Bioparc Valencia

Baby Aardvark The Newest Arrival at Bioparc Valencia

Primavera 2019 - Nace una nueva cría de oricteropo en BIOPARC Valencia (4)

On May 12, Bioparc Valencia announced a rare birth: a baby Aardvark was born!

The baby joins a family of mom, dad, and two siblings. For now, mom and baby have private living quarters so they can properly bond and rest. Keepers report that mom and baby appear to be doing well, and they check on the pair often during these critical early weeks. Twice a day, the baby is inspected and weighed to make sure it is gaining weight at a steady pace.

Primavera 2019 - Nace una nueva cría de oricteropo en BIOPARC Valencia (6)
Primavera 2019 - Nace una nueva cría de oricteropo en BIOPARC Valencia (6)Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Eventually, mom and baby (who keepers suspect is a female) will join the family in the outdoor habitat, where they spend the evenings digging holes in search of insects as they would in the wild.

At birth, baby Aardvarks weigh about three pounds and have droopy ears and hairless, wrinkled skin. As the baby grows, the wrinkles gradually disappear and the ears are held upright.  Body hair starts to appear at five to six weeks of age.

Aardvarks are native to sub-Saharan Africa and spend their days hidden in burrows. At night, they emerge and search for ants and termites to eat. Aardvarks’ huge claws dig small trenches in the soil as they sniff and listen for insect activity. Using the long, sticky tongue, Aardvarks lick up thousands of ants and termites – as many as 50,000 per night.

Bioparc Valencia houses the only reproductive group of Aardvarks in Spain.




Rare Chimpanzee Twins Born At Bioparc Valencia

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Valentine’s Day was extra special at Bioparc Valencia this year  when female Chimpanzee Marlin gave birth to twins. 

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11B24596-BEB5-436D-83C5-2FD9CAB354AD
11B24596-BEB5-436D-83C5-2FD9CAB354AD
11B24596-BEB5-436D-83C5-2FD9CAB354ADPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

The staff had already been on alert for Malin’s approaching due date.  Malin is an experienced mother, so the staff was not overly concerned, but they added bedding to the Chimps’ indoor quarters and kept a close eye on Malin.

On February 14, they were surprised to discover that Malin had delivered twins! The sex of the infants is not yet known, but the staff can tell them apart by their ear color: one has dark ears and the other has light ears.  

Twins are somewhat rare in Chimpanzees.  Most females give birth to just one infant.  Despite the extra demand of carrying and nursing two babies, Malin is providing excellent care for her youngsters.  

Chimpanzees are native to the forests if western and central Africa.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  

 


Amazing Rodent Family Grows at Bioparc Valencia

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After a gestation of 70 days, ten Naked Mole-rat pups were born at BIOPARC Valencia.

The new family makes their home in a special exhibit that recreates the underground life of the African Savannah. Part of the galleries that houses them allows visitors to see the intricate tunnels and rooms where the rodents live and raise their young.

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3_Febrero 2019 - Nace una nueva camada de ratas topo en BIOPARC Valencia (3)

4_Febrero 2019 - Nace una nueva camada de ratas topo en BIOPARC ValenciaPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

The Naked Mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a burrowing rodent native to parts of East Africa. It has a highly unusual set of physical traits that allow it to thrive in a harsh underground environment and is the only mammalian thermoconformer, almost entirely ectothermic (cold-blooded) in how it regulates body temperature. One of the most striking features is the skin that is almost free of hair and "transparent" for lack of an insulating layer of fat under it.

The Naked Mole-rat lacks pain sensitivity in its skin, and has very low metabolic and respiratory rates. The species is also remarkable for its longevity and its resistance to cancer and oxygen deprivation.

These curious rodents are the only mammals with a eusocial behavior, which is also a characteristic feature of insects. Like insects, the Naked Mole-rats live in colonies that have overlapping generations and make an organized division of labor and cooperative care of offspring. Likewise, there is only one reproductive female, the "queen", and one to three breeding males or "drones". The rest of the individuals are divided between "soldiers" and "workers". The rest of the females are sterile, because the "queen" inhibits their reproductive capacity and a part of them ingests the excrements of the queen, which are rich in the sexual hormone estradiol, which activates them to be in "breeding" mode and to exercise of caretakers of the children of the queen.

The Naked Mole-rats longevity is superior to other rodents, up to 30 years, and the low presence of cancerous tumors were already known; thanks to a special gene, p16, which prevents the disordered growth of cells.

We also knew of the species’ resistance to the absence of oxygen. A human brain can die after 1 minute without oxygen, but the Naked Mole-rat holds up to 18 minutes without it and arrives at 5 hours with low oxygen levels. What we now know is that this is because this rodent changes its metabolism to anaerobic and uses fructose as energy as plants do, instead of glucose. These latest discoveries open avenues of investigation not only to increase survival, but also to possibly preserve our brain from the damage and degeneration produced by diseases that cause oxygen deficiency in neurons.


Zebra Foal Has Eventful First Day on Earth

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On the afternoon of September 5, visitors of BIOPARC Valencia were fortunate enough to witness the birth of a Zebra foal.

Amazingly, just a few minutes after the birth, that moment of joy was replaced by one of anguish when the newborn colt accidentally fell into the small body of water in the Zebra exhibit. Keepers quickly entered the water and saved the baby. The newborn was delivered to the anxious mother, while the crowd of zoo patrons responded with applause.

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4_BIOPARC Valencia - septiembre 2018Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia 

The new foal and mom, La Niña, are doing well. Keepers report that the little Zebra instinctively follows his protective mother.

La Niña arrived at BIOPARC Valencia in 2007 from the Halle Zoo (Germany) and the new colt’s father, Zambé, was transferred from Safari de Peaugres (France) in 2012.

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6_BIOPARC Valencia - septiembre 2018


Baby Talapoin Born to Rescued Parents

BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018Spain’s Bioparc Valencia welcomed a Northern Talapoin, the smallest of all Monkeys found in Africa, on August 21. The birth is significant because it occurred within a group of Talapoins that were confiscated from wildlife smugglers.

BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Baby Talapoins are born weighing almost one-quarter of their adult weight. That means a two-pound adult female could deliver a baby weighing one-half pound. (In humans, that would be akin to a 100-pound woman giving birth to a 25-pound baby.)  The baby Talapoins grow rapidly and are weaned by about six weeks of age. The youngsters are independent by the time they are three months old.

Northern Talapoins are not well studied, so this birth allows the zoo to share information on breeding and reproduction with the scientific community.

Because of their small size and unusual greenish coloration, Talapoins are captured and sold illegally as pets. As in most wildlife trafficking, the animals are kept in cruel conditions (such as being stuffed into PVC pipes), and many die in transport. The lucky group at Bioparc Valencia was spared that fate.

Wildlife trafficking remains a significant problem around the globe. Wild animals should never be kept as pets.


Western Chimpanzee Baby Gets Name of Honor

1_Agosto 2018 - El chimpancé recién nacido en BIOPARC Valencia es un macho y se llama COCO (4)

BIOPARC Valencia welcomed a male Western Chimpanzee in July.

The new baby has been given the name Coco, and mom, Noelia, and dad, Moreno, are caring for him. Although inexperienced, the new parents are doing well and receiving support from other adult females in their group.

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4_Agosto 2018 - La chimpancé Noelia y su bebé nacido en BIOPARC ValenciaPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

Coco was named in honor of a breeding male from a Chimpanzee group that was moved from Viveros Zoo to BIOPARC Valencia in 2008. The original Coco was a rescued circus performer that lived for 27 years, until 2005, in the safety of Viveros. His group was later relocated to BIOPARC, where they remain today. Although there is no genetic link to the new baby and the original “Coco” (they belong to different subspecies), BIOPARC’s commitment remains the same: to the preserve the planet's biodiversity, preserve species at risk of extinction, and also to assist those animals that live amongst us that are not treated as they should by man.

The Western Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is a subspecies of the common Chimpanzee. It inhabits western Africa, mainly in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.

The IUCN classifies the Western Chimpanzee as “Critically Endangered” on their Red List of Threatened Species. There are an estimated 21,300 to 55,600 individuals in the wild. The primary threat to the species is habitat loss, although it is also killed for the bush meat trade.


Bioparc Valencia Welcomes First Zebra of the Season

Cebras - madre y potro nacido 10 julio - verano 2018 - BIOPARC Valencia

BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their first Zebra foal of the year!

The new mother, Bom, arrived at BIOPARC Valencia in 2007 from the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, and the father, Zambé, was transferred from Safari de Peaugres in France in 2012.

Keepers report that the new family is doing very well, and the foal constantly follows his mother, who protects and feeds on demand, enjoying the warm summer days with the rest of the herd. Predictably, the Zoo says other females in their herd of Grant’s Zebra are currently pregnant and could give birth soon.

Cebras en la Sabana - madre y potro nacido 10 julio - verano 2018 - BIOPARC Valencia

Cebra nacida 10 julio - verano 2018 - BIOPARC ValenciaPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

This new Zebra birth adds to those that in previous years have occurred in BIOPARC, which makes it a genetic reserve of this emblematic African species.

The geographical distribution of the Grant's Zebra (Equus burchelli boehmi) is in Zambia, west of the Luangwa River, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. They are the smallest of six subspecies of the Plains Zebra.

Their diet includes grass, hard stems and, sometimes, leaves or bark of trees and shrubs. They require a large amount of food so it is not uncommon for them to spend around 20 hours a day grazing.

The gestation period is 360-370 days and usually one calf is born. Life expectancy is around 38-40 years.


Naked Mole Rats Born at Bioparc Valencia

BIOPARC Valencia - Nace una camada de ratas topo - verano 2018

A litter of Naked Mole Rats was born last week at Bioparc Valencia, highlighting this unusual and unique species.

Native to the dry grasslands of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Naked Mole Rats excavate extensive underground burrows. They are well adapted to their underground life, with tiny eyes and large teeth for digging. As the name suggests, Naked Mole Rats have very little hair and lack a fat layer under the skin.

BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia



Naked Mole Rats are unusual among mammals in that they exhibit eusociality, a social structure similar to that of ants, termites and bees. The life of the colony is governed by chemical mechanisms, where there is only one breeding female (the queen), and one to three breeding males (the drones). The rest of the individuals in the colony are workers, which are sterile and are charged with maintaining the nest and gathering food.

Scientists are greatly interested in Naked Mole Rats because they are believed to be resistant to cancer, likely due to their genetic makeup. They are insensitive to pain because they lack a specific neurotransmitter. Naked Mole Rats are able to thrive in a low-oxygen environment (only about 2-9%, compared to 21% above ground). In addition, their relatively long lifespan of 32 years – unlike many rodents that live just a few years – is of great interest to scientists who study the aging process.

One of the objectives of BIOPARC Valencia is to make known the rich biodiversity of the planet and the need to conserve it, where all species are essential.


Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch

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Visitors to Spain’s Bioparc Valencia witnessed a special moment when Fossey, a Western Lowland Gorilla, gave birth in the exhibit habitat at about 4:00 pm on March 8.

The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is the fourth baby of this Critically Endangered species to be born at Bioparc Valencia in the last five years.

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8-marzo-nace-el-cuarto-gorila-valenciano-en-BIOPARCPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

This is the first baby for 18-year-old Fossey, who is named for American primatologist Dian Fossey.  Silverback Mambie is the father of all four babies born at Bioparc Valencia.

The Gorilla family at Bioparc Valencia is large and stable, which contributes to a tranquil setting for newborns. The group consists of three adult females, one silverback, and youngsters Ebo, 5, Virunga, 19 months, and Mbeli, 5 months.

To prepare for the birth, the Gorilla team gave the entire group access to indoor and outdoor quarters all day and all night. This allowed the new mom to find a comfortable space to deliver her baby. Gorillas are naturally social, and the other members of the troop immediately came to meet the new baby. The young Gorillas in particular showed a great deal of interest in their new half-sibling.

The new baby will play a vital role in the European Gorilla Conservation Program, a cooperative effort of European zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and sustainable Gorilla population.

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the mountain forests of central Africa. The total population is around 150,000 – 250,000 individuals, but declines at a rate of 2.5% per year. The number one threat to this species is poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of Gorillas for body parts. Gorillas are hunted even in protected areas. Diseases, including Ebola virus, are another serious threat.   

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

Continue reading "Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch" »


Gazelle Extinct in the Wild Is Born in Valencia

BIOPARC Valencia - Gacela Mhorr recién nacida - 9 de noviembre 2017 (2)
A Mhorr Gazelle, which is extinct in the wild, was born while amazed visitors watched at Spain’s Bioparc Valencia on November 9.

The newborn immediately tried to stand while its attentive mother hovered close by. It was eventually successful and nursed from mom shortly after.

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BIOPARC Valencia - Gacela Mhorr recién nacida - 9 de noviembre 2017 (2)
BIOPARC Valencia - Gacela Mhorr recién nacida - 9 de noviembre 2017 (2)Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Mhorr Gazelles, once found in western regions of Africa’s Sahel and the Sahara Desert, became extinct in the wild in 1968. Since then, European, African, and Middle Eastern zoos have developed breeding programs for Mhorr Gazelles. Some individuals have been reintroduced to their former native range as part of an effort to reestablish the wild population.

Mhorr Gazelles (Nanger dama mhorr) are one of three subspecies of Dama Gazelles. The other two are Addra Gazelles (N. d. ruficollis) which live in the eastern Sahel and Sahara, and the nominate subspecies, Dama Gazelles (N. d. dama), which lives in the central region between the other two subspecies.

Scientists continue to debate whether each are separate subspecies based on genetic sampling.

These Gazelles are well-adapted to arid habitats, requiring little water and feeding on grasses, acacia leaves, and fruits.

With all three subspecies, small, fragmented populations in the wild are a concern for the future of these Gazelles. There are only five remnant populations remaining in the wild, and some number fewer than 100 individuals. All Dama Gazelles are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Zoos and other breeding programs are the only hope for the survival of these elegant and graceful Gazelles.