Brownsville, TX’s Gladys Porter Zoo’s Cassowary chicks are 5 months old now and they’ve grown a lot in that time. DNA testing determined there are 2 males and 1 female. They will soon outgrow their temporary pen outside of the building where they hatched. An exhibit area next to the parents, Clementine and Irwin, is being baby-proofed so that staff can soon move them onto display for our public to enjoy.
In Brownsville, TX, Gladys Porter Zoo’s three cassowary chicks hatched on May 20th, May 22nd and May 27th. The mother is Clementine (36 years old) and the father is Irwin (6 years old). Irwin is a first-time father. Clementine’s last successful brood was in 1997. It’s been 24 years since then so this is very exciting for everyone at the zoo, especially the Bird Department. They’ve done an amazing job.
Nashville Zoo Has has quite a summer! Learn all about the new babies arriving there over the last few months and weeks by watching the video below!
Born May 10, 2020
Very close to midnight on May 10, 2020, (Mother’s Day) a caracal delivered kittens inside her nest box. They are the first caracals ever to be born at Nashville Zoo, and the animal care team was keeping a close eye on them and wishing their Mom a very special Mother’s Day.
Like human mothers, caracals need time to bond with their new offspring. No need for a “do not disturb” sign. The staff stays clear to give the new family their privacy but monitors them using a small camera placed in the nest box. An online link to the camera allows keepers and the veterinary team to watch from virtually anywhere.
The new mom and kittens did fine and remained together for 7 to 10 days. After that, the animal care team removed the cubs and continued to raise them in the Zoo’s nursery. The mother returned to an area away from the public view where she could relax with her mate and another caracal pair.
Raising the kittens by hand is a necessary and important step in socializing them to people. As they grow, the kittens will become ambassador animals for another zoo. The black tufts of their ears will capture the attention of onlookers who will wonder how a cat less than two feet at the shoulders can jump vertically up to 12 feet high. Guests will also learn that these cats developed this ability to catch birds as they fly by.
This species is important to conservation because they will help us interpret the woodland, savanna and acacia scrub habitats of Africa, the caracal’s native habitat. Guests will learn about the conservation challenges we must address on behalf of caracals. Challenges like habitat loss and trapping due to human conflict.
Hatched June 5, 2020
On June 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed its first cassowary chick into the world. After 54 days of incubation and a few harrowing nights of severe weather, the female chick hatched and was cared for in the Zoo’s HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.
“The males are the ones that sit on the eggs and protect them from harm,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo’s Avian Area Supervisor. “He sat through several bad storms in April and May including the big storm that took down over 60 trees at the Zoo. Two of those were very close to the nest and he never moved!”
During times that the male moved away from the nest, keepers were able to monitor and actually see inside the two, large, pea-green eggs using a portable x-ray machine. Several weeks of observation passed with no development detected in either egg. The keepers made a decision to move the eggs to an incubator at the Veterinary Center giving the cassowary couple another chance to breed and lay viable eggs. Surprise! The veterinary team discovered that one of the eggs was fertile. The chick was born a few weeks later.
Neo weighed 418 grams (just shy of one pound) at birth. She will grow steadily for the next three years until she is fully mature at about five feet high and 130 pounds. Before then, Neo will be sent to another conservation organization to meet her mate.
Double-wattled or Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia and are not considered endangered though their habitat is threatened by commercial development and agriculture. Nashville Zoo helps to protect the cassowary by supporting Australian organizations that preserve this species’ native habitats. The Zoo also participates in the cassowary Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
Appeared June, 2020
On June 30, Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of Kangaroo Joeys. Less than a month later, the zoo’s three oldest joeys (Proodence, Gertroode, and Roothie) were out of the pouch and began interacting with each other. The baby boom continues as there are even more Joeys on the way!
Three Southern Cassowaries hatched, between May 23 and May 26, at Lodz Zoo in Poland.
This is the fourth time for such an event at Lodz Zoo, since the first appearance of the species at the facility in 1967. Breeding the species in captivity is rare. Although reportedly kept in 106 zoos worldwide, the bird has been bred only in four institutions, with six chicks hatching in the last twelve months.
As a standard behavior in Cassowaries (as well as in the Emu and the rheas) Lodz Zoo’s female showed no interest in her new clutch. Between March 15th and 30th, she laid four large green eggs. She then separated from the male and left him in charge of the eggs. He started incubating them, and four days later, to the surprise of the keepers, the female laid two more eggs. Incubation of the first four eggs lasted 53-56 days. Three chicks emerged; however, one embryo did not hatch and was found deceased, in fully developed stage within the egg. The two eggs that were laid after the female left were never fertilized.
The three chicks that emerged are precocial and nidifugous, which means they were able to walk and feed only a few hours after hatching. In the beginning, the young do not resemble the adults; they are striped with yellow and dark brown or black, and they lack the casque typical for adult birds.
The father has closely guarded the chicks from the very beginning and helped them to feed by picking food up off the ground. The bird family occupies a shadowy, grassy and quiet enclosure almost out of visitors’ reach. However, when threatened, the male shows aggression being ready to kick anyone who approaches the young too close. The Zoo reports that this was especially true for their photographer as he tried to capture first moments of the chicks’ life.
Cassowaries are known for their unusual and powerful defense; the birds weighing up to 60 kg and reaching in an erect posture a height of nearly 2 m are able to retaliate with overwhelming force – kicks with their strong legs and razor sharp claws can be terrible to man leading even to death, as reported by Australian media.
The Cassowaries are ratites (flightless birds without a keel on the sternum bone) in the genus Casuarius and are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Indonesia), nearby islands, and northeastern Australia.