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December 2020

Winter Baby Boom For Zoo Knoxville!

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. 

Top 20 Cutest Baby Animals of 2020

ZooBorns delivers the newest, cutest baby animals born at accredited zoos and aquariums worldwide. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of progressive institutions everywhere, this difficult year was no exception. As we say goodbye to 2020, let’s take a look back at just some of the cutest baby animal moments of the year. Links to the full videos below.

  1. Auckland Zoo successfully hand-rears golden lion tamarin twins!

  1. Baby Seahorse Birth Caught on Camera at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium!

  1. Screaming Hairy Armadillo Pups at Greensboro Science Center

  1. Beany The Baby Sloth at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village

  1. Baby Zebra Meets Giraffes, Rhinos, and More Burgers’ Zoo!

  1. Share the Care of a Baby Chimpanzee at Baltimore Zoo in Maryland

  1. Spider Monkey baby born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

  1. Help Minnesota Zoo Name Their Baby Tapir

  1. Elephant Shrew at Zoo Leipzig

  1. Giant Anteater Born at Zoo Miami!

  1. Caracal Kittens Nashville Zoo!

  1. Penzi The African Elephant Grows up Before Your Eyes at Reid Park Zoo

  1. Physical Therapy For Baby Snow Leopards at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

  1. Mother Orangutan Dotes On Baby Móric at Budapest Zoo

  1. Slow Loris Babies at Brookfield Zoo Are Unlike Anything You've Seen!

  1. It's a Boy! Franklin Park Zoo Welcomes Tiny Pygmy Hippo

  1. A piggyback From Mum: 8 Baby Squirrel Monkeys at Basel Zoo

  1. Angela the Baby Gorilla Takes Piggy-back Ride at Los Angeles Zoo

  1. Baby Camel's Very First Moments Caught on Film at Zoo Brno!

  1. Banz, the Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo Joey at Perth Zoo

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Lion Cubs Explore the Outdoors at Amersfoort Animal Park

Amersfoort Animal Park’s two lion cubs are exploring their outdoor enclosure in for the first time. “They investigate their environment with great curiosity, without skipping a boulder, bush or hill”, says zookeeper Marc Belt. It is an extra special moment, because the lions also meet father Ramzes and aunt Zaila.

“The cubs are clearly enjoying their new environment. One of their favorites is a large pile of leaves in which they romp, ”says Marc. They also find the other lions somewhat interesting. “Zaila and the cubs especially visit each other. It is good to see that father Ramzes is very calm and lets the little ones do their thing. ”

Tante Zaila en de welpen zoeken elkaar veel op
Tante Zaila en de welpen zoeken elkaar veel op
Tante Zaila en de welpen zoeken elkaar veel op
Tante Zaila en de welpen zoeken elkaar veel op
Tante Zaila en de welpen zoeken elkaar veel op

The two female lion cubs were born a few weeks ago and are mother Sabi's first litter. “She acts like an excellent mother and keeps a close eye on her offspring. Even now that the youngsters are taking the first steps outside, she does not lose sight of them for a second. ” In recent weeks, the cubs have been able to get used to their father and aunt from a distance and that went well. In the coming days they will meet their family more often. Unfortunately, Amersfoort Zoo is now closed to visitors due to the lockdown, but hopefully everyone will be able to admire the lions starting January 20.

Second Baby Born at Bristol Zoo Gardens in Sixth Months

A baby gorilla has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens, the second in less than six months.

The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of December 22 in the Gorilla House at the heart of the Zoo.

Mum Touni gave birth naturally to the infant, with dad, Jock, and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived in the morning to find the little gorilla being cradled in its mother’s arms.


It is 13-year-old Touni’s second baby. In April 2017 she gave birth to Ayana, who still lives at the Zoo.

The new infant was born just four months after another gorilla, ten-year-old Kala, gave birth to Hasani – currently being hand-reared by keepers after Kala struggled to care for him.

Nigel Simpson, Bristol Zoological Society’s Head of Animal Collections, said: “It is simply wonderful to see a new-born gorilla, they are so charismatic and such an iconic species.”

The birth is also important in helping to safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas, which are Critically Endangered in the wild.

Nigel said: “Touni is an excellent mother and she is taking very good care of her baby. All the early signs are positive and the baby looks to be strong and healthy. We will be keeping a very close eye on both mother and baby as these early days are so important.

“This is also great news for Bristol Zoological Society, which operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, as we are part of an internationally important breeding and conservation programme.”

The new gorilla joins the troop of seven others at the Zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea. This area is highlighted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically important for the conservation of the species.

For more than 20 years the Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.

Visitors to the Zoo should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House or look onto the Gorilla Island outside.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, but also its vital conservation and research projects across four continents.

In March the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, or to make a donation, visit

Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens are recommended to book online in advance

The Wilds Celebrates the Birth of a Second White Rhino Calf This Month

The Wilds is celebrating the birth of the second bundle of joy—in the form of a white rhinoceros—born at The Wilds this month! In the early morning hours of Friday, December 18, 2020, the male calf was born in the rhinos’ large, heated barn.

The calf and his 7-year-old mother, Kali, also born at The Wilds, are doing well and continue to bond. Animal Management staff note that Kali, a first-time mom, is very attentive to her little one and is providing him with exceptional care. This is the sixth calf for 16-year-old father, Roscoe, who was born at the Knoxville Zoo. He moved to the Seneca Park Zoo when he was 2 years old and has been living at The Wilds since 2014.

Southern White Rhino Calf (Boy) 1376 - Amanda Carberry  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Southern White Rhino Calf (Boy) 1376 - Amanda Carberry  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Southern White Rhino Calf (Boy) 1376 - Amanda Carberry  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Southern White Rhino Calf (Boy) 1376 - Amanda Carberry  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

This calf is the 24th white rhino to be born at The Wilds. On December 9, a female white rhino calf was also born to mother, Kifaru, and father, Roscoe. Kifaru and her calf continue to be doing well and will soon be introduced to Kali and her baby. Both calves are currently unnamed, but names will be announced soon!

The Wilds is the only facility outside of Africa that has had rhinos born four and five generations removed from their wild-born ancestors. That success continues with this birth. Kali is now the fourth fourth-generation female at The Wilds to give birth to the sixth fifth-generation calf. Counting Asian one-horned rhinos, another species that lives at The Wilds, this calf marks the 32nd rhino to be born at The Wilds since the first rhino was born at the facility in 2004.

The pairings of Kali and Roscoe and Kifaru and Roscoe were recommended through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). This program is designed to maintain a sustainable population and genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. The Wilds has also welcomed the births of eight Asian one-horned rhinos since 2005. The most recent Asian one-horned rhino calf, a female named Rohini, was welcomed into The Wilds’ family on August 24, 2019.

“We are extremely proud of the success of our white rhino program at The Wilds. Tthe multigenerational herd is a true testament to our Animal Management team’s expertise and the great care they provide to the animals. White rhinos continue to face many challenges in their native range, and the arrival of each calf is truly a cause for celebration. Each birth is vital in protecting the future of the species,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

“Welcoming our second white rhinoceros calf this month truly is a wonderful gift. These little ambassadors for their species will touch your heart when you come to visit us for a Winter at The Wilds tour! Thanks to our community’s support, we can continue our important conservation work with threatened and endangered species, and continue inspiring others to take action to help make a positive difference in our world,” said Dr. Jan Ramer, vice president of The Wilds.

The white rhino population had dwindled to an estimated 50-200 individuals at the beginning of the 20th century. Still, through conservation efforts, the population of white rhinos in their native range in Africa has rebounded to about 20,400 animals. However, even with the increase in numbers, the species remains classified as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). All five remaining rhino species in Africa and Asia (white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, greater one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, and Sumatran rhinoceros) are killed by poachers who sell rhino horn for ornamental or traditional medicinal purposes even though there are no scientifically proven health benefits for its use. The horns are made of keratin—the same substance that makes up fingernails and hair. The International Rhino Foundation estimates that one rhino is killed every 10 hours for its horn.

White rhino calves are born after a gestation of 16 months and they can grow to be 4,000 pounds and six feet tall at their shoulder. Their habitats typically consist of plains or woodlands, interspersed with grassy openings. Through reintroduction efforts, their native range has been established in southern and eastern African countries.

Their physical characteristics are two pointed horns and a wide mouth suitable for grazing. The name white rhinoceros originated from the Afrikaans word describing the animal’s mouth – wyd, meaning “wide.” Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the word wyd for “white.”

To further protect the future of rhinos, The Wilds and the Columbus Zoo has provided more than $218,000 in the last five years in support of conservation projects benefiting rhinos in their native ranges, such as monitoring black and white rhinos in Zimbabwe’s Lowveld region through the International Rhino Foundation, protecting black rhinos in the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Kenya through the African Wildlife Foundation and habitat restoration focused on the shortgrass that white rhinos eat through the White Rhinos: Rhinoceros Fund Uganda.

Guests may have the opportunity to view the calves and their mothers, along with the other rhinos in the rhino barn during a Winter at The Wilds Tour. Tours are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through April. Please note that reservations must be made at least 72 hours in advance.

Giant Otter Pups Born at Budapest Zoo!

Budapest Zoo has a holiday treat for its friends and fans: the first short film of the giant otter pups born there this fall. The little giants are a real rarity, as this endangered species is kept and bred in very few zoos. In Hungary, they can be only found in Budapest Zoo. The pups were born on October 7th, so the two little ones are now two months old. Although Budapest can only present them in a short film at the moment - as The Zoo is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic - they are confident that the general public will soon be able to admire them in person!

Giant Anteater Born at Zoo Miami!

Sometime during the early morning hours of December 8th, Laura, a 7 year old female giant anteater whose birthday happens to fall on the same day, gave birth to what is believed to be a male baby.  Unfortunately, this happened to be one of the coldest nights of the year in Miami and the newborn was found abandoned in the corner of its holding area, weak and cold.  Upon discovery, it was immediately transported to the zoo hospital where the animal health team placed it into intensive care.

Though there was significant doubt that the newborn would survive, it slowly started to become more responsive after being heated up and receiving fluids.  Zoo keepers were able to collect natural milk from the mom which was supplemented with a formula substitute and was initially administered directly into the infant’s stomach through a tube that was carefully inserted through the mouth. 

Once the baby regained some strength over the first 48 hours, an attempt was made to reintroduce it to its mother.  Though the mother initially allowed the baby to be placed on her back, she soon became intolerant of it and her behavior indicated that she was not going to care for it and that it would need to be returned to the hospital for hand-rearing.


Photos and video: Ron Magill

After being initially tube fed, the animal has become stronger and more active.  It is now regularly accepting a bottle and drinking on its own.  The staff continues work around the clock to feed the infant every 3 hours.  At the time of this writing, it continues to gain strength and its distinct black and white coat is beginning to grow in.  Zoo veterinarians are cautiously optimistic that the baby has overcome the most serious challenges of its first few days and are hoping that the improvements continue though there are still obstacles ahead as there would be for any infant in this situation.

Giant anteaters are the largest of the four species of anteaters and can reach a length of 6-8 feet.  They are found in Central and South America and are listed as vulnerable with their greatest threat being habitat loss.  Commonly called an “ant bear,” they have a 2 foot long tongue that can lick up 150 ants and termites per minute.  Though they have no teeth, they have powerful front claws which can be used to fend off many threats, including jaguars. 

Pairi Daiza Welcomes Birth of an Infant Orangutan

The Belgian animal park of Pairi Daiza – voted best zoo of Europe for three years in a row - is happy to announce the birth of a Sumatran orangutan in its orangutan conservancy. The little boy, named Mathaï by his keepers, is the newest member of our orangutan family, that consists of dad Ujian, mom Sari and big brother Berani. With another adult couple of two (Gempa and Sinta, also expecting a baby), Pairi Daiza now houses six of these critically endangered great apes. Orangutans are facing mass extinction in the wild because of deforestation. Only 14.000 of these unique, intelligent animals remain alive today. Pairi Daiza wishes to offer a new future to these apes, with whom we share 97% of our human DNA. We do this by reinforcing and conserving the genetic capital of orangutans in our conservancy in Belgium, but also by funding reforestation projects in the orangutans’ home country: Indonesia. Last year, Pairi Daiza Foundation has funded over 11.000 new trees on the island of Borneo.

Photo Mathaï 10
Photo Mathaï 10
Photo Mathaï 10