Bristol Zoo Gardens
A 27.5-ounce antelope and a deer the height of a pencil have been born at Brevard and Bristol Zoos, respectively.
This is the first glimpse of one of the most unusual and threatened lemurs in the world – born at Bristol Zoo Gardens.
It is an aye-aye and although it arrived almost two months ago it has been kept out of sight by its mother until now.
Aye-ayes are nocturnal and are famed for having an extended middle finger which they use to find food inside logs and trees.
Senior Mammal Keeper Paige Bwye, who took these remarkable pictures, said: “I went to check on the aye-ayes and I saw these two bright, dark eyes peering at me and I knew immediately it was the new infant.
A baby gorilla has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens, the second in less than six months.
The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of December 22 in the Gorilla House at the heart of the Zoo.
Mum Touni gave birth naturally to the infant, with dad, Jock, and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived in the morning to find the little gorilla being cradled in its mother’s arms.
It is 13-year-old Touni’s second baby. In April 2017 she gave birth to Ayana, who still lives at the Zoo.
The new infant was born just four months after another gorilla, ten-year-old Kala, gave birth to Hasani – currently being hand-reared by keepers after Kala struggled to care for him.
Nigel Simpson, Bristol Zoological Society’s Head of Animal Collections, said: “It is simply wonderful to see a new-born gorilla, they are so charismatic and such an iconic species.”
The birth is also important in helping to safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas, which are Critically Endangered in the wild.
Nigel said: “Touni is an excellent mother and she is taking very good care of her baby. All the early signs are positive and the baby looks to be strong and healthy. We will be keeping a very close eye on both mother and baby as these early days are so important.
“This is also great news for Bristol Zoological Society, which operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, as we are part of an internationally important breeding and conservation programme.”
The new gorilla joins the troop of seven others at the Zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.
One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea. This area is highlighted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically important for the conservation of the species.
For more than 20 years the Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.
Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.
Visitors to the Zoo should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House or look onto the Gorilla Island outside.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, but also its vital conservation and research projects across four continents.
In March the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
To find out more, or to make a donation, visit https://bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.
Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens are recommended to book online in advance https://bristolzoo.org.uk/online-booking.
An infant western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens is being given round-the-clock care by keepers.
The baby, which keepers now know is male, is two months old and was delivered naturally but has not been feeding well and his mother, Kala, has been finding looking after him challenging.
He was not getting enough milk from Kala to survive so a small team of experienced keepers is now caring for him and bottle feeding him day and night.
This will continue for the next four months after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.
During the day, the baby gorilla is being looked after in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family.
At night the infant is being cared for by keepers in Zoo-owned accommodation onsite.
Now the youngster needs a name and the Zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.
Keepers have drawn up a shortlist of names and the Zoo is running a naming poll on its Facebook page from today (Thursday October 22).
The names to vote on are:
- Motuku - means ‘Chief of the Village’ in Bubi (local language in Equatorial Guinea)
- Hasani – means ‘Handsome’ in Swahili
- Luango – town/city on the coast of Equatorial Guinea
- Kidosi - popular African name, particularly in Central Africa
To vote for your favourite name, visit facebook.com/BristolZooGardens/.
Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hand-rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.
“Sadly this doesn’t always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.”
Lynsey said keepers would do their best to treat him like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.
She added: “It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”
The rest of the gorilla troop are doing well and keepers are keeping a close eye on Kala who is adjusting well and is in good health.
While the gorilla house is open as normal, the baby gorilla is not able to be seen by the public at this stage.
Bristol Zoo has been caring for gorillas since 1930. The Zoo plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.
Bristol Zoological Society also raises significant funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.
Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.
In March 2020 Bristol Zoological Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.
The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covd-19 pandemic. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.
A baby gorilla has been born, helping to secure the future of this critically endangered species.
The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, August 19) in the Gorilla House at the Zoo.
Nine-year-old Kala gave birth naturally, overnight to the infant with dad, Jock, just a few metres away and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived this morning to find the little gorilla nestling in its mother’s arms.
Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “We are all thrilled. There is something very special about seeing a new-born baby gorilla, they are such an iconic and charismatic species.”
She said both Kala, who came to Bristol Zoo from Germany in 2018, and her baby were doing very well.
Lynsey said: “She is being very attentive and taking good care of her baby. It’s very early days but we are cautiously optimistic. The early signs are good and the baby looks to be a good size and is strong.”
The new gorilla joins our troop of six gorillas, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.
One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea – an area highlighted by the IUCN as critically important for the conservation of this species.
For more than 20 years The Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.
Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.
Visitors should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House on our new one-way route.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Wild Place and Bristol Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
In March, the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. To find out more, or to make a donation, visit the appeal page.
Visitors to Bristol Zoo are now asked to pre-purchase and members asked to pre-book tickets in advance, online, here.
Meet Fred, the smallest new addition to the reptile house at Bristol Zoo Gardens.
Only the size of a grape (15mm long) and just four weeks old, he is one of two Bearded Pygmy Chameleons that hatched in their enclosure from eggs the size of Tic-Tac mints.
A further eight tiny eggs are being incubated, behind the scenes, in the Zoo’s Reptile House and are expected to hatch in the coming weeks.
This is just the second time the Zoo has bred Bearded Pygmy Chameleons.
Curator of reptiles and amphibians, Tim Skelton, said, “Bearded Pygmy Chameleons are a very popular species; they are remarkably small and only grow to around 3 inches (8cm) when fully grown.”
“Although not endangered, we can learn a lot from breeding and caring for these animals which will help us in our breeding efforts for more endangered species in future.”
The Bearded Pygmy Chameleon (Rieppeleon brevicaudatus) is named after the beard-like scales below its mouth. Its native habitat is sub-montane and lowland forest and shrub in Eastern Tanzania and South-eastern Kenya. They eat a variety of small invertebrate food including small crickets and flies.
Veterinarians and keepers carried out a rare procedure to save the life of a Critically Endangered newborn Lemur at Wild Place Project.
They stepped in just hours after the tiny White-belted Ruffed Lemur and his two siblings were born. The babies’ mother, Ihosy, was not showing any interest in them. The little Lemurs, each smaller than a stick of butter, were getting cold and dehydrated.
After the smallest of three died, the staff decided to take the unusual step of intervening to try to save the other two. Ihosy was given a mild anesthetic and taken with her babies to the animal care center at Wild Place Project, which is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society.
As Ihosy slept peacefully, the team placed the two babies on her belly so they could begin feeding. One of the babies was too weak and later died, but the third pulled through and is now feeding regularly and is being cared for by Ihosy.
Zoo veterinarian Sara Shopland said, “Ihosy reared two babies last year and was a good mum so we didn’t expect this complication. This is quite a rare procedure and it’s not something we commonly do but we decided we had to act.”
Ihosy and her surviving baby are now in their nest box at Wild Place Project where vets and keepers are keeping regular checks on them.
Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place project, said, “Ihosy is now looking after her surviving baby and all the signs are good. It was a great effort by my team and the vet team and we are so pleased that one of the triplets has survived.”
Every White-belted Ruffed Lemur is crucially important to the future of the subspecies which has undergone a population decline of 80 percent in just 21 years. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now considers them to be at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
The main threats to the species in the wild are habitat loss due to slash-and-burn and commercial agriculture, logging and mining, as well as hunting for meat.
See more photos of the newborn Lemur below.
One of the rarest spiders on earth has bred at Bristol Zoo Gardens in a world first.
Over 1,000 tiny Desertas Wolf Spiderlings have hatched in the Zoo’s Bug World. So valuable are the babies, some have even been hand-reared by dedicated keepers from tiny eggs.
The hatchings are a huge boost for the species, which is only found in one valley on one of the Desertas Islands, near Madeira, Portugal. There is thought to be a single population of just 4,000 adult spiders left in the wild – an alarmingly small number for an entire invertebrate species.
It is hoped that some of the spiderlings can be returned to their native island in the future to boost dwindling numbers in the wild.
Desertas Wolf Spiders (Hogna ingens) are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species but are not protected by any specific legislation.
The baby spiders are just 4mm in diameter but grow to be huge, impressive-looking black and white adults up to 12cm in size with a body size of 4cm. They are under threat from habitat loss, due to invasive grass binding the soil where they burrow and blocking their natural shelters.
Bristol Zoo has joined forces with Instituto das Florestas e Conservação de Natureza (IFCN) and the IUCN to develop a conservation strategy to protect the species in an effort to prevent it becoming extinct.
As part of the vital conservation effort, Bristol Zoo’s Curator of Invertebrates, Mark Bushell, travelled to Desertas Grande last year with Zoo vet Richard Saunders and collected 25 Desertas Wolf Spiders to be brought back to the Zoo to breed as a ‘safety net’ population.
The effort has been a great success, as Mark explains: “Because this was the first time this species had ever been taken into captivity to breed, it was a steep learning curve. After some of the female spiders were mated, it was an anxious wait to see if they would produce egg sacs. We were thrilled when they did, and to see the tiny spiderlings emerge was fantastic – a real career highlight.”
Such was the keepers’ dedication, that when one of the female’s egg sac broke, eggs were carefully transferred into a miniature incubator for rearing. Once the eggs hatched, they were put into separate containers with sterilized soil, kept in quarantine and individually fed with fruit flies.
Bristol Zoo now plans to send hundreds of the tiny spiderlings to other Zoos in the UK and Europe to set up further breeding groups as part of a collaborative conservation programme for the species.
Mark added: “Establishing the world’s first captive breeding programme for this species is a fantastic step towards protecting it for the future. It is a beautiful and impressive creature, but its natural habitat is being altered by invasive plants. There are simply not enough rocky and sandy areas of habitat left for the spiders to burrow and hide in. The result is a deadly game of musical chairs, whereby the spiders are competing for fewer and fewer burrows.”
Mark added: “In addition to the loss of habitat, one single catastrophic event could wipe out the species entirely. Now we have successfully created a ‘safety net’ population here at Bristol Zoo to help safeguard this impressive creature for the future.”
In future it is also hoped that Bristol Zoo’s team of horticulture experts can visit Desertas Grande to work with park rangers to control the invasive grass, which is destroying the spiders’ habitats and help restore the original landscape.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public, not only to fund its important work in the zoo but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
For more information about visiting Bristol Zoo Gardens, visit their website at www.bristolzoo.org.uk .
A tiny baby Pygmy Hippo has been born at the Bristol Zoo Gardens in the UK. The youngster is three weeks old and joins parents Sirana and Nato in the Zoo’s Hippo House.
The calf, which is yet to be sexed, currently spends time exploring the exhibit and using the heated pool. To enable Nato and Sirana time to settle into their parenting duties, the hippos had remained off-exhibit, but the family can now be seen for brief periods of time at the Hippo House.
Lynsey Bugg, Bristol Zoo’s Assistant Curator of Mammals said, “The calf is looking very strong and it certainly feeds well. Like any youngster, it wants to be close to Mum at all times and is often seen by her side. It spends short periods of time in the water but is not quite as good at swimming as its parents, so we often see Mum, Sirana, guiding her little one back into the shallow water. Young hippos tire easily.”
The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is threatened in the wild. In Liberia, destruction of forests surrounding the Sapo National Park by logging companies is damaging one of the few remaining strongholds for the Pygmy Hippo. Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of an international captive breeding programme for the Pygmy Hippo.
Lynsey continued, “The European programme is a well-established and very successful programme and our male, Nato, is a genetically important animal; by default, so will be his offspring.”
A baby Pudu, the world's smallest species of deer, was born at the United Kingdom’s Bristol Zoo in May.
Weighing only about two pounds at birth, Pudu fawns have distinctive white-spotted markings on their backs, which help provide camouflage from predators. Because the zoo staff can’t get too close to the fawn yet, they don’t know its gender. The fawn is being raised by its mother.
Pudus are native to lowland temperate rainforests in Chile and southwest Argentina. They are usually active at night, when they emerge to feed on leaves, bark, and fallen fruit. In the wild, Pudu populations are declining as their rain forest habitat is cleared for cattle ranching and other human development. The Bristol Zoo participates in an international conservation breeding program for the species. Pudus are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
See more photos of the Pudu fawn below.