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December 2021

Critically Endangered Baby Tigers

Dallas Zoo has welcomed TWO Sumatran tiger cubs, born on December 6, to mom, Sukacita ("Suki") and dad Kuasa (which makes these cubs full siblings to Sumini!)

Dallas Zoo tiger cubs born 12.6 (2)

Suki had milk production issues, similar to when she gave birth to Sumini, which meant that the cubs were not able to nurse properly. Zoo officials were prepared for this possibility and were able to act very quickly to intervene and ensure the cubs’ survival. Just like with Sumini, these cubs are receiving around-the-clock care from an incredible team of zoologists and veterinarians. Both cubs and mom are happy and healthy!

Dallas Zoo hasn’t decided on names for these two little ones just yet, and they will remain behind the scenes for now. With only an estimated 400-600 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild, each birth is a major win for this critically endangered species, and the Zoo is  thrilled to be able to contribute to the population once again with these adorable new additions.

One Of The World’s Rarest Pigs Is Born At Chester Zoo

One of the world’s rarest pig species has been born at Chester Zoo.

The arrival of a Visayan warty piglet has given cause for celebration for keepers at the charity zoo, with as few as 200 now remaining in the wild.

The male newcomer arrived to mum Gwen (9) and dad Tre (10) on 16 November 2021 and now joins a family of five.

These forest-dwelling pigs are listed as critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN).

The species has suffered a drastic population decline in the wild. Agricultural expansion and logging have devastated vast amounts of their native habitat in the Philippines, and they are also hunted for their meat and persecuted for raiding crops – making them one of the rarest wild pigs on the planet.

The latest addition to the breeding programme will be an ambassador for his relatives in the wild.

Mark Brayshaw, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said:

“It’s fantastic to see the birth of any animal, but when they’re critically endangered and fighting for survival in the wild, it makes it even more special. Baby piglets are incredibly energetic and playful, and so the whole group will certainly be kept very busy over the coming months!

“Visayan warty pigs aren’t just your average pig. During breeding season, males develop a long, protruding mane from their head, giving them a mohawk-like hairstyle. Both mum Gwen and dad Tre are named after punk rockers Gwen Stefani and Tre Cool as a result of this iconic look, and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’ve decided a suitable name to follow in that tradition.

“Every piglet is a vital addition to the breeding programme and will help champion the plight of this fascinating, charismatic species.”

Chester Zoo’s latest arrival is vitally important to the endangered species breeding programme which is looking to maintain a genetically viable population of Visayan warty pigs in zoos around Europe.

The Visayan warty pig was recently recognised as a species in its own right. Little is currently known about these animals in the wild and experts say that by working closely with them in the zoo, they can transfer knowledge to further support the animals in the wild.

Stuart Young, Regional Field Programme Manager for South East Asian Islands at Chester Zoo, explains:

“Working with Visayan warty pigs in the zoo gives us the opportunity to study these animals in a way we never would have been able to in the wild.

“However, the important knowledge gathered here at the zoo is then shared with our partners at the Talarak Foundation in Negros, the Philippines, and has helped with the reintroduction of 19 Visayan warty pigs back into the wild. The pigs were reintroduced to Bayawan Nature Reserve in Negros in July 2020, where the animals had been extinct for more than 10 years. We’re absolutely delighted to reveal that the population is now thriving and 10 piglets have been born since they were rehomed.

“Although pigs can sometimes be overlooked, and don’t gather the attention that other bigger mammals receive, they play a really important role in the ecosystem - which is why we must continue to prevent their extinction.”

Visayan warty pigs live in small social groups and communicate with squeaks, grunts and chirrups. Piglets take their mother’s milk for up to six months, moving on to a varied diet that includes roots, tubers and fruits. 

Chester Zoo was the first zoo in the UK to care for Visayan warty pigs, a species that gets its name from three pairs of fleshy warts on the boar’s face.

The breeding centre in the Philippines, and the nature reserve where the pigs were released, have recently been hit by a deadly typhoon causing damage to fences and buildings. Chester Zoo is supporting the Talarak Foundation with repair costs, but extra funding is needed.

Orange You Glad There’s Another Langur Baby To Report?

Join us in welcoming Zoo Knoxville’s newest BRIGHT ORANGE troop member! Born on Dec. 12, it is the third Silvered Leaf langur baby to be welcomed to Zoo Knoxville since they 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 bright orange 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, Lucy and Coda, who will all help care for the infant, a social practice called allomothering.

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 The Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Slivered leaf langurs are threatened in their native range in Borneo and Sumatra, and the southwestern Malay peninsula. Their habitat is being destroyed by logging and the development of palm oil plantations. The species is also threatened by hunting and the illegal pet trade. One of the best ways to support conservation of langurs and other animals impacted by palm oil farming is to purchase products made with sustainable palm oil. Download the “Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping” app created by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Google Play or Apple App Store to check if the product you are about to purchase is “langur friendly”.

More Than 1,000 Hellbenders Hatch at Saint Louis Zoo in Fall 2021

Ten years ago, the Saint Louis Zoo celebrated the hatching of the world's first successful zoo-bred Ozark hellbenders at the Zoo. Today, our hellbender nursery has 1,333 recent hatchlings of endangered Ozark and eastern hellbender salamanders! From October through December this year, 750 second-generation Saint Louis Zoo-bred Ozark hellbenders hatched at the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium. In addition to this exciting progress, the Missouri Department of Conservation also brought Ozark and eastern hellbender eggs to us from Missouri river systems to safely hatch in our care, resulting in 583 of the 1,333 hatchlings. Located in a private space outside the Herpetarium are two large streams created specifically for breeding groups of Ozark hellbenders. The herpetology keepers scuba dive into these streams to collect the fertilized eggs and bring them into the Herpetarium for specialized care. The keepers also take this time to weigh and measure the adult hellbenders. In this video, go underwater with a keeper to collect hellbender eggs and see how the Zoo cares for them from egg to hatchling!

Spectacular, Speckled Tapir Baby!

On Saturday December 4, a beautiful Malayan tapir was born in Antwerp ZOO. After thirteen months of pregnancy, mom Nakal's delivery went smoothly and quickly. Malayan tapirs are endangered. 


Caretakers determined the calf is a male. The little one is drinking well and already walking around a lot. This is the fourth tapir baby for mother Nakal, and her first son. This is the second offspring for father Baku.

Continue reading "Spectacular, Speckled Tapir Baby!" »

Bright Orange Baby Joins The Troop!

Memphis Zoo’s newest baby is a Francois’ Langur. The infant, named Ryder, was born to parents Jay Jay and Jean Grey. He is the pair’s fifth baby. He’s hard to miss as he is completely orange! Francois langurs are born orange to signify to the rest of the group that they are babies and need protection. The females in the troop all take part in helping raise babies, so he is often passed around from sister to sister. This gives the young females in the troop practice carrying babies. Ryder will begin exploring on his own, while staying close to mom in the upcoming weeks.

Francois langurs are native to the dense, humid forests and green valleys of southern China. Langurs are folivorous, meaning they eat leaves almost exclusively.

White-cheeked Gibbon Birth At Akron Zoo

Parker the Gibbon gave birth at Ohio’s Akron Zoo on Thursday, Dec. 9 at around 9 p.m. White-cheeked gibbons are arboreal, which means that they live high in trees. Gibbons are more likely to give birth high up, and Parker is protecting her baby from the beginning as she catches the infant during the delivery. She immediately begins grooming and cleaning the baby.

Parker is a very attentive and caring mother. She nurses and cuddles her infant while dad, Milo, watches from afar. Parker is very protective of her baby and does not let Milo get too close. Gibbon fathers do play a role in rearing, so this is temporary for our gibbon family!

Parker has established strong bonds with her care team since she arrived here at the Akron Zoo at the end of 2020. While our staff is hands-off with the baby, Parker is willing to show the baby to her keepers and our veterinary staff, who can then take a look at the baby to make sure everything is going well.

After a few days, Parker allows Milo to sit next to her and meet the baby for the first time. He gently reaches out to touch the infant and after begins to groom Parker.

For primate species, grooming is a good indicator of a strong bond. Parker and Milo are often seen grooming each other. When the baby is one week old, Milo grooms the infant for the first time!

Gibbon babies will hold on to their mom from the time of birth. At two days old, Parker brings the baby to show members of her care team while Parker enjoys some food.

Sound on for this video! While Parker is eating, the baby is finding his or her voice and vocalizing before beginning to nurse!   

Parker was very excited to show off her baby during their first time in the indoor gibbon habitat.

Polar Bear Cub Born At Highland Wildlife Park

On December 16th, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) announced the birth of a tiny polar bear cub at Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore.  

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity were delighted when they first heard the distinct high-pitched cub sounds coming from the den earlier this week but say the coming months are crucial.  

CCTV footage captured in the den shows mum and cub enjoying a snooze.  

Victoria previously gave birth to Hamish, the UK’s first polar bear cub in 25 years, in December 2017. As part of the breeding programme for the species, Hamish moved to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in November 2020. Hamish’s father Arktos was paired with Victoria again earlier this year. 

Say Hello to Mawe: A 3-week-old Giraffe Calf Gets a Name at the San Diego Zoo

Just in time for the holidays, a newborn giraffe calf at the San Diego Zoo has received the perfect gift—a name. The 3-week-old female calf will be called Mawe (pronounced “maw way”), meaning stone in Swahili. She was born to first-time mom Saba; and at birth, she weighed a little under 150 pounds and stood approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Mawe has been introduced to the other members of the herd, and both mom and baby are doing well.

Science teams have estimated that fewer than 100,000 giraffes are left in their native habitats—a decrease of more than 40 percent over the last 20 years. It is believed that the downward trend is due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and poaching in certain regions. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has partnered with numerous conservation organizations on large-scale conservation projects, in an effort to slow and eventually stop the continued decline of giraffe populations.