Zoo Knoxville had two happy surprises for the holidays - the births of both an endangered mountain zebra and a baby giraffe! The zoo had just welcomed a silvered leaf langur infant on November 30th as well.
The Zebra foal was born December 23rd to parents Lydia and Die Toekoms, and is the first mountain zebra to be born in Knoxville. The baby is nursing and healthy. The foal’s gender is yet to be determined as zoo staff are giving Lydia and the baby time to bond.
Zoo Knoxville is one of only 18 zoos in the country who work with this species as part of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums to save them from extinction. Native to southwest Africa, mountain zebras are vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss due to farming and livestock production. It is estimated that only 8,300 remain in the wild.
On the following day, Christmas Eve, Frances the giraffe gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
Frances and her new calf are being given time to bond in the barn with the zoo’s other female Lucille and father Jumbe. The team of caretakers will be monitoring the calf closely to make sure it is getting enough nourishment and gaining strength.
When staff is confident Frances and the calf are ready, they will begin giving them access to controlled space outside when temperatures are warm enough for the baby to be out safely.
This is the second giraffe birth at Zoo Knoxville in 18 years. This is also the second offspring for Frances and Jumbe. The two were paired on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums working to save giraffes from extinction.
The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically over the last few years, and now there are fewer than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa. They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat. With a recent 40% decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered. This calf will help ensure a healthy giraffe population for the future conservation of his species.
Knoxville’s Langur troop has a bright orange baby as its newest member! The infant was born on November 30 to parents Lucy and Walter, and is the second langur baby to be born in Knoxville since the zoo began working with the species in 2017.
The infant is healthy and nursing and being closely monitored to ensure it continues to thrive. Langur babies will keep their striking coloring for three to six months, then begin to transition to darker fur like the other members of their group. It has not been determined if the yet-to-be-named infant is a boy or a girl.
The zoo’s family of silvered leaf langurs, made up of males Walter and Opie, and females Teagan, Melody, and Lucy, will all help care for the infant, a social practice called allomothering. The baby will be on public view in the Langur Landing indoor viewing room in a few weeks.
Zoo Knoxville is part of the Silvered Leaf Langur Species Survival Plan, (SSP), which is a collaborative national conservation program in U.S. zoos accredited by by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums.