On January 7, the Peoria Zoo welcomed their newest Giraffe calf. Mom, Vivian, gave birth to a 5 foot 10 inch, 122 pound baby girl!
The Zoo endeavored to carefully document this latest Giraffe birth. Their goal was to not only celebrate the incredible birth, but to continue to improve husbandry techniques and share their birthing experience with other zoos around the world.
A camera was installed in Vivian's maternity holding stall to monitor and record the birth. Staff had been monitoring the camera, 24/7, for months in preparation of the birth. When the big moment finally came, the entire process was captured on video.
Photo Credits: Peoria Zoo
Because Giraffes are threatened in their native habitat, every birth is important. The process gives zoologists, conservationists, and researchers the opportunity to study the species and their offspring, as well as educate and inspire zoo visitors.
In conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), Peoria Zoo participates in cooperative breeding programs dedicated to building healthy, thriving Giraffe populations, with an emphasis on maintaining genetic diversity. Information gained through SSP husbandry and reproduction programs is used to promote meaningful initiatives meant to foster growth in wild giraffe populations.
The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce the birth of its first-ever female Okapi calf.
The calf was born on November 10, 2017 and is the second offspring for 14-year-old mother, Opey, and the first for three-year-old father, Jackson. The couple was paired together as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program with the goal of increasing the Okapi population, which is rapidly declining in the wild. The yet-to-be-named calf spent the first couple of months, behind the scenes, bonding with mother and familiarizing herself with her new home and the animal care staff.
"I am thrilled to welcome this new Angeleno into the world, and congratulate the staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, and her mom, Opey, on the birth of this Okapi calf," said District 4 Councilmember David Ryu. "This rare and beautiful animal is a testament to the Los Angeles Zoo’s incredible work caring for and fostering endangered animals."
Photo Credits: Jamie Pham (Image 1) / Tad Motoyama (2)
The Los Angeles Zoo contributes funds to The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP), a conservation group initiated in 1987 with the objective of eliciting support for the conservation of wild Okapi from individuals, foundations, and zoological institutions managing Okapi around the world. The Okapi is an important flagship species for the rainforest habitat that is rapidly vanishing due to expansion of human settlement, deforestation, and forest degradation. Over the last decade, the wild Okapi population has dropped and there are estimated to be between 10,000 and 50,000 left in the wild. There are currently close to 100 Okapi in U.S. AZA-accredited facilities.
“There was a time not so long ago when having Okapis in a Zoo was extraordinarily rare,” said Josh Sisk, Curator of Mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. “But, due to Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs being so proactive and being able to breed these animals in Zoos, the captive population is doing extremely well. This is just one example of how important zoos are for helping sustain such an endangered species. By guests being able to see an Okapi in a Zoo, it starts a conversation about how we can save this species and their habitat in the wild.”
Native to central Africa, the Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), also known as the “forest giraffe”, this reclusive species is rarely seen in the wild and was discovered by Europeans in 1901. Because of their naturally shy nature and inclination to live deep in the dense forest, researchers and people passing through the area rarely spot an Okapi in its native habitat. Observing this beautiful animal in a Zoological setting is most likely a person’s only opportunity to get up close to an Okapi in their lifetime.
While some guests may confuse this shy, solitary animal with a zebra due to the brilliant black and white striped patterns on its front and hind legs; it is actually the closest living relative to the giraffe. The markings act as a kind of “follow me” sign so that offspring can stay close to their mothers in the dark central African forests they inhabit. The thick coat that covers most of the Okapi’s body is velvety and very oily. The adult has a 14-18 inch long, prehensile tongue, stands at over six feet tall, and weighs between 400-700 pounds.
Guests can now view the female calf and her mother out in their habitat daily, weather permitting. The female calf brings the Zoo’s Okapi group to four, including mother Opey, father Jackson, and a four-year-old male Okapi born in August 2013 named Berani. Berani was the first calf ever born at the L.A. Zoo since the species was added to the Zoo’s collection in 2005.
Franklin Park Zoo’s new Baird’s Tapir made her exhibit debut last week, and now the sweet calf needs a name!
Zoo New England is running a naming contest via CrowdRise, with donations supporting Global Wildlife Conservation’s Nicaragua Tapir Project. With a $5 minimum donation, members of the public can vote for their favorite name for the calf, now through January 31. Follow this link to vote: https://www.crowdrise.com/babytapir
The female calf was born on January 1 to 28-year-old dad, Milton, and 13-year-old mom, Abby. This is the fourth offspring for both parents.
Photo Credits: Franklin Park Zoo / Zoo New England
Zoo New England participates in the Baird’s Tapir Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Because the AZA managed Tapir population is so small – 29 males and 20 females (including the new calf) – every successful birth and survival helps to secure the captive population. The new female calf at Franklin Park Zoo helps to balance out this small, but male skewed population.
Perth Zoo’s new Nepalese Red Panda cub was given its first health check, just as an Australian conservation organization helped rescue six Red Pandas being trafficked across international borders.
Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland said, “We were very excited to welcome a new cub to the Zoo family, however it coincides with the rescue of six Red Pandas from wildlife traffickers, emphasizing just how perilous it is out there for these animals.”
Photo Credits: Alex Asbury/ Perth Zoo
The rescued Red Pandas, destined for the illegal wildlife trade, were taken into the care of one of Perth Zoo’s conservation partners, Free the Bears, after being seized on the border of Laos and China. Tragically, only three of the six survived their first night due to severe stress and potential exposure to disease.
“The recent rescue in Laos highlights how vital coordinated zoo breeding programs are for the survival of this endangered species. It ensures we have an insurance population in place to fight extinction.”
Including the new cub, Perth Zoo has successfully reared 19 Nepalese Red Pandas since 1997.
The two-month old Red Panda was born to 9-year-old mother, Anusha, who was also born at Perth Zoo, and 6-year-old father, Makula, who was born in Canberra.
"Today our veterinarians gave our furry new arrival a quick health check of its body condition, eyes, teeth, ears and weight,” Marty said. “The Perth Zoo team are also consulting with Free the Bears, providing advice on appropriate diets and how to reduce heat stress for the rescued pandas.”
Nepalese Red Pandas are found across the Himalayan Mountain and foothills of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Deforestation and illegal poaching continue to be significant threats to remaining populations. Less than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild.
Apart from coordinated breeding programs, Perth Zoo is committed to saving wildlife and has several conservation partners, including Free the Bears, and an ongoing partnership with TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade monitoring network. Jointly we help fund a Wildlife Crime Analyst position to fight wildlife trafficking and poaching.
Perth Zoo’s Red Panda cub is expected to emerge from the nest box in April.
Those wanting to help Red Pandas are encouraged to donate to Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action program, which supports organizations including Free the Bears and TRAFFIC, helping protect animals beyond the Zoo’s borders.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is delighted to announce the birth of a Nile Hippopotamus, the first Hippo born at the park in 13 years.
Born on January 13 at approximately 10 p.m., the calf is staying close to mom Tuma. The animal care team is giving Tuma and her calf plenty of room to nurse and bond, so the calf’s gender and weight may not be known for some time. Typically, a newborn Hippo calf weighs between 60 and 110 pounds.
Photo Credit: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Adult Hippos weigh 2,500-3,300 pounds. They are the world’s third-largest type of land mammal. Hippos reside near water, often spending the day submerged and leaving the water at night to graze on grasses. They live in groups of a few dozen animals. The mouth, the position of which is an important communication tool among members of a bloat (group of Hippos), can open to 180 degrees.
Hippos can hold their breath for several minutes before surfacing to breathe. If a Hippo is asleep underwater, it remains asleep as it rises to the surface to breathe.
Tuma and her mate Henry were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Nile Hippopotamus is a Vulnerable species with a declining population. This birth is an important contribution to the worldwide conservation and understanding of these creatures.
There’s a new addition to the Greater Flamingo family at New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo. The little chick hatched on January 9 in the Flamingo exhibit as an amazed group of zoo visitors looked on.
Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo
This is the first time a Flamingo chick hatched on exhibit at the zoo, and it’s also the first chick to be parent-reared at the zoo. (All of the other chicks hatched at the zoo have been hand-reared by zoo staff.)
The chick’s parents are Cheviot and Neil, who are also the parents of a young female named Otis. For the first few days after hatching, Cheviot and Neil shared the task of sitting on the chick until it learned to walk. Now, the chick explores on its own, with mom or dad close by.
As you look at these photos of the chick over its first nine days of life, you can see how the chick has changed. At first, the chick had a gold-colored egg tooth at the tip of its beak. This tiny projection is found in reptiles and some birds and helps the chick to internally pip and break through its eggshell. It eventually falls off as it is no longer needed.
Just after hatching, the chick had a red bill and plump pink legs. After about a week, the chick’s beak and legs turned very dark purple.
There’s a new Penguin in the Kansas City Zoo’s ‘Helzberg Penguin Plaza’ exhibit!
Several months ago, the Zoo was fortunate to receive a King Penguin egg from the St. Louis Zoo. The Kansas City Zoo incubated the egg until it was ready to hatch, and on November 8, the new chick made its way out of his shell.
He was hand-raised, behind the scenes, by a group of dedicated Zookeepers until ready to acclimate to the temperatures and feathered friends that come with his permanent exhibit.
Now, through the course of voting via social media, the handsome young King Penguin has been given the very regal name “Louie”.
Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo
The chick has grown a lot in two short months, and the Zoo encourages visitors to see him in his ‘penguin playpen’, right on the other side of the glass at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.
The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus (found in the South Atlantic) and A. p. halli. (found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island).
King Penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid. They are less reliant on krill and other crustaceans than most Southern Ocean predators.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo started the new year with the birth of a rare Bornean Orangutan. The endangered, female primate was born in the early morning of January 6 to experienced mother Dee Dee, weighing in at an estimated three pounds.
Photo Credits: Lowry Park Zoo
There are fewer than 100 Bornean Orangutans in 24 AZA-accredited institutions in North America, making this birth very significant for the species and the Tampa community.
Dee Dee is quite the experienced mother, already giving birth four times successfully, and this is father Goyang’s third baby at the Zoo. In October, a human pregnancy test confirmed that Dee Dee was pregnant. The Zoo’s animal care team and veterinary staff worked closely with Dee Dee to voluntarily participate during ultrasounds.
“Dee Dee continues to do well with her female baby. As an experienced mother, she didn’t show any signs of any possible issues. We determined that Dee Dee’s baby had turned during one of her regular ultrasound exams,” said Dr. Ray Ball, VP of Medical Sciences at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “Careful monitoring and pre-natal care are important, but so is privacy. With veterinary medicine, the baby determines the day of birth, but the mom determines the time. With no signs of a high risk pregnancy, we let her take care of the labor naturally - she determined when it would be time to deliver her baby.”
The Zoo is currently home to a group of seven endangered Orangutans and participates in the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). The program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) protects wildlife species at risk of extinction. The baby will be the tenth Bornean Orangutan born at the Zoo.
“This is a significant birth for the entire critically endangered Bornean Orangutan population,” said Chris Massaro, General Curator at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “It’s important to have the community along for this journey. We hope Dee Dee’s story inspires the public to become advocates for this incredible species and learn about the perils they face in the wild.”
Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) can be found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The species is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN due to critical habitat loss, increased use of palm oil, poaching and pet trade. The population declined more than 50 percent during the last 60 years.
Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have named their new Okapi calf, “Meghan”, in honor of Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle.
The name is particularly fitting since Okapis were first brought to the world’s attention in 1901 by another Harry - ZSL fellow, Sir Harry Johnstone.
Zookeeper, Gemma Metcalf said, “A new birth is always cause for celebration, but Meghan’s important arrival is also a great opportunity to draw attention to the Okapi, which is an extremely endangered species.”
After a 14-month gestation, it was a relatively speedy birth for first-time mum, Oni. The youngster emerged in just over half an hour on December 9, 2017. It wasn’t long before keepers, who were watching on camera from the next room, saw the newborn rise up to take her first tentative steps towards mum for a feed.
Gemma continued, “We’re very pleased with how mother and baby are doing. Oni is being very attentive, making sure she regularly licks her clean and keeping a watchful eye over Meghan as she sleeps.”
Photo Credits: ZSL (Zoological Society of London)
An important addition to the Zoo family, Meghan is already a firm favorite among visitors. To find out more about Okapis and the 18,000 other incredible residents at ZSL London Zoo visit: www.zsl.org
The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), also known as the ‘forest giraffe’ or ‘zebra giraffe’, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the species bears striped markings similar to zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe.
They are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to a decline in populations.
Planckendael’s famous Asian Elephant, Kai-Mook, recently gave birth to her first calf! Zoo staff shared that the much-anticipated baby made his entrance into the world sometime between the late hours of January 12 and early January 13.
According to keepers, the baby has a head of hair and has already exceeded the size of his niece, Suki, who was born on Christmas Day. During the delivery, the Zoo’s other female elephants provided support for Kai-Mook, just as they do in the wild.
Kai-Mook was pregnant for a total of 630 days. The baby was soon on his feet after the delivery and has been very active. The calf is very inquisitive, and Kai Mook is proving to be a caring mother to her baby. Zookeepers have not yet confirmed, but they suspect the calf is a boy. If this is the case, he will one day be an important and valuable candidate for the breeding program of the endangered Asian Elephant.
Zoo Coordinator, Ben, related after the birth: "[The calf] is a solid 100 kilos. I am very happy that everything went perfectly… a healthy elephant here…It can now grow together with our Christmas elephant, Suki.”
Photo Credits: KMDA / Planckendael
New mother, Kai-Mook, was born at ZOO Antwerp on May 17, 2009. She was the first elephant born in Belgium, and according to the Zoo, the whole country was “upside down” and in a festive mood at news of her birth almost a decade ago.
Asian Elephants at Planckendael are given Asian-inspired names. Kai-Mook means “pearl” and called the Christmas elephant was given the name Suki, which means “beloved”. The Zoo encourages their fans and supporters to offer name suggestions for the newest calf. The requirements are that it have an Asian influence and start with the letter “T” (each year, all babies born at the Zoo are named using the same beginning letter). Please share your suggestions via the Zoo’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #KaiMookMama. For more info, visit their website: www.planckendael.be
Planckendael plays an active role in the international breeding program for the endangered Asian Elephant. Since the birth of Kai-Mook in 2009, RZSA supports the corridor project of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in India. In Thirunelli Valley, in South India, human and elephants compete for the same lands: the people want to live and grow crops, the elephants like undisturbed passage, without coming into contact with conspecifics. In South India, the ANCF corridors (walking lanes) are there solely for the elephants. Elephants try to keep away from villages and this provides people with an alternative piece of land elsewhere to edit. Thus, the harmony between man and animal is restored there.
The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.
Since 1986, the Asian Elephant has been classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.