Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Help Name The Baby Elephant at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced a naming opportunity for the female Asian Elephant calf born on December 6. The baby is the first Elephant to be born at the zoo in 10 years.

You are invited to help name the calf by voting from a list provided by the Koblentz family in honor and memory of Kathryn Elisabeth Anderson Koblentz. Kathy served the zoo in many roles throughout her life, first as a budget analyst; progressing to Treasurer, President and Chair of the Board of Directors (the first woman to hold these offices); and as both an honorary and active docent at the zoo.  

Asian Elephant Calf 0402 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Asian Elephant Calf 0402 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Kathy’s husband Bob and his family, in conjunction with the zoo’s animal care team, selected the following potential names for the new baby Elephant:

  • Darcy: inspired by Kathy’ favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen. Kathy and Bob also had a beloved collie named Darcy.
  • Lizzie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth, which is also a name variation of the central character, Elizabeth, in Kathy’s favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen.
  • Ellie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth
  • Kobie: inspired by Kathy’s last name Koblentz

From December 12, 2018 until January 3, 2019, fans can vote for a single name once within each 24-hour period on the Columbus Zoo’s website. The name of the female calf will be announced on the Zoo’s social media accounts and website on January 4, 2019.

The calf and her mother, Phoebe, are now spending some time each day in the Elephant community room for limited hours from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. while still offering them some privacy as they continue to bond behind the scenes. This schedule is determined by Phoebe and her calf and will be adjusted accordingly to best fit their needs.

The soon-to-be named calf is the first Elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years and the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination. Mother, Phoebe, is a 31-year-old Asian Elephant who came to the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with Hank, a 30-year-old male Elephant at the Columbus Zoo, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined through a DNA test with results expected in the coming weeks. Artificial insemination enables an Elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While still a relatively rare procedure for Elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate Elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered Elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range.

The calf joins the herd of six Asian Elephants in the Asia Quest region: males, Hank and Beco, and females, Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy. There have been three successful Asian Elephant births at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history, and all three have been born to Phoebe —this most recent calf, Beco in 2009 and male, Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo. Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Beco and Bodhi.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, Asian Elephants are listed as endangered in their native range across southern and southeastern Asia and are in decline due to various factors, including habitat loss/degradation and poaching. The World Elephant Day organization estimates that there are less than 40,000 Asian Elephants and fewer than 400,000 African Elephants remaining worldwide.

 


Columbus Zoo Sees First Elephant Calf in Ten Years

1_Asian Elephant Calf 1124 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

On Thursday, December 6, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed the much-anticipated birth of an Asian Elephant in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. The female calf is the first elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years, and she is the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination.

Mother, Phoebe, is 31-years-old and arrived at the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with 30-year-old, Hank, at the Columbus Zoo, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was also artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined through a DNA test, with results expected in the coming weeks. Artificial insemination enables an elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range.

The new calf joins the herd of six Asian Elephants in the Asia Quest region: males, Hank and Beco, and females, Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy. There have been three successful Asian Elephant births at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history, and all three have been born to Phoebe —this most recent calf, Beco in 2009 and male, Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo. Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Beco and Bodhi.

2_Asian Elephant Calf 3751 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

3_Asian Elephant Calf 3785 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Asian Elephant Calf 3827 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area. The Zoo will announce viewing information for guests as it becomes available.

“We are very proud to welcome Phoebe’s calf into the elephant herd here at the Columbus Zoo,” said Columbus Zoo President/CEO Tom Stalf. “Each birth contributes to the global population and sustainability of this endangered species and is one worth celebrating as a sign of hope for the future of these incredible animals.”

Elephants have the longest gestational period of all mammals, lasting approximately 22 months. Over the last several months, Phoebe has participated in regular ultrasounds to monitor the development of the calf through the imaging, as well as blood collections to monitor her hormone levels throughout her pregnancy. Phoebe and the unnamed calf will continue to be monitored around the clock by the Zoo’s expert animal care team to ensure they receive the best care possible.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a long-time supporter of several direct elephant conservation initiatives benefitting both African and Asian Elephants, including annual donations to the International Elephant Foundation and several research projects and grants over the last 23 years. Many of these research projects have focused on improving human-wildlife coexistence and monitoring elephant populations in their native ranges. Zoo visitors also have the opportunity to learn about elephant conservation and how they can contribute to the sustainability of this endangered species at the Zoo’s Elephant Conservation Station inside the “Vanishing Giants” building located in the Asia Quest region.

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The Wilds Celebrates Birth Of Giraffe Calf

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The Wilds is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai Giraffe calf on July 10. Guests taking an Open-Air Safari Tour witnessed the birth in the open pasture at The Wilds, creating an unforgettable experience. So far, the calf appears strong and healthy, staying close to his mother. The Giraffe care team monitors mom and baby as they make their daily rounds.

Giraffe Calf 7015 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Giraffe Calf 7303 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The calf’s father, Raha, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2006, and the calf’s mother, Lulu, was born at Cincinnati Zoo in October 2012. This calf is Lulu’s first, and he was born after a gestation period of about 15 months. Like all Giraffe births, Lulu delivered her calf while standing up. Within a few hours of his birth, the calf stood, nursed, and began walking.

The breeding of Raha and Lulu was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program designed to increase the genetic health and diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care.

“Welcoming a Giraffe calf to our herd is always an incredibly exciting time for our team,” said The Wilds Vice President Dr. Jan Ramer. “Not only is this birth a milestone here at The Wilds, but it also gives us great hope and a foothold to sustain declining populations of this species in their native ranges.”

Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to habitat degradation and poaching. In an effort to reduce threats to Giraffes, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds support several conservation projects in Giraffe range countries across Africa, including the Serengeti Giraffe Project based in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda.

Male Giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are 13 to 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animals and are the largest ruminants. Their native ranges are savannas, grasslands or open woodlands in central and southern African countries.

See more photos of the calf below.

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Orphaned Baby Manatees Find Refuge at Columbus Zoo

Manatees (Female and Heavy Falcon) 3145 - Grahm S

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed two rehabilitating Manatees on April 24. The two new additions, one male and one female, became the 28th and 29th Manatees to be rehabilitated at the Columbus Zoo since the zoo’s involvement in the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) began in 2001.

Manatees (Group) 3412 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Manatees (Group) 3412 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The 143-pound male calf is named “Heavy Falcon” – a nod to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch that took place on February 6, 2018, which was also the day he was rescued. Heavy Falcon was found as an orphan in Crystal River, Florida and was taken to SeaWorld Orlando to begin his rehabilitation journey.

The female calf does not yet have a name and was rescued on February 8, 2018 with her mother off the coast of Florida. The female calf showed signs of cold stress, while her mother was negatively buoyant. Unfortunately, the calf’s mother succumbed to her serious injuries just two days after her rescue, leaving the female calf an orphan. After also beginning her rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando with Heavy Falcon, both Manatees have stabilized and will continue to recover in Columbus before their eventual releases into Florida waters.

The two new arrivals are now living in the zoo’s 300,000-gallon Manatee Coast pool. Both Manatees will also have access to behind-the-scenes areas as they continue to adjust to their new environment.

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a second-stage rehabilitation facility that provides a temporary home for Manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.

See more photos of the calves below.

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Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently announced the arrival of seven babies, representing three at-risk species, born in late January and early February. The new additions are: five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, a Silvered Leaf Langur baby, and a Humboldt Penguin chick.

According to the Zoo, each new little one contributes to maximizing genetic diversity within their species and sustaining populations of those facing serious threats to their future in their native ranges.

The baby boom began with the arrival of the five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born during the early morning hours of January 26.

Native to coastal regions from southern India to Southeast Asia, Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus) are often threatened by habitat destruction, pollution and hunting. These factors place them at risk in their native range, and they are currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.

The pups (three males and two females) were born to first-time parents, Gus and Peanut. Peanut was born in 2014 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in April 2017 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Father, Gus, was born in 2008 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2014.

According to staff, the young pups are thriving under the watchful eyes of both of their parents and are expected to be on view to the public later this spring.

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3_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2294 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2271 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo was also proud to welcome a female Silvered Leaf Langur baby on February 16. The female was born to mother, Patty, and father, Thai. Patty made her way to the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2007 and has given birth to seven offspring. Thai arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2015 from the San Diego Zoo and has fathered a total of four infants.

Patty, Thai, and the newest Langur arrival are currently on view in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. Staff reports that the baby is easy to spot as Langurs are born bright orange, as opposed to their adult counterparts with black fur and silvered tips. This difference in coat color is believed to encourage other female Langurs to assist in raising the young, a practice called “allomothering”.

In their native ranges, Silvered Leaf Langurs (Trachypithecus cristatus) can be found in areas including Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The species’ populations in these countries are decreasing due to habitat loss as lands are cleared for oil palm plantations or destroyed by forest fires. Langurs are also hunted for their meat or taken for the pet trade.

The Columbus Zoo’s pairing of Patty and Thai was based on an SSP recommendation, and the birth of the new baby will play an important role in helping manage this at-risk species. Silvered Leaf Langurs are listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, due to population declines caused by habitat loss. The arrival of this Langur baby at the Columbus Zoo is an important part of sustaining the population among AZA-accredited zoos, certified related facilities and conservation partners.

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Two Rare Gazelles Born at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium welcomed not one but two rare Dama Gazelle calves in January. A male Dama Gazelle calf was born on January 14 to mom Layla and dad Zultan. Just three days later, a female calf was born to first-time mom, Susie Cruisie. Susie’s calf had difficulty nursing, so the animal care staff stepped in to provide bottle feedings. The calf is doing well and returns to the herd after each feeding.

The calves have not yet been named, and they are bonding with their mothers behind the scenes.

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Gaz 3Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The breeding of these Gazelles was recommended as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The species is Critically Endangered, with fewer than 300 Dama Gazelles left in their native African range in Chad, Mali, and Niger. The biggest threats to Dama Gazelles are habitat loss due to livestock overgrazing, land development, and uncontrolled hunting. The Columbus Zoo supports the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF), which monitors the Dama Gazelles’ population and their distribution in their native range.

Dama Gazelles are the largest of all Gazelles, with adults weighing up to 165 pounds. Both males and females have S-shaped horns. Calves are born after a gestation period of about six months, and can run as fast as adults by the time they are one week old.

 


Columbus Zoo Works to Preserve Pallas’s Cat

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is excited to announce the May 23rd birth of a Pallas’s Cat kitten. The kitten’s birth marked the second live offspring ever produced with artificial insemination in Pallas’s Cat.

Columbus Zoo's Pallas’s Cats breeding pair, Manda and Paval, were observed mating in the winter. However, the Zoo determined that the female, Manda, was not pregnant. Animal care staff and veterinarians worked with the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical garden to conduct an artificial insemination procedure in mid-March, near the end of the pair’s winter breeding season. The subsequent birth of the Pallas’s Cat kitten is the first offspring produced by Manda and Paval.

“CREW scientists have been working in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Pallas’s Cat Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Columbus Zoo for several years to apply reproductive sciences, such as semen freezing and artificial insemination (AI), to improve Pallas’s Cat propagation and conservation,” said Dr. Bill Swanson, Director of Animal Research for CREW. “We are pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to build an understanding of our role in the preservation of this threatened species.”

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19989264_10154892566092106_159425387795079120_nPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Animal care and animal health staff have only recently determined that the kitten is a female. While the kitten and her mother are venturing into the habitat, father, Paval, will not be back on view with Manda again until the kitten is ready to be on her own at around nine-months-old.

The Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul), also called the ‘manul’, is a small wild cat with distribution in the grasslands and mountains of Central Asia.

Since 2002, the species has been classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, predation from species (including domestic dogs), poaching, and secondary poisoning from farming pesticides and rodent control.

The Pallas's Cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul.


Polar Bears Get Ready for Important Mother’s Day

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ZooBorns introduced readers to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's trio of Polar Bear cubs in our featured article posted on International Polar Bear Day: "A Trio of Polar Bears for 'International Polar Bear Day' ".

On November 8, first-time mom, Anana, gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (unfortunately, one of the cubs passed away soon after). On November 16, Anana’s own twin sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twins!

Aurora and her twins recently made their much-anticipated public debut, and it was announced that the twins are male and female. Anana and her female cub also made their first public appearance!

The Zoo reports that the three cubs will not be on view together, as female Polar Bears typically raise their young independently.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds staff are naming the twins through one of the many employee initiatives raising funds for conservation.

However, Polar Bear fans can vote for the moniker of Anana’s female cub through a naming contest via the Zoo’s website: www.ColumbusZoo.org/NameTheCub

Just follow the link to their page and cast a vote for one of the pre-selected names before May 2. The names for all the cubs will be announced on Mother’s Day, May 14!

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3_Anana's polar-bear-cub-slide-4c021c932bd2f67d7bdc2ff0000bf4b43

4_Anana's polar-bear-cub-slide-29521c932bd2f67d7bdc2ff0000bf4b43Photo Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Images 1-4: Anana and her daughter / Images 5-8: Aurora and her male and female twins)

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A Trio of Polar Bears for 'International Polar Bear Day'

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Today is ‘International Polar Bear Day’, and in honor of the efforts to save this species, we are introducing you to a trio of adorable new cubs!

On November 8, a Polar Bear named Anana gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. On November 16, her sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twin cubs. However, this great news was met with the unfortunate passing of one of Anana’s cubs.

This is Aurora’s third time producing twins; the first litter did not survive and the now famous, Nora, was born in the second litter on November 6, 2015. Nora was hand reared by the Zoo team after Aurora left her alone in the den when she was six days old.

Activity inside the dens was being monitored using remote cameras, and the reason for the loss of Anana’s cub will likely never be known. Animal care staff members, who had been observing Anana and Aurora 24 hours a day, noted the cub stopped moving, but Anana continued to groom the cub and held it in position to nurse.

“At this time, both Anana and Aurora are attentively caring for their cubs but the sudden loss of one of Anana’s cubs is a sad reminder of how fragile their lives are both in our care and in their native Arctic environment,” said Carrie Pratt, Curator of North America and Polar Frontier. “We remain hopeful for the survival of these cubs as well as for the future of Polar Bears.”

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3_Aurora's Polar Bear Cubs 6233 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Anana's_Polar Bear Cub 5545 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium / Grahm S. Jones (Images: 1-9,11,12) ; Amanda Carberry (Image: 10)

The sire to all the cubs is 28-year-old Nanuq who came to the Columbus Zoo in 2012. As long as Aurora and Anana continue to care for cubs in their dens, Nanuq is the only Polar Bear visible to guests.

Anana and her cub are taking baby steps to explore other areas of the maternity den. The little one is now eating chow and will also steal little slivers of meat from mom. The cub is also climbing and running on sand piles and sod. After being introduced to a few inches of water (up to the belly), the cub is a big fan. The cub’s sex will be confirmed during the vet wellness check-up in the coming weeks, and both mom and baby will remain off-view until spring.

Aurora and her twin cubs are also experiencing similar milestones as her sister and cub. The cubs are being introduced to more of the behind-the-scenes yards with sand and sod (slowly growing their world) and they are doing great. They are also eating chow and sneaking bits of meat from mom. The twins have been introduced to a few inches of water. According to keepers, they will put all four paws in, splash around and stick their snouts in. Afterwards, they like to roll on the sod to dry off. The twins’ sex will be confirmed during their vet wellness check-up in the coming weeks, and, as with Anana and cub, both mom and babies will likely be on view in the spring.

Nanuq is the oldest male Polar Bear to reproduce in a North American zoo. Nine-year-old twins Aurora and Anana arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2010 when the Polar Frontier region opened. All three bears came from other zoos on breeding loans as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the threatened species.

Female Polar Bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant Polar Bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.

Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the population could disappear by the year 2050.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI), has provided support to 14 conservation projects in three countries since 1998. In recognition of the Zoo’s conservation and education programs, PBI has designated the Columbus Zoo an Arctic Ambassador Center.

For more information on the work PBI does, and 'International Polar Bear Day', please see their website: www.polarbearsinternational.org 

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Rescued Manatees 'Millennium' & 'Falcon' Land in Columbus

Manatees 9021 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Twin Manatees orphaned after their mother suffered fatal boat-related injuries arrived at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium this month as part of the zoo’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership.

Weighing about 100 pounds each, the twin calves were rescued from Florida waters earlier this year.  Twins are extremely rare among Manatees, making up about one to four percent of births.  The pair have been named Millennium and Falcon.

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Manatees 9077 (Falcon) - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit:  Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aqaurium
The twins will join Stubby, a long-time resident of the zoo, and new arrivals Jedi and Junebug.  Manatees are very social animals and keepers expect the five to get along well. 

Most of the orphaned Manatees taken in by the Columbus Zoo and its partners are released back into the wild once they reach adulthood and are deemed able to survive on their own. 

Manatees give birth to live young and nurse their babies just like humans and other mammals.  Adults typically weigh more than 1,000 pounds.  They feed only on vegetation that grows on the sea floor and move slowly, never leaving the water.  Manatees live in coastal waters, rivers, and inlets, where they may encounter motorboats or become tangled in fishing nets.  They are listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

See more photos of the twins below.

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