Calgary Zoo

Greater Rhea Chicks First of Kind to Hatch


The Calgary Zoo is thrilled to announce the arrival of two Greater Rhea chicks. The yet unnamed chicks emerged August 3 and 5 and are the first of their kind to hatch at the Zoo.

“Within Greater Rhea flocks, the males take on the dominant parenting role, by building nests, incubating eggs and caring for the newly hatched chicks,” says Colleen Baird, General Curator, Calgary Zoo. “Our male, Jekyll has been doing an amazing job and we are so pleased to be able to contribute to this threatened bird species.”

Rhea02Photo Credits: Calgary Zoo

The Greater Rhea is flightless and the largest bird in South America. Related to the Ostrich and Emu, they are classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN and are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is designed to ensure genetic diversity and safeguard a species-at-risk population.

In the wild, Rhea populations are declining due to hunting, habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts are focusing on illegal trade and protecting the birds’ remaining natural habitat.

UPDATE! Meerkat Family Grows as Calgary Zoo Rebuilds

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Back in June, staff at Calgary Zoo in Alberta rushed to batten down the hatches during a flood. They rescued five meerkats from a damaged exhibit just in time. The zoo withstood terrible damage, but there was a bright spot too: one week later, on June 28, one of the rescued female meerkats gave birth to five little cubs. (See our original story about the rescue and birth here.)

At two months old, the five cubs are now healthy, adventurous, and growing like weeds. They haven't been named yet because it will take a checkup to determine the sexes of the pups. Their mother is doing an excellent job at raising her offspring, so caretakers have decided not to intervene with the family just yet, as everything appears to be going smoothly. 

Calgary Zoo is in the process of repairing and rebuilding after the extensive damage caused by the flood. If you'd like to help out with a donation, it's easy to do from the Calgary Zoo website!

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Photo credits: Calgary Zoo

After Flood Rescue, Five Meerkats Born at Calgary Zoo

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In the early hours of Friday, June 21, at the height of the flood that engulfed the Calgary Zoo, curator Dr. Malu Celli and event-tech Josh Watson hurried to rescue the zoo’s five adult Meerkats – Petunia, Penelope, Kruger, Kwando, and Karoo – from the African Savannah building. No one anticipated the water would rise so high in the building and so the Meerkats had been left in their home the night before, with staff thinking they would be safe there. With the rapidly rising water quickly collapsing the burrows in their home, time was running out and the five had taken refuge in a concrete log in the exhibit. 

One week later, on Friday, June 28, while housed in comfortable temporary quarters at the zoo’s animal health center, five healthy pups were born. It seems that Penelope is the mom, but there’s a chance that some of the pups may belong to Petunia. Sounds confusing? While Penelope appears to be taking the lead as mom, Petunia is also lending a hand with the pups, and without close examination, it’s difficult to be 100 percent certain who is mom to whom. 

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Photo Credits: Calgary Zoo

See a video about the rescue below:

See and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "After Flood Rescue, Five Meerkats Born at Calgary Zoo" »

Musk Ox Baby Welcomed at Calgary Zoo


With shaggy fur and chunky legs, a baby Musk Ox is taking center stage at the Calgary Zoo.  The calf was born on April 23 to mom Shyia and dad Tlayopi.  Though Musk Ox calves are big babies, they have a lot of growing to do before reaching their adult weight of 500 to 800 pounds. 

This little calf and his mother appear to be bonding well, and the calf is nursing regularly.  Musk Ox calves nurse for about two months, then begin eating vegetation like the adults. 




Photo Credit:  © The Calgary Zoo by John Ternan

Musk Ox are named for the strong musky odor emitted by adult males.  They lived in small herds of about 20 animals in the Canadian Arctic and in Greenland; herds have also been introduced in Scandanavia.  Adult herd members will protect young calves by standing in a circle, facing outward, with calves in the center of the circle. 

Musk Ox populations are stable in the wild.

See more photos of the baby Musk Ox below the fold.

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Calgary Zoo Amur Tiger Cub Update!

The Calgary Zoo's three baby Amur Tiger cubs that ZooBorns first wrote about on March 31 -- when they were just a day old -- have opened their eyes! They can still only be seen on the birthing area webcams by keepers, so they can have all the time they need to bond with their mother in complete safety. Be sure to watch the video below.

The cubs will not go outdoors on exhibit until June, but ZooBorns will continue to post updates as they grow.




Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

Tiny Tiger Triplets Just Born at Calgary Zoo!


Canada's Calgary Zoo announced that between approximately 4:30 am and 7:00 am on March 30, three Amur tiger cubs were born to female Katja. Their father is Baikal. For the moment, the mother and cubs are being allowed to bond in the security of the birthing area and can only be seen on the webcams (video below). ZooBorns will post updates  - pictures and video - as they grow. 

The birth of these tiny cubs, each weighing an estimated 1.6 pounds (750 gms) is potentially great news for this highly-endangered species. The birth is a result of a breeding recommendation for eleven-year old Katja and ten-year old Baikal from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Program (SSP) for Amur tigers of which the Calgary Zoo is a participant.

Amur tigers are classified as endangered and at the last census conducted in the wild it was estimated that only about 350 - 400 Amur tigers remain. To put into perspective the truly endangered status of these beautiful animals, these three tiny cubs are representative of almost 1% of the entire wild population.



Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

It's a Red River Hog Piglet Duo for Calgary Zoo

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The Calgary Zoo has two new residents! On the morning of March 12 first time mom Ine (Swahili for “four”) gave birth to two Red River Hog piglets. The wee ones were observed nursing well and the building has re-opened. This will be the fourth litter of red river hogs for the Calgary Zoo.

Red river hogs are native to West and Central sub Saharan Africa to Northern South Africa and Madagascar. Their gestation period is 120-127 days. Red River Hogs are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP), a network of breeding recommendations between accredited zoos to provide for the best possible genetic diversity of the species.

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Photo Credit: Clagary Zoo


Endangered Foals Frolick in the Fields of Calgary Zoo

For the first time since 1994, three Asian Wild Horse foals have been born at the Calgary Zoo’s endangered species breeding facility – the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre (DWCC). The adorable new additions, now frolicking in the meadows at the zoo’s ranch, expand the herd from 8 to 11 horses. The public will have the chance to name the foals. The three foals were born on April 24 (colt*), May 2 (filly‡), and May 20 (filly) – contest details follow. All of them were sired by Varanasi, a stallion born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and introduced to the Calgary herd in 2008. All three mares, Naghai, Molly and Chilka, were born at the Granby Zoo in Quebec.




Photo and Video Credits: Calgary Zoo

Continue reading "Endangered Foals Frolick in the Fields of Calgary Zoo " »

More Red River Hoglets for Calgary

In the early morning hours of April 1, Red River hog mom Mvula gave birth to her second litter of adorable little Red River hoglets at the Calgary Zoo! The three babies and mom are now ready to come out to play after spending time bonding in their off display nursery over the past two weeks. ZooBorns covered Mvula's first batch of little piglets in April of last year.

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Red river hoglets calgary zoo 2010 1

Photo and video credits: Calgary Zoo

Adult Red River hogs get their name from their red coat and because their natural habitat is in the wetland areas of Central and Eastern Africa. The hoglets' camouflage coats make them look kind of like little orange watermelons!

Continue reading "More Red River Hoglets for Calgary" »