On March 3rd Point Defiance Zoo announced some exciting news! Terra the Tamandua is enjoying whipped cream for two (again). Terra and Gonzo are expecting a baby early this summer. Keeper Sara occupies the adorable pregnant mom with a tasty treat while Zoo veterinarian Dr. Kadie performs a routine ultrasound. Check out those tiny tamandua feet shown in the ultrasound!
Just a few weeks later, Terra and her growing pup appear to be doing very well! Terra’s baby bump is filling out as expected. The tiny pup is active in utero with a strong heartbeat. They anticipate Terra will give birth around the end of April. Stay tuned for pupdates!
📷 Assistant Curator Maureen: Keeper Jessie occupies the adorable pregnant tamandua with a tasty treat while Zoo Head Veterinarian Dr. Karen performs a routine ultrasound.
Auckland Zoo is working in partnership with the New Zealand Department of Conservation https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2021-media-releases/breeding-season-for-rare-tara-iti-offers-hope-for-future/ to conserve New Zealand’s fairy tern – one of the rarest birds in the world.
New Zealand fairy tern / tara iti face many threats in the wild - they nest on low lying shell and sand banks which leaves their nests, and the eggs inside, vulnerable to storms and adverse weather. It also leaves the eggs open to predation and disturbance by off-road vehicles, dogs and humans.
These factors combined have left the species in a critical condition, and despite intensive management, fairy tern have teetered on the brink of extinction since the 1970s. With fewer than 40 adult birds alive today, they have a current conservation threat status of ‘nationally critical’.
To protect potential offspring, DOC rangers will monitor fairy tern nests that are at risk of flooding or other environmental concerns. This breeding season, with severe winds forecast, DOC staff were able to safely collect and bring eggs to the zoo for incubation. This gives the un-hatched chicks the highest chance of survival, but this method only works if the parents return to the nest to take care of the eggs. To ensure this happens DOC rangers will swap out the fertile eggs for artificial ones until the threat to the eggs has passed.
Unfortunately this wasn’t possible for a few of the eggs - the nests were either washed away or despite the precautions, they were abandoned by the parents. For those eggs, the decision was made to hand-rear any chicks that hatched, a management technique that hasn't been attempted since the 1990’s.
Thankfully, a healthy chick hatched and, in collaboration with DOC, our bird team used their skills and knowledge of hatching and hand-rearing rare native species in the past, to raise the chick at the zoo. Once it reached the right stage in it's development, the chick was taken to a pre-release aviary built by DOC staff where it could safely learn how to fish 'on the wing' before being released into the wild.
Watch the video to see the process from hatch to release unfold!
It's been a privilege for Auckland Zoo to work on this conservation project with DOC and they hope to build on this success in the future so that together they can reserve the fortunes of this nationally critical taonga.
It’s a girl! The National Aviary today announced the sex and name of the newest addition to the flock: an endangered African Penguin chick that hatched on January 3. A DNA feather test was performed, the results of which revealed that the chick is female. Generous donor, board member, and friend of the National Aviary, Rich Caruso, named the penguin, now known as Marge, in honor of his mother.
In a video released by the National Aviary, Senior Aviculturist Chris Gaus opens a large toy egg, revealing a plush pink penguin doll nestled inside. On the wing of the penguin is a thin black band reading “Marge.” This wing band, used for identification purposes, will later be placed on the wing of Marge the penguin herself.
Marge is the eleventh African Penguin to hatch at the National Aviary, and the first to hatch to parents Buddy and Holly. With only 13,000 pairs remaining in the wild in South Africa, African Penguins are endangered, and their populations have experienced precipitous declines. Every hatching represents progress for the future of this charismatic species.
“I am pleased to work with the National Aviary to name their new African Penguin chick in honor of my mother, Margaret Caruso, and I would like to thank the National Aviary for their exemplary work saving birds and protecting their habitats,” said Rich Caruso. “My mother is nearing her 100th birthday, and she loves the National Aviary and is looking forward to visiting again to see Marge the penguin once the pandemic ends.”
There is no way to determine the sex of a penguin just by looking. A DNA test is performed once the penguin begins to grow its juvenile feathers. These feathers replace the chick’s soft, downy fuzz, making the penguin waterproof and prepared for a life of diving and swimming. As these juvenile feathers grow in, the distinctive “tuxedo” look, the hallmark of African Penguins, begins to emerge. At almost three months old, Marge is nearing her full adult size.
The National Aviary participates in the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for African Penguins. A collaborative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions, SSPs work to enhance conservation of the species and ensure the entire population of African Penguins remains genetically diverse and demographically stable for the long-term future.
The National Aviary is also the leader of the Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program for African Penguins. SAFE is a collaborative, international effort to identify and address conservation challenges faced by African Penguins across their range. Human disturbances, including over-fishing, human activity at nesting sites, and disasters like oil spills, have had a profound impact on African Penguin populations. The National Aviary provides practical steps visitors can take to ease the pressures on African Penguins and other wildlife, including buying sustainable seafood, using less plastic, and supporting the work of conservation organizations.
For a short time, National Aviary visitors may be able to see Marge, who will make appearances in the Avian Care Center window, daily from 12:30-2:00 p.m. The National Aviary has enhanced safety protocols in place that align with CDC and Allegheny County Health Department guidelines. The financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been profound and capacity limitations continue to limit revenue. The National Aviary is committed to providing high quality, uncompromising care for the more than 500 animals that call the National Aviary home. The support of caring community members helps the National Aviary provide exceptional care for birds like this African Penguin chick. Donations can be made at aviary.org.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed five Meerkat pups at a behind-the-scenes location to new Meerkat breeding pair, Howell and Midra.
Howell and Midra arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Spring 2020 from two other wildlife parks. Following their introduction to each other, keepers observed lots of positive breeding behaviour with their first litter of pups being born on 23 November 2020.
4-month-old Kendi has started venturing outside on days when the weather is nice. Now 7.5 ft tall, Indianapolis Zoo’s curious giraffe calf explored the whole habitat on his first day out with the rest of the giraffe herd.
Kendi, a male reticulated giraffe, was born November 8. He weighed 137 pounds and stood about 6 feet tall at birth.
Native to Sub-Saharan Africa, giraffes bear a beautiful coat of brown spots that helps provide camouflage on the arid plains. While every giraffe’s pattern is unique, the Zoo’s youngster currently takes after his father, 10-year-old Majani, with his lighter, caramel-colored patches.
The tallest mammal on land, giraffes are one of Africa’s most iconic species, yet they are still vulnerable to extinction. To support a healthy population of animals in human care, the Zoo maintains an active giraffe breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.Like all of the Zoo’s animals, this newborn will be an ambassador and help to raise awareness for conservation of the species.
Two tiny porcupettes, or baby porcupines, have been born to mother Stekeltje and father Loki at ZOO Planckendael in Belgium. The babies have been named Wafa & Winga after more than 2.000 people voted for these name choices. It’s the first time this species has been born at Planckendael, although they’ve had porcupines in their care for 25 years!
A fluffy little chick has hatched in SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s Penguin Playground as part of the 9th successful King penguin breeding season!
The chick hatched in the Aquarium’s icy penguin habitat on 2 February weighing 221 grams. The baby was born to long-time couple Ernie and Hudson, who have been taking excellent care of the newest member of their family.
SEA LIFE Melbourne is celebrating the baby’s arrival with ‘The Little King’ activities from 13 – 31 March to help guests learn all about Sub-Antarctic penguin chicks!
To kick off the festivities, SEA LIFE Melbourne needs help naming the new chick! Entrants can submit their suggestion online and the winner will receive a Family Pass to the Aquarium and two ‘The Little King’ showbags.
As well as seeing the penguin chick with their parents in the Penguin Playground, visitors to the Aquarium will receive a storybook and quiz for kids. There will also be live talks at 11am from Thursdays – Mondays and guests will have the option of purchasing a showbag from the retail store or enjoying a meal deal in the café.
Less than a year after Houston welcomed Asian elephant calf, Nelson, a new kid is on the block! On March 10 shortly after 11:00 a.m., 10-year-old Asian elephant Tupelo gave birth to a 284-pound female calf, and she began to nurse within a few hours. The calf has not yet been named; her name will be announced on the Houston Zoo’s social media channels.
“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Tupelo and her baby bond and introducing her to Houston.”
Tupelo gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. Mother and baby will undergo continued post-natal exams and spend several days bonding before they are ready to join the rest of the herd. During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like nursing and hitting weight goals.
This is the first calf for Tupelo, whose pregnancy was the result of artificial insemination since she is related to all the male elephants at the Zoo. The calf raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 12 – five males and seven females.
Just five days after her birth, Winnie, the newest member of Houston’s Asian elephant herd, took her first steps with mom, Tupelo, and the rest of the herd.
Just by visiting the Houston Zoo, guests help save baby elephants and their families in the wild. A portion of each Zoo admission and membership goes to protecting wild elephants in Asia. The Zoo provides support, equipment and training for local researchers to place satellite collars on wild elephants and track them in Asia. The Zoo’s Malaysian conservation team is now watching over and protecting three groups of wild elephants with babies in Borneo. The data collected from these groups will inform future national protection plans for elephants.
All over Germany, from Berlin to Bonn and from Breisgau to Buxtehude, people have spent the past few weeks coming up with suitable names for Zoo Berlin’s newborn female gorilla. Many media outlets got involved in the name search, as news of Berlin’s first gorilla baby in 16 years spread throughout the region, the nation – and even the rest of the world. It’s no wonder, then, that Zoo Berlin received more than 17,000 name suggestions within seven days – 15,000 via social media channels alone. Many of the ideas made reference to the current situation, including “Hope” and “Covi”. There was even a suggestion to name her “Frau Merkel” after the German Chancellor.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions and would like to express our sincere thanks for the many, in some cases very personal, name suggestions,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “It was no easy task, but we finally decided to name our little gorilla Tilla.” The animal keepers marked the occasion by treating the gorilla family to a special feast. “Contrary to what many people assume, a gorilla’s diet consists mostly of salad and vegetables,” explains Zoo veterinarian Dr André Schüle. “The buffet we laid on for Bibi, Sango and the rest of the family featured rice, raspberries, pomegranate, peppers and carrots and was a real treat for the eyes as well as the belly.”
FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR A NEW PRIMATE HOUSE
With coronavirus-related losses in the tens of millions, last year dealt a massive financial blow to Zoo Berlin. As a result, it is now an even greater challenge to raise funds for upcoming construction projects like the new Primate House. Zoo Berlin therefore needs outside support to realise its goal of giving the primates a more spacious home with natural features as soon as possible. Donations are currently being collected for Tilla and her family under the campaign motto “My gorilla needs a villa at the Zoo”. Each and every contribution is greatly appreciated: www.zoo-berlin.de/gorillatilla
Following a gestation period of about eight and a half months, a female gorilla was born at Zoo Berlin on the night of 15 February. The last time a gorilla came into the world here was 16 years ago. For the first few months, the infant is completely dependent on her mother’s care and she will live off her milk for four to five years. Mother Bibi (24) spent the first nine years of her life in a gorilla family at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During this time, she observed other gorillas taking care of their young, which provided her with a good example of how to raise her own infant. This is the first offspring for both Bibi and Zoo Berlin’s silverback Sango (16). As well as Sango and Bibi, Zoo Berlin’s gorilla family includes females Djambala (19) and Mpenzi (35). Elderly Fatou (63), the oldest known gorilla in the world, is spending her retirement in a separate, neighbouring habitat. During these crucial early days, only the animal keepers are permitted to enter the Primate House – which is currently closed to visitors anyway due to coronavirus restrictions.
Gorillas are the largest and heaviest of the great apes. An adult male can measure up to two metres when standing upright and weighs about 220 kilos. On the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), male gorilla Sango moved from Pairi Daiza in Belgium to Zoo Berlin in February 2019 to complete Berlin’s gorilla family. Tragically, these remarkable herbivores are threatened with extinction in the wild because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.
The birth of a rare baby giraffe has been caught on camera at Chester Zoo.
The leggy new arrival – a rare Rothschild’s giraffe - was born to mum Orla at 3am on 3 March 2021, landing onto soft straw from a height of around 2m (6.5ft).
Incredible CCTV footage captured the special moment the young male calf entered the world, as well as his wobbly first steps and his precious first suckle.
Already standing at 6ft tall and weighing 70kg, giraffe experts say he will grow to be 18ft and weigh over 1000kg.
Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said:
“Giraffes give birth standing up and so their young receive quite a welcome to the world, dropping around six feet to the ground. Although this seems like a long way, the fall actually breaks the umbilical cord and helps to stimulate the calf’s first breath – it’s a dramatic entry but it’s just how they do it!
“The new calf has arrived at the end of a 15-month pregnancy for mum Orla and already he stands at 6ft - he could grow to be up to 18ft tall. Orla, an experienced mother, has slipped back into the role like a natural. She’s doing everything right, and it’s lovely to see the close bond between the two of them.
“This latest arrival joins a group of eight Rothschild’s giraffes at the zoo and it’s always an exciting time for the herd when a new calf arrives. Two of the older females, Dagmar and Tula, appear to have taken on the role of protective aunties, helping Orla to watch out for the newborn. The other youngsters in the group love running around together and so, as soon as the calf starts to increase in confidence and venture outside, I’m sure they’ll enjoy having a new playmate around.”
The Rothschild’s giraffe is highly threatened and its population has suffered a 50% decline in recent decades, making it one of the world’s most at-risk mammals. Experts estimate that as few as 1,600 remain across Africa with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) citing habitat loss and poaching as two of its biggest threats.
Chester Zoo has a long history of protecting Rothschild’s giraffes in the wild, working with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda. Despite recent challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, the team has just reported a sixth consecutive yearly increase in giraffe numbers in the areas where the zoo and its partners work.
Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants at the zoo, added:
“Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost eliminated from these areas and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations. Encouragingly, they are starting to recover with the support of conservation programmes such as those supported by Chester Zoo but they’re still threatened with habitat loss and an ongoing poaching crisis, which has seen giraffes hunted for their tails to be used as good-luck charms.
“Working with The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Uganda Wildlife Authority to monitor, track and protect the giraffe population in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park, we’re delighted that even with the challenges the pandemic has thrown our way, numbers are slowly increasing. Its positive news and we must push on and do all we can to help prevent the extinction of these gentle giants.”