An adorable short-beaked echidna puggle is the one of the latest patients to be brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and is now being hand raised after an interesting turn of events saw it requiring specialist care.
The puggle was brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month from the Central Coast after members of the public saw it drop about 4m to the ground from a tree where a raven and magpie were perched. The puggle had scratches and lacerations to its back so it’s suspected that it was taken from its burrow by a bird of prey before being dropped after proving an unsuccessful meal.
After arriving at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, the puggle was assessed by a team of vets and vet nurses including x-rays, blood tests and a thorough look over, and thankfully deemed to be in surprisingly good health considering its ordeal.
Senior Keeper Sarah Male is now responsible for hand-raising the puggle. This includes second-daily feeds of a specially formulated echidna milk formula which the puggle laps off her palm followed by a bath. The puggle then returns to its makeshift burrow to sleep off the feed for 48hours before Sarah repeats the process all-over again.
“Despite its ordeal, this little puggle doing so well. Since arriving at the hospital its lacerations have almost completely healed, it’s putting on weight and is also starting to grow a thin layer of fur all of which are all promising signs.
“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months. I’ve hand-raised of lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience for me,” said Male.
Echidnas are only one of two species of monotremes in the world, meaning they are unique mammals that lay eggs and also suckle their young. Sadly, it is not it is not uncommon for the Taronga Wildlife Hospital to care for echidnas as they come into contact with cars on the road or are attacked by domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
This puggle joins more than 1,400 native wildlife patients who are treated by specialist vets and vet nurses across Taronga’s hospitals in Sydney and Dubbo each year. The Taronga Wildlife Hospital is open 365 days a year providing care to an array of Australian. Help our hospital team continue to their vital work by donating to our Wildlife Recovery Appeal: taronga.org.au/wildlife-recovery
On October 14, a multidisciplinary team of veterinarians and physicians successfully delivered a male gorilla baby via Cesarean section at the Franklin Park Zoo.
In the days leading up to the delivery, Kiki, a 39-year-old western lowland gorilla, experienced vaginal bleeding, which at times was significant. With Kiki’s due date just days away, the veterinary team at Zoo New England became concerned that she may have placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies over the entrance to the cervix, blocking the path for delivery of the baby.
At 4:00 p.m. on October 14, the Zoo New England veterinary team, along with specialists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, performed an ultrasound on Kiki and quickly confirmed that she did have placenta previa. The Animal Care and veterinary teams transported Kiki to the Zoo Hospital on grounds at Franklin Park Zoo and prepped her for surgery, which once underway went quickly and smoothly.
At 6:35 p.m., the 6 pound, 3 ounce gorilla infant was delivered. He’s a big baby, as gorilla infants typically weigh 3-5 pounds, and is the first male gorilla ever born at Franklin Park Zoo.
“For the health of mom and baby, it was imperative to quickly diagnose Kiki’s condition and perform a C-section before she went into labor on her own. We were fortunate to quickly mobilize an amazing team with our colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation. “This was truly a team effort, and we are relieved and happy that the surgery went smoothly and that mom and baby are both safe and healthy.”
Zoo New England’s veterinary and animal care teams were assisted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital obstetricians Dr. Julian Robinson, Dr. Thomas McElrath, Dr. Sara Rae Easter, Dr. James Greenberg, and RN Monique Williams, Brigham & Women’s Hospital neonatologists Dr. Linda Van Marter and Dr. Elizabeth Flanigan, and veterinary anesthesiologist Dr. Emily McCobb and veterinary anesthesia resident Dr. Emily Wheeler from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Following the delivery, Kiki recovered from surgery while the baby was cared for by Zoo staff where Kiki was close enough to see and hear the baby. The pair were successfully reunited the following afternoon on October 15, and Kiki has been very attentive, holding the baby close. Mother and baby have bonded well and continue to be closely monitored and cared for behind the scenes. For news on when they will make their exhibit debut, please check our website or follow us on social media.
Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla 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. Kiki’s pregnancy was the result of a recommended breeding by the SSP with her mate Kitombe, affectionately known as Kit. Kiki has previously given birth to four female gorillas – her youngest two reside at Franklin Park Zoo, while her oldest two reside at other AZA-accredited zoos per breeding recommendations.
Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. Western gorillas, found in the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, and Central African Republic, are divided into the Cross River and western lowland subspecies. Both are considered critically endangered. Threats to gorillas vary geographically and western gorillas are primarily threatened by disease and the bushmeat trade.
Zoo New England has been a longtime supporter of gorilla conservation, devoting passion, expertise and resources to the preservation of this iconic species. Zoo New England is currently supporting a project to protect Cross-river gorillas in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria. Here at home, Zoo New England participates in the Eco-Cell recycling program, an initiative which partners with zoos across the country to collect recycled cell phones and refurbish them for reuse. This reduces the need for coltan mining, which causes the destruction of endangered gorilla habitats.
Twenty one Storks bred at Cotswold Wildlife Park have taken flight in one of the UK’s most ambitious rewilding programmes – The White Stork Project. For the third year running, the Park have successfully bred chicks for this pioneering scheme which aims to restore wild Stork populations to Britain – a sight not seen since the 15th century. It is the first Stork rewilding programme of its kind in the UK.
The team at Cotswold Wildlife Park, together with the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, are responsible for the captive management aspect of the project and bred the youngsters from a captive population received from rehabilitation centres in Poland. Twenty four adult pairs live in a large netted enclosure at the Park where they are given the highest standard of care to facilitate successful breeding. Eight chicks hatched in 2018 and last year 24 were successfully raised and released. Despite an incredibly challenging start to the year weather-wise (including the wettest February on record in the UK and three severe storms in just one month – far from ideal incubation and rearing conditions), this year the birds still managed to rear 21 chicks.
The chicks hatched in May and to maximise their chance of survival, the husbandry team at the Park “assist” fed the chicks on the nest (pictured above). Once fully fledged and separated from the adults, the birds were weighed, sexed, microchipped and fitted with highly visible leg rings to make them easily identifiable after their release. In August, they were transferred to Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex for release into the wild – a momentous moment for the entire team.
Jamie Craig (pictured right), Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: “It is an honour for the Park to be involved in such a fantastic project, releasing these birds into the stunning surroundings at Knepp and watching them soar on the thermals gives an enormous sense of pride and achievement for all involved”.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are tracking these White Storks in a bid to find out about migratory habits that disappeared more than 600 years ago. These birds are providing valuable data that will enable the researchers to gain insights into the life and migratory choices of the reintroduced Storks. Previously unpublished data from the 2019 trial reveals that many of the Storks spent the winter in Southern Europe and Northern Africa, where they have adapted to take advantage of new food resources and gather in large numbers. GPS trackers were fitted to eight of the Storks released this year. Last month they embarked on their first migratory journey and several of the youngsters have crossed the channel and are making their way south. Latest tracking data received on 14 October 2020 reveals that two juveniles have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco.
The White Stork Project aims to have at least 50 breeding pairs across the south of England by 2030. To find out more about The White Stork Project, please visit: https://www.whitestorkproject.org.
BALTIMORE, MD -- The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming a male lesser kudu calf, born on Monday, October 5, 2020 in the late afternoon. The birth is the result of a recommendation from the Lesser Kudu Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the AZA population and the health of individual animals.
The calf, which has been named Kadett, was born to seven-year-old Meringue and sired by ten-year-old Ritter. He is the second offspring for Meringue. “The calf was standing and nursing within an hour of being born, which is very good. He has long, spindly legs and huge ears right now; he’s very cute at the moment,” said Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Meringue is taking great care of him and we are pleased with his progress so far.” Kadett stands about three-feet-tall and weighs in at about 14 pounds. “Right now he will remain in the barn bonding with Meringue for a couple of weeks. His first turn out into the habitat will be weather dependent, but we hope to have them outside before it gets too cold,” continued Grimm.
Lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis australis) are one of eight species of African spiral-horned antelope. Male lesser kudu horns can grow to be 72 inches long, with 2 ½ twists. In the wild they live in dry, densely thicketed scrub and woodlands of northern east Africa. Interestingly, they rarely drink water, apparently getting enough liquid from the plants that they eat. The Maryland Zoo’s kudu herd is made up of four animals and can be found in the African Watering Hole habitat along with addra gazelle and saddle-billed storks.
After two years without any offspring, Basel Zoo’s squirrel monkeys now have a whole troop of new arrivals. Eight tiny monkeys are currently clinging to their mothers’ backs.
These little monkeys with their striking yellow coats were all born at Basel Zoo between 10 May and 17 June. There is a good reason for the previous lack of offspring: the group was made up entirely of females for two years, until a new male arrived at the zoo at the end of 2019. The recent glut of children was the gratifying result. It has been 34 years since there were this many young squirrel monkeys at the zoo at once.
Of the eleven females in the current group, only the oldest (26) and the two youngest (3) have no young at the moment. The oldest of the three males (13) is the breeding stud and thus the father of the eight babies.
At Basel Zoo, the squirrel monkeys share an enclosure with the woolly monkeys. The two species get along well: the older squirrel monkey children like to climb all over the woolly monkeys and are sometimes even permitted to ride on their backs.
Males only tolerated during mating season
Squirrel monkeys live in female groups consisting of a mother, her adult daughters and their offspring. Males are expelled from the group at the age of two or three, after which they live in bachelor groups. The strongest bachelors gain huge amounts of weight just before mating season and switch into a female group to produce offspring. Mating season is therefore an exceptional time for this monkey species. At Basel Zoo, this lasts from November to January and the baby monkeys are born five months later. This lines up perfectly with the beginning of insect season, as insects are one of squirrel monkeys’ favourite foods. After mating season, the females will no longer tolerate the presence of males and will drive them away again.
Unlike many primates, squirrel monkeys mark their territory with scent marks and use these as a way to communicate with each other. They do not have special glands for this purpose – they simply urinate over their hands and feet and then rub them into their fur, spreading the scent all over their body and passing it on as they wander around on the branches and ropes. They rub their backs or chests against important parts of the enclosure to pick up the scents of other members of the group or to leave their own scent behind.
Squirrel monkeys can differentiate between the smells of group members and those outside of the group. This ‘urine washing’ becomes particularly vigorous during the mating season. As a result, squirrel monkeys have their own characteristic smell. The zoo keepers are careful not to clean the climbing structures too thoroughly, to ensure that the scent marks are not removed.
Squirrel monkeys are also called saimiris. They live in the rainforests of the southeastern Amazon basin, northern Bolivia, southern Peru and eastern Brazil, primarily on riverbanks. They eat fruit and insects. Around 80% of their time searching for food is spent hunting insects and other small animals. If no fruit is available, they will feed entirely on insects.
Squirrel monkeys are not endangered in the wild, but the population trend is clearly declining. Loss of habitat and hunting are particular issues for this species. A European breeding programme (EEP – EAZA ex-situ programme) coordinates the species’ breeding in zoos, with Basel Zoo serving as the coordinator. The programme covers over 900 animals.
Exciting Captain Cal update from Oakland Zoo! Today Captain Cal finally ventured out of his crate (still bandaged heavily but walking)! He walked up to the partition between himself and the other two orphaned mountain lion cubs (females) that were also rescued from the Zogg Fire.
Based on their first meeting, this looks to be a great bond the 3 will form with each other! It’s sad that they ended up in the situation they have because of the devastating fire, but we are so happy that Captain Cal now has these two girls to grow up with for companionship and comfort.
Very soon the partition will be removed; it’s part of the introduction process that occurs in two phases. We anesthetized him to change his bandages today and the burned pads are improving daily. We’re very optimistic and happy!
As soon as the baby meerkats emerged from their den at Basel Zoo, their lessons at meerkat 'school' began. After all, practice makes perfect!
The tiny meerkat triplets peeked out of their den for the first time on 19 September. Their mother gave birth to them in the underground passageways four weeks earlier. The trio are now confidently darting around between the adults’ legs and watching everything they do very closely.
Venomous animals on the menu
The offspring were born after a pregnancy lasting just eleven weeks. Meerkats are carnivorans belonging to the mongoose family. They live in large social groups and can be found in the open, dry areas of southern Africa. They like to eat insects, snakes and other reptiles. However, they first have to learn how to catch them, a process that is not without its dangers. This is why baby meerkats go to ‘school’. Step by step, they follow the older animals and observe them looking for food and catching prey. Initially, they are given prey that is already dead, but later they learn how to catch venomous animals themselves and how to eat them safely.
Learning by imitating
Identifying dangers, whether in the air or on the ground, is a skill that has to be learned. There are up to 30 different sounds to learn. Baby meerkats learn by imitating the behaviour of the adults: they sit back on their hind legs and practice watching the sky attentively, just like their ‘teachers’. If there is any danger, the ‘watchers’ emit a cry of alarm and all the creatures disappear into the burrow.
Sleeping is the only thing that young meerkats do not have to learn to do, as after an exhausting day at school, they naturally cuddle up together and their mother wraps herself around them.
Basel Zoo is currently home to 14 meerkats of varying ages.
Say hello to Franklin Park Zoo's tiny new addition: a male pygmy hippo 💚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This adorable little calf was born on October 5 and his arrival marks the first ever successful birth of this endangered species for Zoo New England! Years of careful work, planning, and dedication by our animal care and veterinary staff contributed to this birth. Zoo New England participates in the Pygmy Hippo Species Survival Plan, and each new birth contributes to the continued survival of this species. Thanks to the wonderful training program between Cleo and her care team, our staff was able to monitor her throughout her pregnancy via ultrasound. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Potoroos, like the one seen here in a recent video filmed at Longleat, are born weighing just 0.3 grams. Within the first ten minutes of being born the young will climb up into its mother’s pouch and attach itself to one of her teats. It stays like this for the first one and a half to two months of its life. When the infant has developed fur, it starts to spend time outside of the pouch. It gradually spends more and more time outside until it is four or five months of age and the mother forces it to stay out, which usually coincides with the birth of a new infant. The young are weaned by five months of age but stay close to the mother until they are about a year old. Most female potoroos will be looking after three young at any one time, with one infant who is out of the pouch but still suckling or keeping close to her, a newborn in her pouch, and an embryo which starts to develop but then remains dormant until the young in the pouch is old enough to leave.