Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo Welcomes a New Chimpanzee Baby

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The newest adorable addition to the Dallas Zoo is a chimpanzee baby born Jan. 26, the second for mother Ramona.

“We have a healthy, vibrant troop of chimpanzees that continues to grow here at the Dallas Zoo,” said Keith Zdrojewski, mammal curator. “And Ramona is taking exceptionally good care of the new baby, as she did with Kona in 2009.”

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The baby won’t be named until its sex can be determined. It appears to be healthy, but the zoo’s veterinary team will wait until mom and baby have more time to bond before they administer routine health exams. For the next two to three years, the baby will be completely dependent on its mother for care. Starting today, guests may see Ramona carrying the baby in the Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest (weather permitting) until it begins to start moving about on its own. Zoo staff and volunteers will observe the troop daily to ensure the baby is nursing and meeting appropriate development milestones.

Learn more below the fold...

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Dallas Zoo Welcomes 36th Okapi Calf

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The Dallas Zoo welcomed a healthy baby Okapi, born on August 14. Keepers have named her Almasi, the Swahili word for diamond. After a long 14-month gestation, Almasi weighed 47 pounds (21 kg) at birth, and is now up to 190 pounds (86 kg). When fully grown, she’ll stand more than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall at the shoulder and weigh more than 700 pounds (317 kg). This past weekend, she made her debut at the zoo's outdoor Okapi habitat. 

Almasi is the second calf born to her mother, Desi, who is taking very good care of her little one. For now, both remain in their nesting stalls, although Almasi is getting more adventurous every day.  

“Almasi’s birth is another major success in efforts to ensure that this incredible animal species survives,” said Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare for the Dallas Zoo. “The Dallas Zoo has a long history of caring for and learning about Okapi, and we will continue to be a leader in the fight to educate the world to protect these animals.” Almasi is the 36th calf born in the zoo’s 50-year history of caring for this rare species.

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3 okapiPhoto credits: Cathy Burkey / Dallas Zoo

See a video of the playful calf:

 

Okapi (pronounced oh-KOP-ee) are a unique and mysterious animal, so elusive that they have been nicknamed the African unicorn. Their black-and-white striped legs and horselike bodies resemble a zebra, but the okapi is most closely related to giraffes. Like giraffes, their heads have large ears that give them keen hearing and their long prehensile tongues let them strip leaves and shoots from trees.

Okapi in the wild are found exclusively in the Ituri rain forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are difficult to see in the rain forest because of their striking camouflage. Because they’re very elusive and the Congo rain forest is so rugged, little is known about their behavior in the wild. However, researchers have found that their numbers are declining rapidly due to destruction of their rain forest home, despite their popularity in the African country. Okapi are even featured on the Congo’s 1,000-franc note.

“These animals have irresistible charm and behave unlike any other mammal,” said Megan Lumpkin, the Dallas Zoo’s lead keeper for the okapi. “They communicate using infrasound, a low-frequency sound undetectable to humans. It is critically important that they be protected.” 

Learn more about Okapi conservation after the fold.

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Romping with Cheetah Cubs - a ZooBorns First!

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Last Monday my ZooBorns' co-founder, Chris Eastland, and I (Andrew Bleiman) made a very special trip to Dallas Zoo to meet their twin Cheetah cubs, Kamau and Winspear. We also met their canine companion, a black Lab puppy named, Amani. 

It's extraordinarily rare that we get to interact, let alone romp, with real-live zoo-borns. However these special cubs are being raised as education animals so socialization with humans, even goofy ZooBorns guys, is part of their regular day. Their puppy friend, Amani, is a calming influence who will also help with these efforts. 

The cubs were born at Smithsonian's Front Royal Conservation Biology Institute on July 8th. 

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The feline duo put on quite a display. Stalking and pouncing on us / one another / furniture and just about anything else worth clawing at occupied most of the morning. The cubs made a variety of noises, from bird-like chirps, to gutteral growls, to purrs that would remind you of your house cat, just a lot louder. 

With wild Cheetah populations hovering somewhere around 10,000, the species is considered vulnerable to extinction. Cheetahs thrive in vast expanses of land. Human encroachment and habitat destruction are central threats to this iconic species.

Institutions like Dallas Zoo serve an invaluable role in building empathy and awareness for wildlife conservation. We here at ZooBorns are proud to help spread the word about these efforts and consider ourselves incredibly priviliged to meet Dallas' newest Cheetah ambassadors. 

Special thanks to the Dallas Zoo staff that made our visit possible. Pictured left to right: Chris Eastland (ZooBorns), Candice Davis, Chris Johnson, Robin Ryan, and Andrew Bleiman (ZooBorns). Not pictured: Laurie Holloway

Photo credits: ZooBorns / Juan Pulido


Cheetah Cubs Bond with Black Lab Puppy at Dallas Zoo

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Dallas Zoo recently welcomed two new adorable ambassadors: Cheetah cubs Winspear and Kamau. The 8-week-old male cubs were born July 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. A team of Dallas Zoo experts spent nearly two weeks in Virginia before flying back to Dallas with the cubs. Winspear, the larger of the two, now weighs more than 8 pounds, while Kamau is over 6 pounds.

The cubs also have a new companion who’ll be raised alongside them: an 8-week-old Black Labrador puppy named Amani. Zoological experts have found that because dogs are naturally comfortable in public settings, Amani will provide a calming influence for the cubs, as well as another playmate as they grow to adulthood. Amani means 'peace' in the Swahili language of East Africa, where cheetahs still exist in the wild. The cats are endangered, however, with their numbers estimated to have fallen to about 10,000.

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Photo credits: Dallas Zoo

Watch a video of the playful cubs:

 

“It is a thrill to be able to tell the story about cheetah conservation and to educate Dallas Zoo guests about this magnificent species,” says Sean Green, vice president of guest experiences for the Dallas Zoo. “Winspear and Kamau will become important animal ambassadors for the Dallas Zoo, building appreciation and awareness about cheetahs to more than 900,000 visitors each year.”The cubs are smoke-colored, with black spots and unique “tear stripes” below their eyes already evident. As they grow, they will acquire the golden color of adult cheetahs. When full grown, the cheetahs will stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 140 pounds.The cubs will not reside with the Zoo’s two adult brother-and-sister cheetahs, Bonde and Kilima, in the Giants of the Savanna cheetah habitat. Instead, guests soon will have the opportunity to meet them in person at the Wild Encounters stage. In addition, the cubs occasionally will travel to select outreach events outside the zoo. Only 15 zoos in North America incorporate cheetahs into their outreach programs.

Says Greene, “Our African-themed exhibits, such as the Giants of the Savanna, are some of the most popular areas of the Dallas Zoo. These magnificent animals will help us tell the story about these habitats and the conservation work we support.” 


Wide-eyed Ocelot Kitten Debuts at Dallas Zoo

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A rare Ocelot kitten born on June 26 made her public debut this week at the Dallas Zoo!

With her mother Milagre by her side, Lindy gingerly explored her outdoor habitat for the first time last week.  She scampered over rocks, chased bugs, and stared wide-eyed at the visitors who were watching her. 

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Photo Credit:  Dallas Zoo

 

Lindy and Milagre have spent the last two months in seclusion in their den.  Milagre is still very protective of her baby and keeps Lindy close most of the time.  But as Lindy grows, expect her to become bolder and Milagre to become more relaxed.

Lindy is the third Ocelot kitten ever born at the Dallas Zoo and the first since 2001.  Only a few Ocelot kittens are born in U.S. zoos each year. Milagre, age 4, came to Dallas from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, while the kitten’s father, Joaquin, age 5, came from the Oklahoma City Zoological Park. Both were brought to the Dallas Zoo in April 2011 on the recommendation of the Ocelot Species Survival Plan, with hopes that they would reproduce. Ocelot kittens typically weigh less than half a pound when born. At four weeks old, Lindy weighed two pounds.

Wild Ocelots occur naturally in Texas, but experts believe that only about 50 of these predators remain in the wilds of the state.  Ocelots are widespread in Central and South America, where they prefer areas of dense vegetation.