Cameron Park Zoo

Zoo Announces Birth of Critically Endangered Primate

1_Looking him over

Cameron Park Zoo, in Waco, Texas, is proud to announce that Mei, the Zoo’s Bornean Orangutan, gave birth to a baby boy on January 12.

The Zoo’s primate staff, veterinarian, a local ob/gyn, and NICU nurses from Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest Hospital were all present for the birth. The new baby began nursing with minutes of being born. The Zoo reports that both mom and baby are doing well.

This is the second baby for Mei, who is 18-years-old, and her partner Kerajaan (also known as KJ) who is 27-years-old.

2_moms kiss


4_Mei and sonPhoto Credits: Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo recently held a naming contest for the little male orangutan. The primate staff presented three names for the public to choose from: Bawana which means “earth” or “world”; Jaka which means “young man”; and Razak which means “protector”.

The proceeds raised through the naming contest are going directly to caring for his wild baby cousins in Kalimantan.

In late 2015, fires raged across Kalimantan causing widespread forest loss and devastating impacts to wildlife populations. Tragically, many baby orangutans were left orphaned after losing their mothers and forest homes to the fires. Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) teams rescued 44 baby orangutans and the Baby House facilities at both Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari rescue centers filled quickly, above and beyond capacity. Urgent plans were made to build bigger Baby Houses that could shelter the orphaned infants being cared for at these centers.

Late last year BOS began construction of new Baby Houses at both Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng centers and construction of both projects is expected to be finished in April 2017.

The winning name was announced late January, and the new male is now known as Razak!

The baby and Mei will remain in the Zoo’s night house to give mother and baby time to bond. Beginning Sunday, January 22 the nursery window at the orangutan night house will be left open to give Zoo visitors a chance to see the new family.

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species of orangutan native to the island of Borneo. The species is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.

5_Sucking thumb

"Miracle" Ocelot Kitten Born at Cameron Park Zoo


An Ocelot kitten born at the Cameron Park Zoo is being called a “miracle baby” because it was born to a mother who was beyond the known breeding age for Ocelots. 

The kitten, a male named Aztec, is the first infant born to Cameron Park Zoo Ocelots Maya and Gustavo. Maya is 14 years old, an age which is considered somewhat past the prime age for successfully producing offspring. Ocelots reach sexual maturity at two to two-and-a-half years of age and their life expectancy is seven to ten years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. 



Photo Credit:  Cameron Park Zoo

In November 2012, a team of veterinary specialists from the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Wildlife (CREW) performed a reproductive assessment on Maya. Even though she was past her breeding prime, Maya was still cycling and the assessment showed that there could be a slight chance of a successful pregnancy.  The team, along with Cameron Park Zoo veterinarian Terry Hurst, collected semen from Gustavo and performed an artificial insemination procedure on Maya. Unfortunately the procedure was not successful, and the assumption was that because of her age and the condition of her ovaries, Maya would not be able to become pregnant. 

On May 31, 2013 Maya was not feeling well and was left in her night house.  Later that morning, zoo staff members were surprised and excited to find a baby Ocelot had just been born!  Maya was given a nest box and hay for bedding her infant and then left alone with her baby to allow time to bond.  Apparently, Gustavo and Maya decided to have their baby “the old fashioned way” and Maya has proven to be an attentive mother.  Aztec has not made his public debut in the exhibit, but zoo officlas hope to announce that very soon. 

Ocelots are native to much of South America and Mexico.  They are expert hunters, and are fiercely territorial.  They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Baby Hedgehog Update: Now the Size of a Golf Ball!

Hedge 4
Since you first met Cameron Park Zoo's baby Hedgehogs on ZooBorns a few weeks ago, these prickly hoglets have been busy growing.  Once able to fit in a teaspoon, the Hedgehogs, named Polaris, Storm, Magneto & Juggernaut, are now the size of golf balls.  When fully grown, these spiny wonders will be about the size of a softball.

Hedge 2

Hedge 3

Hedge 1

Hedgehogs are insect-eaters that use their spiny coat as a defense against predators.  When threatened, they curl into a ball with spines erect, making themselves a much less appealing snack. 

These four Hedgehogs are destined for use in the zoo's education programs, where they will inspire kids of all ages to appreciate wildlife.

Photo Credits:  Mark Randolph and Laurel Shannon


UPDATE on the Cameron Park Zoo's Tiger Twins!

Cameron Park Zoo 2

Who could forget the first photos of Cameron Park Zoo's Sumantran tiger twins? You can find their baby pictures right HERE.

Indah, the female and Bugara, the male have been getting more and more adept at navigating the territory within their habitat since they first began to go out for short periods of 1-2 hours in late October. They continue to be full of life, play and spunk and are a delight to visitors and keepers alike. 

Sumantran tigers are a species that inhabit the Indonesian island of Sumantra. They were declared critically endangered by the IUCN in 2008. Their total population in the wild is projected to be as low as under 300. That is why healthy cubs like this and zoo breeding programs are so important to their preservation. 

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the tiger subspecies whereas the Siberian tiger is the largest.

Cameron Park Zoo 1

Cameron Park Zoo 7

Cameron Park Zoo 8

Cameron Park Zoo 4
Photo Credits: Cameron Park Zoo

More photos below the fold...

Continue reading "UPDATE on the Cameron Park Zoo's Tiger Twins!" »

Cameron Park Zoo Tiger Cub Update!


Update: The two Sumantran Tiger cubs from Cameron Park Zoo that we first wrote about HERE, made their public debut on Friday, October 28, in the tiger exhibit yard. The cubs had a trial run of their exhibit the day before, and their keeper along with zoo management felt that they could safely negotiate the tiger yard under the supervision of their keepers.

And, the cubs now have names -- the male is Bugara and the female is Indah.

For the next few weeks the goal is to have Indah and Bugara at play in the exhibit at 2:00 p.m. each afternoon. The play period will last from one to two hours depending on the cubs’ stamina. The cub’s time will also be dependent on the weather -- a temperature of 55 degrees Farenheit (12.7 Clesius) or higher -  and the willingness of the adult tigers to leave the yard and come inside so the cubs can play.

Hi step


Two cubs
Photo Credit: Cameron Park Zoo


Tiny Tigers Weigh In At Cameron Park Zoo


Cameron Park Zoo is proud to announce the birth of two Sumatran Tiger cubs, one female and one male. The female was born at 1:30 pm on August 15th and the male was born at 3:30 am on August 16th.  This was the first pregnancy and birth for Maharani, the mother tiger, and unfortunately she rejected the cubs immediately after their births. Zoo staff members were standing by and were able to take over the care of the cubs, which are now being hand-reared in the zoo’s veterinary facility.




Photo credits: Cameron Park Zoo

Because of their rocky start in life the cubs have been under 24 hour a day critical care and they are currently thriving. The female weighed 1 lb. 13 oz. at birth and the male weighed 2 lbs. 5oz. Today the female weighs 9 lbs 9 oz and the male weighs 12 lbs 1 oz. Since the cubs are too young to be on display at this point, they will continue to reside in the veterinary facility and the zoo will post daily photos and videos on the Cameron Park Zoo website and Facebook page. Zoo staff members will begin allowing the cubs to spend supervised time on exhibit when they judge them strong enough to negotiate the terrain of the Tiger exhibit.

Continue reading "Tiny Tigers Weigh In At Cameron Park Zoo" »