MELBOURNE, Fla., March 22, 2023 — Brevard Zoo welcomed a new baby to its Expedition Africa loop. On Saturday, March 18, klipspringer Deborah gave birth around 10:30 a.m. on habitat in Expedition Africa. While some eagle-eyed guests got to see the newborn baby, officials soon moved mom and little one to a behind-the-scenes area to give them time to bond.
Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on Tuesday, March 21, where it was determined the baby is female and is in good health. Animal care staff have observed the newborn nursing and note that Deborah is a “great mom.” At the time of exam, the little one weighed just over 2 pounds!
Osceola turkey chicks were hatched to mom Giblet on September 9 and 10 at Brevard Zoo. These chicks are the first of their species to hatch at the Zoo.
The Zoo’s small flock of turkeys has lived at the Zoo since September 2020, and although the females had laid eggs in the past, they had not produced any chicks until recently. The chicks’ sire, Green Bean Casserole, lives with Giblet and other female turkeys Gravy and Cranberry.
MELBOURNE, Fla., August 29, 2022 — The Brevard Zoo’s first black howler monkey baby has arrived! In the early morning of August 2, 13-year-old Baya gave birth to an infant. According to animal care staff, both mom and baby are doing well.
MELBOURNE, Fla., July 20, 2022 — Brevard Zoo's newest Grévy’s zebra has taken his first steps (and a gallop or two) in one of his habitats, the Veldt, in the Zoo’s Expedition Africa section! He will continue making visits under the discretion of the animal care team.
The zebra foal, now named Ziggy, was born on June 30 to 11-year-old Grévy’s zebra Iggy. Animal care staff conducted a neonatal exam later that afternoon and discovered he weighed about 84 pounds.
MELBOURNE, Fla., June 14, 2022 — Brevard Zoo welcomed not one, but two north Sulawesi babirusa piglets on May 18! The offspring were born to 6-year-old mom Piggy and dad Meru. Although we are unsure of their sexes at this time, animal care staff note that both babies appear healthy and alert.
Around 1 a.m. on November 2, 3-year-old Baird’s tapir Mia gave birth at Brevard Zoo in Florida! Thanks to a camera system installed in the tapir night house—and the dedication of animal staff watching at home—she could be seen going into labor. Director of Animal Programs Lauren Hinson, Expedition Africa Supervisors Chelsea Herman and Kim Castrucci and Rainforest Revealed Supervisor Michelle Ferguson jumped in their cars and drove straight to the Zoo (prepared to step in if necessary), discovering that Mia had given birth after a very short six minutes of labor!
A Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth born at Brevard Zoo on May 12 is receiving specialized attention from animal care staff after the baby’s mother, Tango, was not interested in looking after the little one, and attempts to reunite the pair were unsuccessful.
The yet-to-be-named newborn, who was fathered by Dustin, is bottle-fed goat’s milk every three hours around the clock.
Because young sloths typically cling to their mothers at this age, the baby was given a variety of stuffed animals to hold.
Zoo staff have not yet identified the sex of the sloth as this will require a laboratory test.
This is the second sloth to arrive at the Zoo this spring. The first was born to Sammy on April 8; that baby is being reared by their mother and is visible to guests in the Rainforest Revealed section of the Zoo.
Sloths are threatened by the wildlife trade and habitat loss. The Zoo urges tourists visiting Central or South America to pass on “photo ops” with sloths, which often feature animals unsustainably removed from their natural habitat.
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.”