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August 2020

Giraffe calf a welcome winter arrival at Dubbo Zoo

Giraffe calf Layla on exhibit

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the arrival of a female Giraffe calf born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

The calf has been named Layla by her keepers, meaning born overnight in Swahili. Layla is the fifth calf for experienced mother Asmara and was sired by Unami.


“Layla is doing very well so far, she is a very confident calf and is already following the herd around rather than sitting in a secluded area of the paddock like most newborn calves,” said Giraffe Keeper Jack Foley.

“Visitors over the school holiday period were very lucky as she was out on exhibit with the herd from one day old, so lots of people saw her in those first couple of weeks as she was finding her feet.”

“Giraffe calves are like any other newborn, active for a period of time and then resting. The best time to see Layla is in the mornings when she is generally more active,” said Jack.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a successful history breeding Giraffe and has become the region’s breeding powerhouse for the species. The Zoo often transfers Giraffe to other Zoos throughout Australia. Recently a mother and calf were transferred to Taronga Zoo, Sydney and three males were transferred to the African Savannah exhibit in Dubbo to join the bachelor herd.

The gestation period for a giraffe is 14 – 16 months. Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade with the global population falling up to 40 per cent in the last 30 years as a result of poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment.

Taronga is active in supporting the plight of Giraffes in the wild, with a well-established partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, one of the largest community conservancies under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The conservancy has improved wildlife security in important animal populations including Giraffe, among other species, by creating a safer ground for their movement and improving rangeland health.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo now has 11 Giraffe in the main breeding herd and another seven Giraffe in the bachelor herd on the African Savannah.

UK first: Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo

UK first. Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo - and they_re adorable! (2)

The first set of Andean bear twins ever to be born in the UK have emerged from their den at Chester Zoo.

The playful cubs were born in January, but have only now started to venture out and explore, having spent their first six months cuddled up by the protective side of their mum, Lima (8).


UK first. Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo - and they_re adorable! (8)

Revealed as one boy and one girl, the rare cubs were spotted outside enjoying a bit of ‘friendly rough and tumble’ and attempting to climb trees, before following mum back to their den for a well-deserved nap.

Bear conservationists at the zoo – which recently reopened after three months of closure - have named the adorable duo Pacha (female) and Mateo (male), and have hailed the birth of the cubs as “very, very special.” Experts estimate that fewer than 10,000 Andean bears remain in the wild.

Lucy Edwards, Chester Zoo’s Assistant Team Manager of Carnivores, said:

“Andean bears are incredibly shy animals and, for this reason, are still something of mystery to conservationists. So to see mum Lima allowing her two little cubs to explore so freely and enjoy a bit of friendly rough and tumble is just wonderful – it’s very, very special. The twin cubs are so full of energy and their playful personalities are really starting to show - it looks like they will be keeping mum very busy.

“Just a few weeks ago, while the zoo was closed, a small team of keepers and vets managed to give the cubs a quick check over and we’re very happy to report that both were given a clean bill of health. It’s great that we can now safely welcome back visitors and they can learn more about Andean bears and see the twins for themselves – an incredibly rare sight, even for conservationists studying them out in the field day in and day out.”

The species was originally made famous by the classic children’s character Paddington Bear who, although found in a London train station in the books, was known to be from ‘deepest, darkest Peru’.

Andean bears are the only species of bear inhabit South America and, as well as Peru, they are found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. They are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction.

Lucy continued:

“Mum Lima is doing an incredible job caring for her new cubs and they seem to be really thriving under her watchful eye. Her new arrivals are vital additions to the endangered species breeding programme, which is working to preserve the species, help conservationists to learn more about them and, ultimately, protect the long-term future of these beautiful bears.

“Alongside this important work in the zoo, our conservationists have also been working in Bolivia, alongside our partners the local NGO PROMETA and the University of Oxford, to understand how Andean bears live in the wild. Together, we are striving to find new ways to prevent conflict between bears and humans – a key threat to this species. The project is the first of its kind in the region and aims to have bears and humans living side by side in harmony.”

Andean bears share their habitat with some of South America’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods are being severely challenged by climate change. Sadly, this means the bears are often targeted by farmers and land owners, as they can pose a threat to crops and livestock in their search for food sources, which are dwindling in their natural range. This is a direct result of habitat loss, brought about by mass-scale deforestation and climate change. Experts suggest that more than 30% of the forests in South America have disappeared in the last 20 years.

Andean bear facts:


  • The cubs were born on 10 January 2020
  • Mum Lima was born on 12/01/2012. She is 8 years old
  • Dad Bernie was born on 14/01/2010. He is 10 years old



Dallas Zoo is thrilled to share that they have welcomed a second blue duiker calf! This male calf was born on August 15 to mom Daisy and dad Viazi. He is 0.88 pounds of pure cuteness. 💚

With only about 35 individuals living in US zoos accredited by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, each blue duiker birth is a major win for the species! Dallas Zoo currently working hard behind the scenes to create an extensive blue duiker breeding program to bolster the genetic diversity of this population and ensure their long-term survival.

Auckland Zoo’s New Baby Rhino Makes Speedy Entry Into World

Posing in bed bebe-1

Auckland Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first baby rhino in 20 years – a healthy female delivered by first-time mum Jamila in a speedy one-hour labour 12 days ago.

The much-anticipated birth of the southern white rhino calf on 14 August to mum Jamila and 30-year-old dad Zambezi follows a 16-month pregnancy - confirmed last April by faecal hormone testing of Jamila’s progesterone levels that were tracked closely throughout her pregnancy.



Screaming Hairy Armadillo Pups at Greensboro Science Center


At the Greensboro Science Center, there are two adult screaming hairy armadillos, Lenny and Rizzo. At the beginning of May, they were placed together for breeding. They were successful and two pups were born on June 19th. These adorable armadillos are the only two born in the US so far this year, an extremely rare and important achievement. The pups, Malcolm and Harriet, are already almost fully grown. They have started exploring their habitat and are enjoying their first tastes of solid food. They will not be fully weaned until they are five months old, so right now they are learning from their mama, Rizzo. When they were brought outside for enrichment, it was discovered Malcolm loves digging! He spent the majority of his time exploring this new environment. And Harriet is enamored with the Burmese star tortoises she met during this time. They have started training and are proving to be just as smart as their mother!


Baby Boom at Nashville Zoo!


Nashville Zoo Has has quite a summer! Learn all about the new babies arriving there over the last few months and weeks by watching the video below!


Caracal Kittens
Born May 10, 2020

Very close to midnight on May 10, 2020, (Mother’s Day) a caracal delivered kittens inside her nest box. They are the first caracals ever to be born at Nashville Zoo, and the animal care team was keeping a close eye on them and wishing their Mom a very special Mother’s Day.

Like human mothers, caracals need time to bond with their new offspring. No need for a “do not disturb” sign. The staff stays clear to give the new family their privacy but monitors them using a small camera placed in the nest box. An online link to the camera allows keepers and the veterinary team to watch from virtually anywhere.

The new mom and kittens did fine and remained together for 7 to 10 days. After that, the animal care team removed the cubs and continued to raise them in the Zoo’s nursery. The mother returned to an area away from the public view where she could relax with her mate and another caracal pair.

Raising the kittens by hand is a necessary and important step in socializing them to people. As they grow, the kittens will become ambassador animals for another zoo. The black tufts of their ears will capture the attention of onlookers who will wonder how a cat less than two feet at the shoulders can jump vertically up to 12 feet high. Guests will also learn that these cats developed this ability to catch birds as they fly by.

This species is important to conservation because they will help us interpret the woodland, savanna and acacia scrub habitats of Africa, the caracal’s native habitat. Guests will learn about the conservation challenges we must address on behalf of caracals. Challenges like habitat loss and trapping due to human conflict.

Cassowary Chick
Hatched June 5, 2020

On June 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed its first cassowary chick into the world. After 54 days of incubation and a few harrowing nights of severe weather, the female chick hatched and was cared for in the Zoo’s HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.

“The males are the ones that sit on the eggs and protect them from harm,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo’s Avian Area Supervisor. “He sat through several bad storms in April and May including the big storm that took down over 60 trees at the Zoo. Two of those were very close to the nest and he never moved!”

During times that the male moved away from the nest, keepers were able to monitor and actually see inside the two, large, pea-green eggs using a portable x-ray machine. Several weeks of observation passed with no development detected in either egg. The keepers made a decision to move the eggs to an incubator at the Veterinary Center giving the cassowary couple another chance to breed and lay viable eggs. Surprise! The veterinary team discovered that one of the eggs was fertile. The chick was born a few weeks later.

Neo weighed 418 grams (just shy of one pound) at birth. She will grow steadily for the next three years until she is fully mature at about five feet high and 130 pounds. Before then, Neo will be sent to another conservation organization to meet her mate.

Double-wattled or Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia and are not considered endangered though their habitat is threatened by commercial development and agriculture. Nashville Zoo helps to protect the cassowary by supporting Australian organizations that preserve this species’ native habitats. The Zoo also participates in the cassowary Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Kangaroo Joey
Appeared June, 2020

On June 30, Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of Kangaroo Joeys. Less than a month later, the zoo’s three oldest joeys (Proodence, Gertroode, and Roothie) were out of the pouch and began interacting with each other. The baby boom continues as there are even more Joeys on the way!

Two Playful Baby Capybara Babies Arrive at Zoo Wroclaw


Two capybaras were born in front of visitors to Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw on Sunday, August 23. They are the first babies of this species born here since 2014. The reason for the long break was the zoo’s 7-year-old female Kiler J. After many failed attempts to pair her with a suitable mate, she finally chose 3-year-old Hans as her partner. The sex of the pups is not yet known, but caretakers say that if at least one pup is female, she will be named for the visitor who first reported the birth.


The capybara (Latin Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest rodent in the world. Males reach a body weight of about 30 kg. In the wild, its range is almost all of South America.

If it resembles a guinea pig, that’s because the species are closely related.

The capybara population in the wild is currently stable, but in South America, soybean cultivation threatens its natural habitat. Like all wild animals, Capybaras make terrible pets.

Kapibara ZOO Wrocław -- maluch 02

DSC00340 Kapibara ZOO Wrocław - maluchy dwa

ZooBorns Top 10 Newest, Cutest Baby Animals (Vol. 4)


10. Blue Duiker Dallas Zoo 9. Snow Leopard Milwaukee County Zoo 8. Beluga Whale Shedd Aquarium 7. Red Panda The Toronto Zoo 6. Screaming Hairy Armadillo Greensboro Science Center 5. Hartmann's Mountain Zebra Marwell Wildlife 4. Eastern Black Rhino Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 3. Wombat Joey Taronga Zoo Sydney 2. Harbor Seal Milwaukee County Zoo 1. ??? Hint: it's one of the most endangered animals in the world!!! Marwell Wildlife


Energetic Beluga Whale Calf Born at Shedd Aquarium


Bella, a 14-year-old beluga whale at Shedd Aquarium, gave birth to an energetic calf on Friday, August 21 at 8:42 p.m. While there are several critical milestones ahead for the new calf, the animal care team is hopeful and encouraged by what they have seen so far. Mom and calf are spending time alone behind the scenes to bond and focus on care.



Bella is a first-time mother, and current scientific knowledge of belugas and dolphins is that first-time mothers often experience a higher calf mortality rate. Observing and scientifically documenting calf interactions is extremely valuable to further identification and understanding of the challenges and successes associated with the species and first-time births, making data collection of the growing calf even more critical. The animal care team remains cautiously optimistic and will continue around-the-clock monitoring to ensure that mom and calf have all the support that they need.

“As the calf swam to the surface and took its first breath, it brought with it the palpable hope of new life and fresh beginnings -- something we all appreciate,” said Dr. Bridget Coughlin, president and CEO of Shedd Aquarium. “We at Shedd Aquarium continue to be humbled by the opportunity we have to share this excitement with the public and create meaningful moments of wonder and learning through the aquatic animal world.”

Bella delivered the calf after nearly 15 hours of labor. While most beluga calves are usually born tail first -- allowing them to unfurl their flukes before the final push and swim to the surface for that all-important first breath -- Bella’s calf arrived headfirst. Despite this, the calf immediately powered itself to the surface.

As is often the case in the days following delivery, the calf is not yet independently nursing. The care team is in the water every three hours, assisting with feeding the calf. The calf weighs in at 139 pounds and measures 5’3” in length. Animal care and veterinary staff were also able to determine that the calf is male.

As is often the case in the days following delivery, the calf is not yet independently nursing. The care team is in the water every three hours, assisting with feeding the calf. The calf weighs in at 139 pounds and measures 5’3” in length. Animal care and veterinary staff were also able to determine that the calf is male.

“Beluga gestation is more than a year long, and we used this time for careful preparations and planning,” said Peggy Sloan, chief animal operations officer at Shedd Aquarium. “Our animal care team is thrilled and grateful for this calf’s healthy and successful arrival. The birth is a testament to our commitment to belugas across the globe, as we are even better positioned to contribute to rescue efforts, policy-making and research meant to safeguard belugas in need.”

On the heels of this birth is the anticipation of another impending beluga calf due any day now to 31-year-old beluga whale, Naya, at Shedd.

In the past few years, Shedd has been called on to assist in two juvenile beluga rescue and rehabilitation efforts – one in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the other up in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. Participation in both unprecedented events was possible due to the decades of daily care and experience with the species.

Shedd will continue to share updates in the coming days on the calf’s development, as well as Naya’s progress.

In the meantime, while guests may not be immediately able to see the belugas, they can come eye-to-eye with sea otters, jellies, sharks and thousands of fish species and much more throughout the aquarium.

Though Shedd is now open to guests, public funding and support remains crucial to Shedd’s continued success. Anyone interested in fueling Shedd’s mission and helping to offset the financial impacts of the aquarium’s closure can do so by purchasing a ticket to visit, symbolically adopting an animal, making a one-time donation or becoming an aquarium member.

Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin