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September 2023

Litter of Five Cheetah Cubs Are Born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Carnivore keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, are celebrating a litter of five cheetah cubs born to 8-year-old adult female Echo Tuesday, Sept. 12. Viewers can enjoy watching the cubs grow via the Cheetah Cub Cam. Note that Echo may move her cubs out of the den and around her habitat so they may be out of view at times.

Animal care staff will leave Echo to bond with and care for her cubs without interference, but as opportunities arise, staff will perform quick health checks. During a recent weight check, staff confirmed there are three males and two females. The cubs appear to be strong, active, vocal and eating well.

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Giraffe Birth Wows Onlookers

Many lucky guests and staff had a most amazing experience when a baby giraffe was born at Copenhagen Zoo on Friday September 8 at 12:25pm.

It's a highly experienced mother with seven successful births behind her, so officials felt confident in opening the barn and allowing curious guests to watch. Of course, there was always staff present to observe the animals' behavior and close the barn if they showed signs of stress - but it wasn't necessary at all! All maintained a respectful silence while excited children and adults had an experience of a lifetime.

Indianapolis Zoo Welcomes African Elephant Calf, Makes History on a Special “Labor” Day

INDIANAPOLIS — This Labor Day was history-making for the Indianapolis Zoo with first-time elephant mother Zahara bringing a male calf into the world. The newest member of the Zoo’s African elephant herd arrived Monday evening shortly after 5:30 p.m. The birth made history as the first elephant in the world (African or Asian) to be born through artificial insemination to a mother who was also born through the same procedure. 

Elephant care staff began staying overnight on Friday when routine blood tests alerted them to the impending birth. Assistant Curator of Elephants Niki Kowalski reported that the calf arrived only 20 minutes after the initial signs of labor. “Zahara’s mother Ivory is known for her short labor times, and this baby came quickly as well,” said Kowalski.  The calf weighs 262 pounds, which is a healthy birthweight. Average birthweight for African elephant calves is 226 pounds, with males typically weighing heavier than females. The calf is strong and was standing within 10 minutes of birth. Mom and baby are doing great and have bonded quickly. “What a great way to celebrate Labor Day,” Kowalsi added.

Prior to the calf’s birth, Zahara was the Zoo’s youngest elephant, at age 17. Her calf is the seventh to be born at the Indianapolis Zoo. “We are especially excited as this calf will begin a third generation in the herd at the Zoo,” said President & CEO Robert Shumaker. The Indianapolis Zoo is recognized as a leader in African elephant reproduction. The first and second African elephants in the world to be conceived and successfully born through artificial insemination were at the Zoo in 2000. Multi-generational herds are the most natural and healthy social setting for elephants.  They are also essential to educate Zoo visitors which creates a conservation ethic to further elephant survival in the wild.

Photos and videos are available here for download and use. Today, Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m., journalists will be able to talk with elephant care staff at the Zoo.  

By visiting zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, guests are contributing to the fight against poaching and helping to save elephants. Visitors help make possible the field conservation, research, habitat restoration, reduction of human-elephant conflicts and community-

based initiatives necessary to protect wild populations. To learn more, go to

Giraffe Undergoes Surgery at Zoo Miami

Yesterday, an 8-month-old male giraffe named, “Turtle,” underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment in his right rear leg.  The fragment was most likely the result of a previous unknown trauma leading to pain in the joint and an abnormal gait.  Because the altered gait could lead to more severe issues resulting in a life-threatening situation, it was imperative that the bone fragment be surgically removed to relieve the pain and hopefully restore a normal gait.

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