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November 2020

Share the Care of a Baby Chimpanzee

In September, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed baby chimpanzee Maisie from the Oklahoma City Zoo after her mother failed to properly care for her. Although they did not hesitate to bring her to The Maryland Zoo, this incredible opportunity is not without its own set of challenges. Caring for an infant chimp comes with significant expenses, including the costs of diapers, formula, and enrichment. Adding to that, Maisie requires 24-hour care, resulting in additional staff expenses. 

To help offset some of these costs, Maryland Zoo’s Giving Tuesday (Giving ZooDay!) fundraiser is a baby shower for Maisie for those that would like to help "share the care."  The fundraising goal is $50,000. Just today they have unlocked a $10,000 matching gift from a very generous anonymous Zoo supporter and are now over halfway to their goal!

The web address for donations is   

Fifth Wombat Joey Born at Zoo Budapest

Molly and Wally, the wombat breeding pair of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, has delighted wombat fans with another joey in 2020. The newcomer was born in spring, he looked out of the pouch for the first time in the middle of Summer, and with a little luck since September until the closure, visitors could already admire it in the indoor or the outdoor enclosure. Budapest Zoo is especially successful in breeding these marsupials, which are very rarely seen in zoos. Of the 21 total wombat babies  been born in European zoos since 1914, 5 of them have been born in Budapest in the last decade.

Meet Pauline, Zoo Vienna’s Sloth Baby

Zoo Vienna has introduced Pauline, their lockdown baby! She is the offspring of sloths Alberta and Einstein. Little Pauline was born on April 24th during the Zoo’s first closure due to the lockdown. Now Zoo Vienna has charmed us with video of the baby. The little one already weighs three kilograms and has been holding onto rope for short distances. Usually, though, she lies on Mama Alberta like she’s in a hammock.

📸: Daniel Zupanc

Koala Joey Emerges at Zoo Zurich

Over the last few days, Zoo Zurich has reported the emergence of a Koala Joey. While it’s showing a keen interest in snacking on Eucalyptus, it still needs its mother’s milk to survive. Believe it or not, the joey is already 7 months old! Mother Pippa clearly trusts her joey has a firm grip as she clings from branch to branch. The pair get quite a workout and after so much movement so they do take extended rests. The joey was born on April 13, but its sex remains unknown.

Romping Rhino Baby For Rotterdam Zoo!

On November 8, 2020 at 10:25pm, a critically endangered black rhino was born in Rotterdam Zoo, after a gestation period of 450 days. The delivery went well. The calf, a male, could stand within twenty minutes and has already been nursing. It is the third time that a black rhino has been born in Diergaarde Blijdorp and in a Dutch zoo. Through webcams, many fans could follow the delivery from home. The webcam streams were viewed about 400,000 times in one day. What is more special is that the calf was born on father Vungu's birthday. In this video you can see the birth and proud carer Melle tells about the little one. Learn more at:

Newborn Elephant Otto Explores His Home

Tierpark Hellabrunn's Elephant Temi became a mum for the second time last week, and since then the early movements of her new calf have become somewhat of a routine: Otto drinks, explores his surroundings with his little trunk and even lets his mum get some sleep.      

On Tuesday, Otto was allowed to explore the spacious indoor area of the Elephant House for the first time - naturally always accompanied and under the watchful eye of mum Temi - where he curiously observed how Temi used her trunk to drink from the large bathing pool.

Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)

“The little one is developing splendidly”, says Elephant House zookeeper, Lorenz Schwellenbach. “He moves confidently and already knows how to use his little trunk. Many baby elephants are much clumsier than Otto at this age."

He has also been drinking well from the start. The baby elephant drinks regularly with his mum, about 10 - 15 litres a day. In addition, the zookeepers were able to observe during their night watch that both Otto and Temi have relaxed sleep patterns. “Elephants can sleep while standing or lying down. For the past few nights, Temi has slept lying down, which is a good sign and shows that mother and calf have an optimal relationship so far.

The night watch routine began a few days before the birth to allow the zookeepers to keep a close on maternity events in the Elephant House. But now that mother and child are in good health and getting along well, it is no longer necessary to have staff stationed on site anymore.

In the coming days, the little elephant will continue to explore the Elephant House. On his forays, he will discover a variety of flooring substrates such as sand, asphalt and rubber, and come into contact with water. Otto has even taken a short bath in the small drinking pool. The next step is meeting his aunts Mangala and Panang face-to-face for the first time, which will probably take place sometime next week. "The mood within the elephant group is very positive and relaxed - Otto will certainly be welcomed into the herd," adds Schwellenbach.

The birth of the baby elephant at Hellabrunn Zoo has also been welcomed by a famous German celebrity - namesake and comedian Otto Waalkes congratulated the zoo with a drawing. Zoo director Rasem Baban: "We are of course delighted and very honoured." The name Otto is based on the last wish of a friend of the zoo, who left a generous legacy gift.

Photographs: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

Videos: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Andreas Kastiunig

Due to the current government restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Hellabrunn Zoo is temporarily closed until 30.11.2020. We are therefore currently unable to hold any press events at the zoo.

His Name Is Xiao Qi Ji

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s 3-month-old giant panda cub received his name today. After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, the winning name is Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), which translates as “little miracle” in English. It was one of four Mandarin Chinese names that were offered for a public online vote from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 on the Zoo’s website. Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and Xiao Qi Ji’s birth offered the world a much-needed moment of joy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. His name reflects the extraordinary circumstances under which he was born and celebrates the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species.


“Connecting people around the world with nature, whether in person or in this virtual setting, is a cornerstone of our mission to conserve and protect giant pandas for future generations,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “Like many who have followed our giant panda cub since his birth last summer, I tune in to the Giant Panda Cam from time to time. Watching Xiao Qi Ji always puts a smile on my face. We are grateful that those who share in our joy have helped us pick the perfect name for our panda cub.”

Xiao Qi Ji was born at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat Aug. 21, at 6:35 p.m. to mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). His birth was streamed live on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, and since then more than 1.5 million virtual visitors have tuned in to watch him grow. Giant panda fans can see Xiao Qi Ji, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian via the Giant Panda Cam, one of five live animal webcams hosted on the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on Xiao Qi Ji on its website, on social media using the hashtags #PandaStory and #PandaCubdates and in the Giant Panda e-newsletter.

As part of the Zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China when they are 4 years old. The Zoo’s current cooperative breeding agreement expires in December 2020. The Zoo is currently discussing the arrangement of the giant pandas beyond Dec. 7 with colleagues in China.

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is closed to the public.

Photo Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at Prague Zoo

A young Sumatran orangutan was born on Tuesday, November 17 - only the third in the history of the Prague Zoo! They don't know the sex of the baby yet, but the good news is that mom Mawar feeds and takes good care of her infant regularly. Aside from Father Pagy, the newborn baby is the only descendant of orangutans who came to the zoo from the forests of Sumatra.  The child is therefore genetically extremely valuable to the conservation of the species.

Video: Miroslav Bobek

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Zebra foal a late spring arrival at Dubbo Zoo

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo were delighted to arrive at work on 15 November 2020 to find a male Zebra foal had safely arrived overnight.

The colt is the seventh foal for mum Kioni, who is a very experienced mother and was sired by Bwana, who was transferred to Taronga Zoo, Sydney earlier this year.

The foal has been named Obi by his keepers, meaning heart in the Igbo language of Nigeria.

Zebra foal_4
Zebra foal_4

“Both mum and her foal are doing extremely well. Obi is very stable on his feet and moving around the paddock alongside Kioni,” said Keeper Carolene Magner.

Kioni is a very natural maternal dam and is quite protective, which is important to ensure the foal stays close by for feeding and safety, to prevent any misadventure from other larger herd members.

“The foal is not venturing too far from mum’s side but that is very normal as Kioni is quite protective and keeping the other herd members at a safe distance. The other females in the group are very interested in the new foal but Kioni is ensuring he stays close by her side at present,” said Carolene.

“We are very happy with how he is progressing over his first week and look forward to watching him grow and develop, and eventually interacting with the other herd members,” said Carolene.

“Mornings are a great time to see Obi as he is most active then, and like most newborns will have a burst of energy and then take a nap.”

Zebra have a gestation period of 12 – 13 months. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to 11 Zebra across three groups at present. A breeding herd with new addition Obi and five other females, a small bachelor group next to the Giraffe exhibit and another group on the African Savannah.

There are three subspecies of Zebra in the wild – Plains Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra and Mountain Zebra. The Plains Zebra sub species which Taronga Western Plains Zoo holds is classified as near threatened. The wild population is declining due to competition with livestock for natural resources, hunting for meat and hide as well as the impacts of drought in some range states.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Beads for Wildlife program helps to support the conservation of Zebra in Northern Kenya, through a partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, a branch of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), selling beadwork made by over 600 women in Northern Kenya. With every bead work product sold in the Zoo Shop it is helping to provide an alternate income to livestock for these communities, which would compete with wildlife for natural resources such as water and vegetation in this region. Put simply, more beads sold = less livestock = more wildlife.