Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Omo The Baby Hippo: An Update

September was a big month for Cheyenne Mountains Zoo’s (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

quickly growing Nile hippo calf. He got a name, explored new spaces and tried new foods. One thing didn't change for young Omo, though: his love for naps.

Join Water's Edge: Africa keeper, Grace, for an update on the Zoo’s two-month-old calf, and hear about how Omo's following in mom's footsteps literally and figuratively. Zambezi is a confident hippo, and her little boy is showing signs he'll be just the same!

Check out Omo's complete video playlist, here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/55670076018/3216871291928267/


Wallaby Joey Name Reveal

At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, red-necked wallaby Gidgee’s joey has been making more appearances out of the pouch, and it’s time to reveal his name! As a nod to wallabies’ native Australia, we named our newest joey Tim Tam (Tim, for short), after a popular cookie there.

At 7 months old, he has grown his full coat, and has begun popping out of mom’s pouch for quick zoomies, or to explore small bits of the grass of the wallaby yard. It usually isn’t long before he’s somersaulting back into mom’s pouch. We expect him to continue popping in and out of mom's pouch for another two months, or until mom decides it's time for him to move out.


Baby Hippo Gets a Name!

September 13, 2021 (COLORADO SPRINGS) – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo today announced the name of its baby hippo with a video featuring the calf’s mom, Zambezi [zam-BEE-zee] making the big reveal.

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Keepers set up an extra-special breakfast of carrots, oranges and hay for Zambezi in the shape of her calf's new name. As the video plays in reverse, the baby’s name, Omo [OH-moh], is revealed!

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CMZoo staff voted on the baby’s name and, like his mom and aunt, the baby was named after a river in Africa. The seasonal flooding of the Omo River is vital for food cultivation by the indigenous groups that live along it. Water conservation is an important focus of Water's Edge: Africa, where the hippos live at CMZoo, and the calf's name aims to inspire Zoo fans to take action to conserve water.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes Nile hippopotamuses as a species vulnerable to extinction in the wild, estimating 125,000 to 150,000 remain in their native habitats. The primary threats are habitat loss and illegal and unregulated hunting. Hippos are hunted for their meat and for their ivory canine teeth.

Only 30 organizations accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in North America, including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, house hippos. As first-time parents, Biko’s and Zambezi’s offspring represents an important contribution to the population of hippos in human care. The Nile Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan manages the population’s breeding recommendations to achieve the highest possible genetic diversity in the pool.


Hip, Hippo, Hooray! Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Welcomes Its First Baby Hippo in 32 Years

With a final push, a little splash and some adorable baby hippo ear wiggles, 28-year-old Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Nile hippopotamus, Zambezi (zam-BEE-zee), welcomed her first calf on Tues. July 20. At 1:57 p.m., the baby hippo popped up from underwater, bobbed up and down, and swam right over to meet its mom. As long as things continue to go well for Zambezi and her baby, the hippo building will be open and guests can visit them in Water’s Edge: Africa right away. If Zambezi or the baby show signs they need more quiet time, the Zoo will close the area temporarily.

“It was an incredible moment to see this beautiful baby join our family,” said Philip Waugh, lead keeper at Water’s Edge: Africa. “Zambezi’s a first-time mom, but she knew just what to do. As soon as she delivered the calf, she turned around to greet it and started helping it to shallow water. I’m so proud of her.”

The brand-new buoyant bundle of joy is the first hippo born at CMZoo in 32 years. The moment brought eagerly awaiting CMZoo staff members to happy tears as the baby Nile hippo – a species vulnerable to extinction in the wild – made its debut. So far, mom and baby appear to be healthy and bonding well. Staff will continue monitoring the two hippos regularly and won’t separate mom and baby for an exam unless they think it’s medically necessary.

3,200-pound Zambezi is a well-known member of the CMZoo family, famous for her laid-back demeanor and loud hippo ‘laughs.’ She first came to CMZoo from Denver Zoo, in 1993. In June 2020, Biko (BEE-koh), a now 18-year-old long-legged male Nile hippo, joined the CMZoo hippo herd on a breeding recommendation with Zambezi and her sister, Kasai (kuh-SIGH). Biko and Zambezi took a shining to each other nearly immediately.

“Like any new couple, their first ‘dates’ had a few awkward moments, but once they connected, it was full-on hippo love,” said Waugh. “The two of them wanted to be together constantly, and we accommodated! They would do a hippo breeding ‘dance’ where they would swim nose-to-rear in a circle. We also saw them taking turns resting their heads on each other’s rear ends for little pool naps. They made it clear they liked each other. We saw their first successful breeding in November.”

Eight months later – a normal full-term gestation for Nile hippos – their little one is finally here. Normal newborn hippos can weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, and this calf appears to be in that range. Because there are no immediate plans to physically check the baby, its sex likely won’t be known for some time. The Zoo will make plans to name the baby after its one-month birthday, following Zoo tradition.

Although Zambezi’s care team was pretty sure she was pregnant, it was scientifically difficult to substantiate, so the team decided to wait and see instead of sharing the pregnancy news. Weight gain is not a reliable way to check for hippo pregnancy, because their daily weight regularly fluctuates by about 100 pounds. Ultimately, Zambezi’s pregnancy tests – including fecal samples and voluntary ultrasounds – were inconclusive. But, there’s no denying it now!

This baby is the fourth member of the hippo herd at CMZoo, and the fourth baby born at Water’s Edge: Africa since April. On April 26, ring-tailed lemur, Rogue, welcomed her first baby. On July 11, Rogue’s sister, Allagash, gave birth to twins. All first-time moms and their offspring are doing great.


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Welcomes Baby Girl Giraffe Calf

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Bailey, an 8-year-old reticulated giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, welcomed her very first calf to the herd at 11:37 a.m. yesterday, September 28. Bailey and the female giraffe calf are doing well. Following Cheyenne Mountain Zoo tradition, the calf will be named after she is 30 days old.

 

 

 

“You couldn’t ask anything more of a first-time mom,” said Jason Bredahl, giraffe animal care manager at CMZoo. “Bailey is nonstop grooming her baby, paying attention and making sure the baby is in a good position to nurse. Mom is doing a great job.”

The little calf is doing well, too. She’s already winning the hearts of CMZoo staff and online fans.

“This is probably the smallest giraffe calf I’ve ever seen,” said Bredahl. “Bailey is small for a giraffe, too, so that’s not surprising. She’s super adorable. She’s strong and is nursing well, so we’re really excited to share her with everyone as soon as we can.”

At first, the calf had a hard time standing because she had positioned herself in a corner of the stall and she kept bumping into the walls before she could get her footing. After waiting to see if she could get up on her own, keepers and vet staff asked Bailey to move into another area so they could give the calf a hand. The team picked her up and moved her into the middle of the stall around 1:27 p.m. She took her first steps on her own after a quick medical assessment, then a nudge from mom, at 1:38 p.m. As long as keepers observe that baby and mom are doing well, they will continue to let Bailey take the lead on providing her care.

The weight and height of the calf are not known yet, although keepers and vet staff say she is one of the smallest giraffe calves they’ve ever seen. Newborn giraffe calves are typically five to six feet tall and weigh 150 to 200 pounds. Exact measurements haven’t been taken, but this calf appears to weigh about 100 pounds and is around five-and-a-half feet tall.

The calf is the seventeenth member of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s reticulated giraffe herd. The calf is the first offspring for mom, Bailey, and the sixth to be sired by dad, Khalid (pronounced cull-EED). Bailey moved to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on a breeding recommendation in Sept. 2016. CMZoo’s breeding program began in 1954 and has welcomed more than 200 calves since its inception.

Thousands of worldwide viewers witnessed the calf’s birth on Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s live camera feed, which will continue to stream live from the sand stall, where Bailey and the calf will continue to bond for the coming weeks. The live stream of the birth stall, and both outdoor giraffe yard camera feeds, are available at cmzoo.org/giraffecam. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on their social media channels.

The barn will remain closed to guests for at least another day, to give the new calf time to bond with mom. Other members of the CMZoo herd will be available for viewing and feeding in the outside yard from elevated platforms, where guests can get eye-to-eye with and feed lettuce to the herd, weather permitting.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not only a leader in the training and health of giraffe in human care, but they are also making a huge difference in conservation of giraffe in the wild. Reticulated giraffe, the subspecies to which CMZoo’s herd belongs, are endangered. There are just over 11,000 mature reticulated giraffe individuals in the wild, and that population is decreasing. According to International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the reticulated giraffe population has declined by 56% in the last thirty years.

In October and November 2019, CMZoo helped establish a new population of a critically endangered giraffe in Uganda. The Operation Twiga IV team successfully reintroduced 15 Nubian giraffe to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, where they haven't existed in nearly 25 years. CMZoo VP of Mission and Programs, Dr. Liza Dadone, assisted with research and anesthesia, and provided care for the giraffe during the translocation. Our contribution to this effort is possible thanks to ongoing support from CMZoo members, guests and donors. Operation Twiga IV is led by Uganda Wildlife Authority with support from Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and other partners from around the world. See a video about the Zoo’s latest field conservation effort, Operation Twiga IV, here.

Through Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation program, by which 75 cents of every Zoo admission is allocated to conservation, guests have helped CMZoo send more than $3 million to support important conservation efforts since 2008. 


Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Arrive At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Three orphaned Mountain Lion cubs arrived at their new home at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in late May after being found alone in a den in Washington state. The two sisters and their brother were estimated to be about six weeks old at the time of their rescue.

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CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6a
CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6aPhoto & Video Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) responded to a human-wildlife conflict that resulted in the cubs’ mother’s death. WDFW staff members reached out to the zoo community to find a home for the young Lions, who were too small to survive on their own in the wild.

“We’re excited to provide a home for these young, playful cubs,” said Rebecca Zwicker, senior lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild, where the cubs will live. “Of course, these situations are bittersweet. We wish we didn’t have to find homes for orphaned cubs, but we’re grateful for our partnerships, because we can offer the cubs an amazing life of choices, care, and compassion.”

This is the second litter of orphaned Mountain Lion cubs that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has helped to rescue. The first litter came from Wyoming in 2006. Tocho, Motega and Yuma were all male members of the litter who have since passed. Kaya, the female Mountain Lion who lives in Rocky Mountain Wild, is the remaining member of the original litter. After the cubs earn a clean bill of health, the plan is to introduce them to Kaya.

“We’re hoping Kaya, who is blind and aging, will enjoy having company again,” Zwicker said. “We’ll take our time letting Kaya and the cubs have opportunities to interact from a safe distance, and then we’ll follow their lead. It would be ideal if they could live together, because the cubs can learn how to be Mountain Lions from Kaya.”

While the cubs are behind the scenes, they’ll receive vaccinations and veterinary checks to ensure they’re ready to explore their new home in Rocky Mountain Wild.

“Mountain Lions are part of our daily lives in Colorado,” said Zwicker. “These cubs will be ambassadors for their wild relatives, helping our guests learn about their species, their unique personalities and behaviors, their contributions to our ecosystem, and how we can live peacefully with them.”




 


Baby Howler Monkey Arrives With Spring

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The first day of spring was still hours away when Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed a special springtime arrival. Three-year-old Howler Monkey, Charlie, gave birth March 19, much to the delight of her keepers, who say mom and baby are bonding quickly and appear to be in good health.

Charlie gave birth to her yet unnamed baby, whose gender likely won’t be confirmed for months, in their exhibit in Monkey Pavilion. The baby appeared to be strong immediately after the birth, and Charlie’s maternal instinct was evident within the hour. Within moments of her baby’s birth, Charlie was cradling and grooming the baby, even softly patting the back of the baby’s head as she held it.

“We watch for certain indicators that the baby is strong,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo senior lead keeper, Michelle Salido, who was there during the birth. “We like to see them grasp on to their mother’s fur and for their tails to wrap around their mother’s arms or nearby branches. Nursing is the ultimate sign that the mother and baby are doing well. We’re seeing all of those things, so we’re excited it’s going so well.”

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Charlie and her baby will remain in their exhibit in Monkey Pavilion, where guests can view them any day of the week. Charlie’s mate, Howie, a three-year-old Black Howler Monkey, who was in the habitat with Charlie during the birth, is in the same space as Charlie and the baby, but seems most content keeping his distance for now.

Charlie and Howie were recommended to breed based on their genetics as part of the Black Howler Monkey Species Survival Plan, managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. This baby’s birth is contributing to a program that is working to help guarantee 100 years of genetic diversity for the species in accredited organizations.

Keepers will keep a close eye on Charlie and her baby, and will be happy to share their joy with members and guests who come to visit.

“It’s unusual for Howler Monkeys to give birth during the day, and it’s unusual that all three of her primary keepers are in one place at one time to witness it,” said Salido. “It was a really special family moment.”


200th Giraffe Calf Receives Special Care

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is caring for Penny, a Giraffe calf whose birth on June 4 marked the 200th Giraffe birth in the zoo’s history. Penny was found splayed the stall she shared with her mom, Muziki. Since then, the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams have been partnering to provide the best possible care to support the calf’s well-being.

“Splay” is a term used to describe when an animal’s legs go out from under them in an unnatural way. In Giraffe, splaying can result in moderate or even life-threatening damage to the hips and legs. The Zoo’s staff immediately assessed the condition of the calf and determined the most urgent medical need was to raise her blood sugar levels. When those levels were under control, Penny was reunited with Muziki to see if the calf would nurse and gain strength. When those nursing efforts were unsuccessful and the calf splayed again, the difficult decision was made to separate Penny from Muziki and begin hand-rearing protocols.

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Calf w mom 6.7.18 -  (2)Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Although Penny can walk on her own, staff helps the baby stand up and lay down, to prevent further injury. The extent of any injuries to her legs and hips is still being evaluated, and likely will be for some time. Penny has thus far been resistant to bottle feeding, so she is receiving tube feedings. Another attempt to have her nurse from mom had mixed results, with the calf nursing for a brief time, but ultimately splaying again.

The Zoo’s care teams are well-equipped to treat the calf, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been recognized nationally for advances in veterinary medicine. However, the staff is not yet able to predict the outcome for Penny’s condition.



 


Sumatran Orangutan Newborn Stays Close to Mom

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran Orangutan on June 6. The baby is the third offspring for 30-year-old mom, Sumagu, and 27-year-old dad, Baka.

The Zoo reports that mother and baby will be in their regular exhibit in Primate World, which will be open for guests. Depending on where Sumagu decides to spend time, she and the baby may or may not be visible to guests.

Thus far, the pair is healthy and bonding well, so the Zoo’s staff has not intervened to determine the sex of the baby or any other details. The baby was clinging strongly to Sumagu within minutes after birth. According to keepers, Sumagu came over to animal and vet staff to take some fruit, and they could tell she had done a great job cleaning the baby up quickly. She then spent some time rearranging her nest after the birth. The pair has also been observed successfully nursing.

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4_cheyenne orangutan 5Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Sumagu’s two previous offspring were both males: Makan, born in January 2003 and Godek, born in February 2009. Both of them now make their homes at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos.

The Zoo’s last Orangutan birth was Bornean Orangutan, Ember, who is now 3 1/2 years old.

Gestation for Orangutans lasts an average of 245 days, or a little over eight months.

In the wild, Orangutan fathers do not usually participate in raising offspring, but they tend to do well in zoos where there isn’t competition for food and mates. Baka revealed great fatherly instincts with his previous two offspring. Keepers are hopeful this will be the case with this new little one, but just to be sure, he will be kept separated from mom and baby for a short time.

Sumagu and Baka’s wild Sumatran Orangutan counterparts are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Non-sustainable palm oil production is fueling destruction of the rainforest habitat of Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, pushing those endangered species even closer to extinction. Found in cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, pet food and many other products, palm oil is now the most widely produced edible oil.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is offering a way to make a difference during this crisis by choosing the products using their sustainable palm oil shopping app. The app helps consumers make responsible decisions about the food and health/beauty products purchased every day – just scan a product in the app, and it will tell you how that company is doing with using responsibly sourced palm oil for their products. To download the app, or to learn more about the palm oil crisis, visit: www.cmzoo.org/palmoil .

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