When a Southern Three-banded Armadillo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo this spring, keepers selected a fitting name for the golf-ball-sized female: Pallina, which happens to be the name of the small white ball in a bocce set.
Within a month of her birth on February 28, Pallina more than quadrupled her weight – the equivalent of a seven-pound newborn human weighing 32 pounds at one month of age!
Pallina is the first offspring for parents Lil and Titan and the first Armadillo born at the zoo since 2011.
Armadillos are known for their ability to curl into a ball, using their hard outer shell to protect their face and soft underside. The outer “armor” is made of keratin, the same material that makes up your fingernails. Southern Three-banded Armadillos are native to South America, where they inhabit parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil and feed on a variety of insects.
Southern Three-banded Armadillos are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Primary threats include habitat destruction as native grasslands are converted to farms. Hunting and capture for the pet trade also contribute to the Armadillos' decline.
With huge eyes, spotted wings, and tubular nostrils, Eastern Tube-nosed Bats are a unique and fascinating Australian Fruit Bat species. Two of these little Bats are currently being cared for at the Australian Bat Clinic.
Photo Credit: Rachael Wasiak/Wakaleo
Video Credit: Adam Cox/Wakaleo
The two Bats were injured in the wild and brought to the Clinic. One of the Bats was attacked by a Kookaburra, and the other was caught in barbed wire. Once the Bats recover from their injuries, they will be released back into the wild.
It’s rare for humans to encounter these Bats, because they are shy and extremely well-camouflaged. As fruit-eaters, Tube-nosed Bats disperse the seeds of many native and exotic fruiting trees, including fig trees.
Eastern Tube-nosed Bats live in forests along Australia’s northeastern coast.
A Bornean Orangutan was born on December 5 at Zoo Krefeld, in Germany.
Proud mother, Lea, welcomed the lovely female infant. Because of the baby’s beautiful orange-red coloring, keepers decided to name her Suria, from the Malay (Sanskrit) word for “sun”.
Suria is the third infant born to Lea, and her older brother, Changi, has embraced the presence of his new sibling.
Although Suria is beginning to explore her exhibit, she still prefers to cling to the safety of her mother, as can be seen in these amazing images captured by photographer, Arjan Haverkamp.
Photo Credits: Arjan Haverkamp
The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species of Orangutan native to the island of Borneo. Together with the Sumatran Orangutan, it belongs to the only genus of great apes native to Asia. Like other great apes, Orangutans are highly intelligent, displaying advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild.
The Bornean Orangutan is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.
The total number of Bornean Orangutans is estimated to be less than 14% of what it was in the recent past. This sharp decline has occurred mostly over the past few decades due to human activities and development.
Species distribution is now highly patchy throughout Borneo; it is apparently absent or uncommon in the southeast of the island, as well as in the forests between the Rejang River in central Sarawak and the Padas River in western Sabah (including the Sultanate of Brunei). A population of around 6,900 is found in Sabangau National Park, but this environment is at risk.
According to Harvard University anthropologist, Cheryl Knott, in 10 to 20 years, Orangutans are expected to be extinct in the wild if no serious effort is made to overcome the threats they are facing.
A rare Pheasant, usually found in the rainforests of South East Asia, has been successfully bred at Chester Zoo for the first time. Two Great Argus Pheasant chicks hatched on May 3, after a 24-day incubation.
With Great Argus Pheasant numbers in steep decline across much of its native range, keepers at the Zoo have hailed the arrival of the young pair.
The birds, which are found on the Malaysian peninsula, south Myanmar, South West Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra, are iconic in their homeland but are threatened by hunting and habitat loss.
Photo Credits: Chester Zoo
Andrew Owen, Curator of Birds, said, “The Great Argus Pheasant [Argusianus argus] is under real pressure in parts of South East Asia. Like so many bird species in that part of the world, they are the victim of rapid deforestation and illegal trapping.”
“Great Argus males, in particular, are amongst the most unusual and distinctive of all birds, with their astonishingly long wing and tail feathers adorned with thousands of eye-spots. It is their beauty, which is, in part, what makes them so prized by hunters. To have two chicks hatch here for the very first time in the zoo’s long history is a great achievement; they’re certainly important young birds.”
As part of its mating ritual, the male constructs a ring on the ground out of sticks and twigs, then calls to entice a female to enter into the circle. He then performs a mating dance, culminating in him spreading his wings wide to show off a complex pattern of eyespots in his plumage.
It is these ‘eye-spots’ that give the Argus Pheasant its name: Argus Panoptes (or Argos) being a many-eyed giant in Greek mythology.
The Great Argus Pheasant has been evaluated and is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
The calves were born to a herd of seven females and one male that arrived at the Bronx Zoo from Ft. Peck, Montana in November 2016.
The herd was a historic gift from the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. The Fort Peck Bison are from the Yellowstone National Park bloodline and are among the few pure Bison remaining. The vast majority of present-day Bison, or Buffalo, have trace amounts of domestic cattle genes, a reflection of past interbreeding efforts when western ranchers tried to create a hardier breed of cattle. (More information about the historic gift and transfer can be found at the WCS Newsroom: http://bit.ly/2qTVHvF ).
The female Bison were pregnant when they arrived at the Zoo, and the calves were born in late April. “These calves will bolster our efforts to expand our breeding program of pure Bison,” said Dr. Pat Thomas, WCS Vice President/General Curator and Associate Director of the Bronx Zoo. “They will eventually be bred with other pure Bison to create new breeding herds in other AZA-accredited zoos, and to provide animals for restoration programs in the American West.”
Photo Credits: WCS/ Julie Larsen Maher
The Bronx Zoo has a long history of facilitating Bison conservation projects in the western U.S., and the birth of these calves provides a welcome boost to the Zoo’s ongoing efforts to establish a herd of pure Bison.
For more than five years, the Bronx Zoo has worked on developing a herd of pure bloodline through embryo transfer. The Bison from Ft. Peck will supplement those efforts. The bull, currently on exhibit with the females and calves, was the first American Bison born as a result of embryo transfer in 2012. (More information about the Bronx Zoo’s efforts to breed bison through embryo transfer can be found on the WCS Newsroom: http://bit.ly/2q6kji7 ).
The American Bison (Bison bison), also commonly known as the “American Buffalo” or simply “Buffalo”, is a species that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds. They became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle.
However, the Bison is now an American conservation success story. In the early 1900’s, the species was on the verge of extinction: numbering fewer than 1,100 individuals, after roaming North America in the tens of millions only a century earlier. In 1907 and 1913, the Bronx Zoo sent herds of Bronx-bred Bison out west to re-establish the species in its native habitat.
A lively trio of North American River Otter pups recently made their debut at Oakland Zoo. A male and two females were born February 9, and they were introduced to the public prior to Mother’s Day weekend. According to keepers, their mom, Rose, has been doing a great job taking care of her new litter.
Zookeepers have also given names to the active pups. The boy has been named Si’ahl (“see-all”), and his sisters have been named Imnaha (“em-na-ha”) and Talulah (“ta-lou-la”).
The arrival of the pups brings the total number of North American River Otters, at Oakland Zoo, to six: their mom, dad Wyatt, and grandma, Ginger (Ginger is mother to Rose).
The pups are still nursing, but have begun eating solid foods consisting of fish and some meat.
“We are pleased to have our sixth healthy litter of Otter pups since 2011. This is Rose’s second litter, and we are happy that she is once again being a great mother to her pups. You can see Rose and her three pups daily at the Oakland Zoo, in the Children’s Zoo,” said Adam Fink, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo.
Photo Credits: Oakland Zoo
Zookeepers have been tracking the baby Otters’ growth and health with bi-weekly checkups, referred to as "pupdates" to Zoo staff. Rose has only very recently been venturing into the exhibit with her pups. Swimming is not instinctual; therefore, pups do not go on exhibit until they are strong enough swimmers and a certain size.
Zoo guests are now able to watch the new pups in their exhibit daily. The River Otter exhibit is located in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo.
Three Chicken Turtles hatched in mid-April at the Tennessee Aquarium. The tiny trio hatched from eggs that were laid in January by adults in the Aquarium’s ‘Delta Swamp’ exhibit.
At their initial exam, each of these hatchlings measured less than two inches long. As adults, they will grow to about 10 inches in length.
Photo Credits: Tennessee Aquarium
The Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia) is an uncommon freshwater turtle native to the southeastern United States.
The name "chicken" commonly refers to the taste of their meat, which, at one time, was popular in southern U.S. markets. The species is characterized by a long neck and unique coloring, which could also contribute to the reason for their name.
The Tennessee Aquarium’s herpetologists often point out that Chicken Turtles look as if they are wearing striped pants when viewed from behind.
Chicken Turtles are semiaquatic turtles, found both in water and on land. They prefer quiet, still bodies of water such as shallow ponds and lakes, ditches, marshes, cypress swamps, and bays. They prefer water with dense vegetation and soft substrate.
The turtles are omnivorous, eating crayfish, fish, fruits, insects, invertebrates, frogs, tadpoles, and plants. During the first year of their lives, they are almost completely carnivorous.
Eggs hatch in about 152 days. The turtles lay eggs during the winter months, with the eggs hatching in the spring. The eggs undergo diapauses: meaning, the eggs don’t develop immediately after laying as with other species of turtles.
The Chicken Turtle is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Populations are currently considered stable throughout their range, although they do face potential threats.
Habitat destruction reduces suitable habitat for foraging, migration, and hibernation. Chicken Turtles are sometimes killed while crossing roadways, as they migrate between habitats.
Denver Zoo is happy to announce the birth of Umi, an endangered Malayan Tapir. The female calf, whose name means “life” in Malayan, was born to mother Rinny and father Benny early in the morning on May 6. She is only the third Malayan Tapir ever born at the Denver Zoo.
Photo Credit: Denver Zoo
Rinny has already proven to be a very patient mother, calmly making sure Umi is nursing successfully. Rinny was born at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and Benny, who was born at the City of Belfast Zoo in Ireland were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.
Though they are most closely related to Horses and Rhinos, Tapirs are similar in build to Pigs, but significantly larger. Malayan Tapirs have a large, barrel shaped body ideal for crashing through dense forest vegetation. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a long, prehensile snout, similar to a stubby version of an Elephant’s trunk. Malayan Tapirs are the largest of the four Tapir species. As adults, they can stand more than three feet tall and are six to eight feet long. Adult Tapirs weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. They are excellent swimmers and spend much of their time in water. They can even use their flexible noses as snorkels!
As adults, Malayan Tapirs have a distinctive color pattern that some people say resembles an Oreo cookie, black in the front and back, separated by a white or gray midsection. This provides excellent camouflage that breaks up the Tapir’s outline in the shadows of the forest. By contrast, young Tapirs have color patterns that more resemble brown watermelons, with spots and stripes, which help them blend into the dappled sunlight and leaf shadows of the forest to protect them from predators.
Malayan Tapirs are the only Tapir native to Asia. Once found throughout Southeast Asia, they now inhabit only the rain forests of the Indochinese peninsula and Sumatra. With a wild population of less than 2,000 individuals, they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), due to habitat loss and hunting.
Penguins typically lay two eggs a few days apart. When the first chick hatches, it receives all of mom and dad’s attention. Penguin chicks are very demanding and squeal loudly as they appeal for food, which is regurgitated by the parents. By the time the second chick hatches a few days after its sibling, the older chick, which may have nearly doubled in size by now, continues to get all the attention and parents may ignore the younger chick. The younger chicks in penguin nests often do not survive in nature.
Because Humboldt Penguins are rare, keepers took the Pedro and Perdy, who were both second chicks, into their care to ensure the birds’ survival.
Photo Credit: Paradise Park Keeper Bev Tanner explains, “Pedro and Perdy are being hand-reared as often in a nest with two chicks only one is successfully raised by the parents. As this is an endangered species it is very worthwhile for us to take the second chick and rear it to increase our flock.”
When chicks are in the nest, they have fluffy grey down feathers. They remain in the nest for about three months, at which time they have developed the waterproof plumage needed for swimming. Juveniles are grey and white, developing the distinctive black-and-white adult plumage at one year old. The pattern of dark speckles on the adult’s lower chest is unique to each Penguin and helps to identify each individual.
Humboldt Penguins are native to the western coast of South America, where they fish in the cold Humboldt current for which they are named. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Historically, Humboldt Penguins were threatened by extensive mining for their guano (accumulated droppings), which was used for fertilizer. Today, the main threats are habitat loss and competition with invasive species.
On April 27, Annakiya, an Eastern Bongo, gave birth to a female calf at Franklin Park Zoo.
The morning after her birth, the 42-pound-calf had her well-baby examination, which included a general physical examination and blood work.
Dr. Alex Becket, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian in the department of Animal Health and Conservation Medicine, remarked after the exam, “The calf appears healthy. She is bright, alert and responsive, and is also very strong and active. As with any new birth, we are monitoring the mother and baby closely. Annakiya is an experienced mother and is doing everything a mother bongo should.”
The calf is expected to be on exhibit for short periods of time for Mother’s Day weekend, weather permitting.
Photo Credits: Kayla St. George (Images 1-3) / Zoo New England (Images 4, 5)
The Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is herbivorous and mostly nocturnal. It is among the largest of the African forest antelope species.
Bongos are characterized by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns (both sexes have horns).
Bongos are classified into two subspecies. The Western or Lowland Bongo (T. e. eurycerus) faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN classified it as “Near Threatened” on the conservation status scale.
The Eastern or Mountain Bongo (T. e. isaaci) is found in Kenya. It has a more vibrant coat than the Western Bongo.
The IUCN Antelope Specialist Group has classified the Eastern Bongo as “Critically Endangered”. There are currently more specimens in captivity than in the wild.
Franklin Park Zoo has played a key role in growing the North American captive population through successful breeding. Since 1984, 17 Bongo calves have been born at Franklin Park Zoo.
Zoo New England participates in the Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This latest birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Patrick (age 6) and Annakiya (age 14). This is Annakiya’s third calf, but it is her first with Patrick.
Bongos are the largest, and often considered the most beautiful, forest-dwelling antelope found in the rainforests of equatorial Africa. Shy and elusive, Bongos are known for being almost silent as they move through dense forests.