Terra the Southern tamandua gave birth to a healthy female pup on Friday, April 23 behind the scenes at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater area. The pup, like all of its species, was born with very little fur, and with its eyes closed for the first day. It’s Terra’s second pup, and only the second tamandua ever born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The pup weighed just over half a pound and can fit onto a human palm.
Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor yesterday announced the public debut of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s latest addition – a baby Black Rhinoceros calf.
“The little female rhino was born on 17 February to first-time mother Bakhita,” Mr Sartor said.“It is the second generation born in the zoo’s breeding program.“It’s terrific that this baby Rhino has become available for public viewing in time for the school holidays.”
A public competition will be announced shortly to name the baby Rhino.
The zoo is widely recognised as a world-class open range zoo, which has an international reputation in Black Rhinoceros breeding, research and conservation. Since the 1990s, the Zoo’s breeding program has produced 11 Black Rhinoceros calves, supporting the survival of this critically endangered species. In total, the zoo is home to almost 1,000 animals.
Mr Sartor said Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been experiencing a recent baby boom – currently on display are four Cheetah Cubs, three Giraffe calves and a Przewalski's Horse foal.
“This baby boom is fantastic for conservation and tourism with 70% of visitors to Dubbo going specifically to visit the zoo,” Mr Sartor said. “Visitors to Dubbo will also be able to see four Cheetah cubs, including two King Cheetah, believed to be two of only 60 King Cheetah in the world.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Keepers, such as Nick Hanlon have been monitoring Bakhita and her calf closely to ensure the pair is bonding.
“Bakhitais a fantastic first time mother, doing everything right from the moment she gave birth,” Mr. Hanlon said. “The calf is quite confident and inquisitive but still doesn’t venture too far from mum’s side. “She is quite active and loves a run around the paddock, but like most youngsters she gets tired pretty quickly. “At birth the calf weighed about 30kg and now would be around 40kg. “In time the calf will also play an important role in the international breeding program, either here or at another Zoo.”
Zoo Knoxville welcomes three Roti Island snake- necked turtles that hatched in mid April. This critically endangered turtle is endemic to Indonesia. Since the mid-1990s, the population in the wild have suffered disastrous declines of more than 90% and are now ecologically extinct.
The Seba Python is the largest snake in Africa, with an average size of 3 to 5 m in length and a maximum of 8 m. They have a triangular head covered in irregular scales, which are usually blackish-gray brown in color. The head also has two light-colored bands that form a spearhead in the shape of the mouth.
Like many other species of snakes, they are quite solitary, seeking out members of their own species only during the breeding season. They mostly stay on the ground, but sometimes climb trees in a pinch. They can swim well and stay submerged for a long time, to avoid potential threats.
Although they are mainly nocturnal when they are adults, Seba pythons can be active during the day to sunbathe and thermoregulate. Juveniles, however, are usually active at dawn and dusk, preferring to retreat to the safety of a rock formation or hollow tree for the day and night.
They have a reputation for being particularly aggressive. If they cannot escape when threatened, they bite and contract with great ferocity. They have large, recurved teeth and their bites are very painful.
The Seba python is now confined primarily to game reserves, national parks, and isolated sections of the African savanna. Due to hunting for their meat and skin, there has been a great decline in this species in recent years.
After more than twenty years, three meerkats have been born at Amersfoort Zoo.
“A very special moment, because a meerkat birth is no easy feat,” explains animal caretaker Marc Belt.
“Before meerkats form a love couple, they have to like each other very much. After two decades there is a match between a male and a female and that now results in three youngsters that are doing very well.”
These African predators have been living in the zoo for many years, but births have been delayed for a long time.
Meerkats are choosy in choosing their love partner.
There has to be a strong click between the two before they end up on a pink cloud.”
A pregnancy lasts about 2.5 months in these animals.
“At birth, the young are initially still blind, deaf and bald. After about ten days their eyes and ears open and they explore the world. When mom goes looking for food, the rest of the group babysits; they are very caring animals”, says Marc.
The birth of these three meerkats gives hope. Marc: “Love is in the air, so maybe we can expect more births soon.
Hopefully the park will be able to open its gates again on 11 May and visitors can come for a maternity visit in Amersfoort Zoo .
An endangered Bactrian Camel calf was born at the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown, South Dakota on March 10. After a 13-month gestation period, The Zoo’s 16-year-old female Cindy Lou, gave birth to an unusually large baby. On average, camel calves weigh between 80 and 100 lbs. at birth. This hefty male, affectionately coined Token, weighed in at a whopping 124 lbs.
Due to his size he had a hard time standing after birth and therefore could not nurse from his otherwise attentive mother. Due to the impending blizzard, the decision was made to separate mom and calf in a back corral area and start him on a bottle of colostrum. Between his unsteadiness and the weather, the decision was then made to bring him inside and begin the process of hand raising full-time.
Token has had some ups and downs, but proves to be resilient. One day the zookeepers noticed he was weak and unsteady and would not stand to eat. When they finally got him up and walking, he was gentle with his rear right leg and it seemed painful when it was bent up towards his belly. He was immediately taken to the vet. After bloodwork, four radiographs (which were very challenging) and urine tests the results showed he had a high white blood cell count, and his right knee was more swollen and he seemed to be favoring it more. It was determined he had an infection in the joint (probably from birth) and he was started on injections. Thankfully, he continued to drink readily during his treatment. The following week he became constipated and was straining to go to the bathroom. A little mineral oil in his bottle did the trick.
Token is now much stronger and weighs approximately 145 lbs. at his 1-month milestone. He is drinking four bottles a day totaling 232 oz. He is getting spunkier and learning camel things, such as how to kick and spit.
The Bactrian camel, Camelus ferus, is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Restricted to the Gobi and Gashun Gobi deserts of northwest China and Mongolia, it is one of the rarest large mammals on Earth (currently numbering fewer than 1,500 individuals).
Wildwood Trust, in collaboration with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Vincent Wildlife Trust, is taking the first steps in a groundbreaking new project to establish the first wild population of the functionally extinct wildcat outside of Scotland in over 200 years.
British wildlife conservation charity, Wildwood Trust, has today (4/20) announced the first steps in a groundbreaking new project to return the functionally extinct wildcat to suitable habitat outside of Scotland, seeing the species return for the first time since the 1800s.
Working in partnership with leading conservation organisations Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Vincent Wildlife Trust, along with experts at the University of Exeter, the project will be the first of its kind outside of Scotland and could herald a new dawn for this iconic British species which is on the verge of total extinction in the wild.
The European wildcat is Britain’s rarest mammal and the only native cat species surviving in Britain. The wild population is thought to be less than 300 individuals, living exclusively in the remote Scottish Highlands, but that population has been declared “functionally extinct” which means that there is no longer a viable population left in the wild.
The species was hunted and persecuted to extinction in England and Wales a century ago, resulting in its disappearance. Loss and fragmentation of habitat and more recently interbreeding with domestic and feral cats, means it has not been able to return. Until now.
“Our goal is to return a viable and self-sustaining wildcat population to its former range. As a leading British wildlife conservation charity, we have developed years of experience and expertise in breeding wildcats in support of the existing Scottish conservation project. We are now excited to be utilising these skills to benefit wildcat recovery more broadly across Britain. This will be a long term commitment for Wildwood requiring increased resources and infrastructure so we are relying on the public’s support to help.” Said Laura Gardner, Director of Conservation at Wildwood Trust.
Reintroduction site and breeding facilities
After announcing this exciting new partnership last year, Wildwood is now taking the first steps in building new wildcat breeding facilities. The project partners, in collaboration with the University of Exeter, are currently undertaking research into the best sites for wildcat reintroduction in Britain. Alongside this, the project partnership is working closely with stakeholders and local people to ensure that the needs and views of local communities are taken fully into account.
Wildwood Trust will be breeding wildcats for the future reintroductions and has launched a fundraising appeal to raise vital funds to build 10 new breeding facilities across its two sites in Kent and Devon. The Trust needs £50,000 to complete the build and is calling on the public to get involved by donating to the project and giving wildcats a brighter future.
Each enclosure will house a breeding pair of cats, whose kittens will later be released into the wild. Wildcat mating usually takes place between January and March with litters of 1-8 kittens born in April-May.
Breeding wildcats is notoriously difficult, as any noise and disturbance can adversely affect the cats. To ensure the survival and safety of the kittens, stress must be kept to a minimum. With this in mind, the new breeding enclosures will be built off-show at Wildwood Trust’s parks, helping to prepare kittens for life in the wild.
The wildcat is one of the few native predators left in Britain and performs important ecosystem functions. A healthy population of wildcats will help to restore the balance in the ecosystem by controlling numbers of prey animals, such as rabbits and rodents, and of predators such as foxes through competition for food. Predators also remove vulnerable prey, such as the old, injured, sick, or very young, leaving more food for the survival and success of healthy prey animals. Also, by controlling the size of prey populations, predators help slow down the spread of disease.
By dove-tailing their respective skills, knowledge and experience, Wildwood Trust, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Vincent Wildlife Trust combine a wealth of expertise in species-recovery programmes, particularly in breeding and species reintroductions.
Wildwood’s mission is the protection, conservation and rewilding of British wildlife. Durrell's ‘Rewild our World’ strategy focuses on recovering wildlife, reviving ecosystems and reconnecting people to nature and Vincent Wildlife Trust has worked for over 40 years to monitor and recover mammal species of conservation concern in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.
A giraffe calf takes her first steps outside as UK families head back to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo for the first time in months
A giraffe calf at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo has taken her first steps outside, just in time to greet visitors returning to the UK’s largest Zoo after it re-opened last week.
While many people in the UK left their homes for their first family days-out of 2021, four-month-old reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) Margaret had her own first adventure outdoors last week.
Born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on 8 December at the same time as the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination was being administered – the reticulated giraffe calf was named Margaret by keepers, after the first recipient Margaret Keenan. Until last week, the baby giraffe has stayed inside the warmth and familiarity of the Zoo’s giraffe house with mum Luna and their close-knit family.
Last week, however, the young giraffe was filmed by zoo staff venturing outdoors for the first time and exploring the herd’s spacious enclosure at the 600-acre Zoo. In the footage, Margaret can be seen tentatively following her mother and other members of the herd past a lake, before striding off to explore her environment alone, ‘checking in’ with mum Luna from time-to-time.
Team leader Mark Holden said: “Once again, Margaret seems to be capturing the mood of the nation. First, she was born – a huge boost for the population of her Endangered species - on the same day that the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered, and now, here she is, taking her first steps outside just as the rest of the UK is venturing back out on family adventures, like coming here to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
“With 600 acres to explore, we are the perfect place for anyone looking to blow off the cobwebs of lockdown and head into the countryside, where Margaret and the world’s most incredible animals wait to be discovered.”
Families and animal lovers can book tickets for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo at www.zsl.org
On the morning of April 8, Brevard Zoo’s animal care staff were greeted by a tiny Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth. Born to 15-year-old mother Sammy and 18-year-old father Dustin, this little one is the third sloth baby in the Zoo’s history and the first in over two years.
The baby, which has not yet been named or sexed, is tightly clung to Sammy’s underside. Both mother and child appear to be thriving and are sometimes in public view, but they have ample behind-the-scenes space to which to retreat if Sammy chooses.
Keepers used positive reinforcement techniques to train Sammy to stay still for ultrasound exams, enabling veterinarians to monitor the development of the fetus during the 10-month gestation period.
Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths are native to the rainforests of northern South America. In their natural range, sloths help disperse native plants by swallowing seeds in one location and defecating them elsewhere.
Although they are objectively adorable creatures (especially as babies), experts caution against keeping sloths as pets.
“Sloths are high-maintenance animals that need professional care, and they don’t belong in the home,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “They have long claws and sharp teeth that they won’t hesitate to use if they’re scared or stressed. If you can’t make the trip down to South America, the best way to get your sloth fix is to visit your local accredited animal care facility.”