird’s Tapir born August 28 at the Nashville Zoo looks suspiciously like a brown watermelon with a snout.  But rest assured, this little male will eventually sport a smooth, dark brown coat and weigh up to 800 pounds.

ASX_5920-Amiee-Stubbs-webPhoto Credit:  Amiee Stubbs

The calf’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, were brought to the Nashville Zoo from Central America to introduce a new genetic line to the zoo-dwelling Tapir population. 

Because this calf was Juliet’s first baby, the zoo staff set up a remote camera system and monitored her around the clock as her delivery date approached.  Juliet went into labor at 4:00 PM on August 28 and delivered her healthy calf just 20 minutes later.  Tapirs are pregnant for about 400 days.

Tapirs’ snouts are elongated and very flexible.  These snouts are used to grab leaves and other vegetation and pass it to the mouth.    

Baird’s Tapirs are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, where they are the largest land mammals.  They have very few natural predators, but are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching.  Tapirs are legally protected in most of their range, but lack of enforcement results in significant losses.


Meet Baby Babette, the Jaguar Cub

A female Jaguar cub born June 29 at the Tulsa Zoo has been named Babette by zoo staff.

Babette is still behind the scenes in a private den with her mother, Ixchel, where keepers observe the pair via remote cameras to ensure that the cub is nursing and developing properly. 

14107831_10150676483779996_5236588206761736691_oPhoto Credit:  Jenna Schmidt/Tulsa Zoo
In the wild, Jaguar cubs remain in the den for several months and begin accompanying their mothers out of the den when they are about six months old.  So far, Ixchel is proving to be an attentive mother, which is no surprise given that this is her third litter.

Babette is named after her father Bebeto, who died of age-related complications in April. 

Jaguars’ predatory prowess is well known.  These big cats have extremely powerful jaws, and typically kill their prey by biting through the skull into the brain. 

Despite their formidable physical abilities, Jaguars are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in their native range of Mexico, Central America, and South America.  Jaguars prefer tropical rain forests, which are shrinking due to human activity.  Experts estimate that only about 10,000 Jaguars remain in the wild.

There are about 100 Jaguars in North American zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  The AZA oversees the Species Survival Plan, which manages the Jaguar population for optimum genetic diversity. Babette will be an important part of the breeding program when she reaches adulthood.


Omaha Zoo Announces Names of Tiger Trio


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium recently held a contest to find names for their new Amur Tiger cubs. The endangered cubs were born July 7 to mom, Isabella, and ZooBorns shared their birth-story just a few days ago: Tiger Trio Debuts at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

Today, it was announced that keepers have made a decision, based on the names submitted by excited zoo visitors. The female cub has been named Aurora (a name suggested by Mackenzie Haake of Bellevue, Nebraska). One of Aurora’s brothers has been named Finn (submitted by Mary Vedder of Bellevue, Nebraska). The biggest boy in the trio has been given the name, Titan (suggested by 3 year-old Linden DeVard of Omaha, Nebraska).

Aurora currently weighs in at 15.5 pounds, Finn is a healthy 17 pounds, and Titan is just at 18 pounds.

The naming contest was held from August 18 though August 25. Guests to the Zoo were invited to submit the name ideas into a box at the Cat Complex exhibit. The cat’s keepers selected the winning names. According to the Zoo, there were 2,576 names submitted. The entrants of the winning names will receive a unique gift basket.

The cubs remain on display with their mom in the Cat Complex. While they are still nursing, the trio is showing an interest in their mom’s food and they will start eating meat at around three months old.



Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (Image 1: Aurora; Image 2: Finn; Image 3: Titan; Image 4: mom, Isabella)

The Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Siberian Tiger, is a subspecies inhabiting mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region, with a small population in southwest Primorye Province in the Russian Far East.

The Amur Tiger once ranged throughout all of Korea, northeastern China, Russian Far East, and Eastern Mongolia. In 2005, there were reported to be 331–393 adults and sub adult Amur Tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals.

The Amur Tiger and Bengal Tiger subspecies rank among the biggest living cats. An average adult male Siberian Tiger outweighs an average adult male Lion by around 45.5 kg (100 lb.).

The Amur Tiger is reddish-rusty, or rusty-yellow in color, with narrow black transverse stripes. It is typically 5–10 cm (2–4 in) taller than the Bengal Tiger, which is about 107–110 cm (42–43 in) tall.

Amur Tigers mate at any time of the year. Gestation lasts from 3 to 3½ months. Litter size is normally two or four cubs but there can be as many as six. The cubs are born blind, in a sheltered den, and are left alone when the female leaves to hunt for food. The female cubs remain with their mothers longer, and later, they establish territories close to their original ranges. Male cubs, on the other hand, travel unaccompanied and range farther, earlier in their lives, making them more vulnerable to poachers and other tigers.

At 35 months of age, Tigers are sub-adults. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 48 to 60 months.

The Amur Tiger is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN’s report: “…despite a bounce back in tiger numbers in 2010 after a very cold and snowy winter in 2009 (Miquelle et al. 2010). Poaching of Tigers as well as their wild prey species is considered to be driving the decline (Schwirtz 2009). Moreover, a broad genetic sampling of 95 wild Russian tigers found markedly low genetic diversity, with the effective population size (Ne) extraordinarily low in comparison to the census population size (N), with the population behaving as if it were just 27–35 individuals (Henry et al. 2009). This reflects the recent population bottleneck of the 1940s, and concords with the low documented cub survivorship to independence in the Russian Far East (Kerley et al. 2003). Further exacerbating the problem is that more than 90% of the population occurs in the Sikhote Alin mountain region, and there is little genetic exchange (movement of Tigers) across the development corridor, which separates this sub-population from the much smaller subpopulation, found in southwest Primorye province (Henry et al. 2009).

In China, the small population is not independently viable and dependent on movement of animals across the border with Russia.”


Nest Full of Endangered Conure Chicks at UK Park

1_Two Grey-breasted Conure chicks Paradise Park Cornwall

Five critically endangered Grey-breasted Conure chicks recently hatched at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK.

Park Director, Alison Hales, remarked, “We first received this species at Paradise Park in 2015. We were keen to co-operate in the breeding scheme for these pretty Conures, because the status of the species in the wild is ‘Critically Endangered’. Sadly, surveys show that they are declining rapidly, owing to heavy trapping and ongoing habitat loss within their range.”

“Our pair came from Chester Zoo and produced five chicks in their first season here.”

Seven eggs were produced this season, and five chicks hatched. Eggs hatch in the order they are laid, so one is several days older and larger than the youngest. At their nest check, all had full crops and are competing successfully for food. Their parents are doing a great job.

Curator David Woolcock has already been working with other bird collections and has set up two further unrelated pairs at Paradise Park. This latest brood is a valuable addition to the captive population.

2_Grey-breasted Conure Chicks together Paradise Park Cornwall

3_Adult Grey-breasted Conure Paradise Park, Cornwall

4_Grey-breasted Conure group at Paradise Park in CornwallPhoto Credits: Paradise Park


The Grey-breasted Conure (Pyrrhura griseipectus), also known as Grey-breasted Parakeet, is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. It is endemic to Ceará in northeastern Brazil and restricted to a few mountains, with relatively humid forest and woodland in a region otherwise dominated by arid Caatinga.

Until recently, it was considered a subspecies of the White-eared Parakeet, as Pyrrhura leucotis griseipectus. The split was based on their widely disjunct distributions, differences in measurement of bill, and subtle differences in color of crown, ear-coverts and chest.

The Grey-breasted Conure is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It has an extremely small wild population and occupies a very small known range. The population is estimated to be less than 250 adult birds.

Find out more about the species on the World Parrot Trust website: