Denver Zoo

Denver Welcomes First Mandrill in Sixteen Years

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Denver Zoo’s female Mandrill, Kumani, gave birth to a healthy female on May 10.

The baby, who her caretakers have named ‘Kesi’, is the first for seven-year-old Kumani and her mate, 11-year-old Jelani. The zoo’s animal care team says Kumani has already proven to be a great mom, providing Kesi with the care and attention she needs to thrive.

Kesi’s arrival marks the first Mandrill birth at the Zoo since 2003, when Denver Zoo went through a Mandrill baby boom with two females born in two years. Jelani joined the troop in 2013 followed by Kumani, who arrived in 2018 at the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan. At the end of 2018, the zoo’s animal care staff suspected Kumani might be pregnant, which was later confirmed via ultrasound.

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4_Baby Mandrill_Kesi 1Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Mandrills, which are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are found in the rainforests of central West Africa. You can spot mandrills by their bright blue and red face, and long teeth. Males are larger and usually have brighter coloring. They’re a social species and travel in groups known as “troops.”

Guests at Denver Zoo are encouraged to visit Kesi and the whole Mandrill troop in the Congo Basin area in Primate Panorama. Animal care staff says the best time to catch these colorful primates and catch a glimpse of Kesi is first thing in the morning or at lunchtime, when they are foraging for food. Be sure to follow the zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on Kesi!


Denver Zoo’s Sloth Baby Finally Arrives!

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After what felt like an eternity for the Denver Zoo, their long-awaited Linne’s Two-toed Sloth baby finally arrived on April 11.

The new baby, whose name and sex are yet to be determined, has been deemed “very healthy” by the Zoo’s veterinary team. The infant was born to 23-year-old mom, Charlotte Greenie, and her 28-year-old mate, Elliot. The little one is said to be bonding and resting with Charlotte in their Bird World habitat, while dad and older sister, Baby Ruth (who was born in January 2018), are temporarily off-exhibit to give mom and baby time and space to bond.

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BabySloth4Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

When Denver Zoo announced Charlotte’s pregnancy in December, they estimated that the baby would be born as early as January. However, Sloth due dates are notoriously challenging to predict because they are primarily active at night and breeding is rarely observed. The Zoo’s animal care team closely monitored Charlotte for months to ensure that she and the baby were healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. According to keepers, the baby clung to Charlotte immediately after birth and will remain attached to her almost exclusively for at least six months.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus didactylus)---also known as the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth or Southern Two-toed Sloth---are found in the rainforests of South America, primarily in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. They are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping, and become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise. Linne’s are among two types of sloth: two-toed and three-toed—and six different species, including the Pygmy Three-toed, Maned, Pale-throated, Brown-throated, and Hoffman’s. Although the Linnaeus’s Two-toed is not currently considered threatened, two other species, the Pygmy Three-toed and Maned, are “critically endangered” and “vulnerable”, respectively.

Denver Zoo keepers say the best time to visit the new baby and mother is late in the afternoon when mom, Charlotte, is more likely to be moving around. Keepers ask that visitors keep their voices low while the baby adjusts to life in its new world.

Be sure to follow the Denver Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular baby sloth updates!


Rare Baby Aye-aye Debuts at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo was one of the first zoos in North America to care for Aye-ayes and is home to three of the only 24 Aye-ayes in the U.S. The Zoo’s newest Aye-aye, Tonks, who was born on August 8, has now emerged from the nest box and is starting to actively explore her habitat.

Visitors will be able to see Tonks, along with her mom, Bellatrix, and dad, Smeagol, in their exhibit in Emerald Forest at Denver Zoo.

However, seeing these elusive, nocturnal lemurs isn’t always easy. Lead Primate Keeper Becky Sturges offered the following three tips for visitors to help spot the Aye-aye family in the Zoo’s exhibit:

Visit Early…and Late: The best times to spot the Aye-ayes is soon after the Zoo opens around 10:30 a.m. and late in the afternoon, when Tonks tends to play and explore to burn off her last amount of energy before bedtime. Let Your Eyes Adjust: Spend at least five minutes letting your eyes adjust to the darkness in the exhibit and keep cell phone lights off. Look Up: Tonks is very adventurous and likes to explore the entire habitat, but she tends to spend more time on branches in the higher areas.”

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3_Tonks1_EditedPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

Aye-ayes are (Daubentonia madagascariensis) a rare species of lemur that are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are native only to remote parts of Madagascar. They are also one of the most distinctive looking animals on the planet due to a number of unique adaptations, including coarse dark hair, long bushy tails, rodent-like teeth, piercing eyes and skeletal hands that feature extra-long middle fingers with hooked claws. Aye-ayes are born weighing just a few ounces and reach up to 5 lbs. as adults. They have been known to live up to about 20 years.

For more information about Tonks and Denver Zoo’s history with Aye-aye, visit the Zoo’s website: https://www.denverzoo.org/zootales/what-does-it-take-for-a-baby-aye-aye-to-survive-and-thrive/


Rare Baby Aye-aye Born at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo welcomed a rare baby Aye-aye and is now home to three of these unusual creatures. With only 24 residing in seven zoos in the United States and an unknown number in the wild, Aye-ayes are among the rarest animals in the world. The new baby, a female, is named Tonks and was born on August 8.

Tonks, who was born to mom Bellatrix and dad Smeagol, is healthy and thriving; however, her first days were worrying for Denver Zoo’s animal care staff and veterinarians.

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AyeAye_2_EditedPhoto Credit: Denver Zoo

“We noticed that Bellatrix wasn’t showing typical mothering behaviors, so we decided to step in to give Tonks some supportive care,” said Lead Primate Keeper Becky Sturges. “We provided 24-hour care for the first week and had to teach Bellatrix how to nurse, but now she is nursing well and Tonks has gained a lot of weight. Now we’re just monitoring them to make sure things continue to go well.”

Aye-ayes are born weighing just a few ounces, grow to a weight of five pounds as adults, and live up to 20 years.

Tonks is still in the nest box with Bellatrix and is not expected to emerge for a few more months, so she is not yet visible to zoo guests.

Aye-ayes have a distinctive appearance, thanks to a number of unique adaptations including coarse dark hair, a long bushy tail, rodent-like teeth, large eyes, and bony hands that feature extra-long middle fingers. The middle fingers are used to tap on tree branches and locate hollow spaces that may contain grubs. After chewing a hole in the branch, the grubs are extracted using the clawed fingertips.

Aye-ayes are classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and are found only in remote parts of Madagascar. They were thought to be extinct in 1933, but were rediscovered in 1957. Their odd appearance caused Aye-ayes to be labeled as harbingers of death in Madagascan traditional cultures, and the animals were often killed on sight. The dramatic loss of Madagascar’s original forest cover has also contributed to Aye-ayes’ Endangered status.


Denver Zoo Animal Moms 'Labor' on Labor Day

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During the recent Labor Day holiday, the Denver Zoo welcomed the births of a female Cape Buffalo named ‘Poncho’ and a rare, endangered male Okapi calf named ‘Romakari’.

Both calves are reported to be healthy and thriving under the protective care of their mothers. The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff are also closely monitoring them.

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4_Romakari_1Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Poncho was born on the morning of September 3 to mom, Rain. She is the second Cape Buffalo calf to be born at Denver Zoo in recent months. Cape Buffalo are found in southern and eastern Africa and are known for being particularly territorial, protective and sizeable, with males weighing as much as 2,000 lbs. Poncho is already spending the majority of her time in the herd’s outdoor habitat and is often easily viewable to visitors.

Meanwhile, Romakari was born on the afternoon of September 2 to mom, Almasi. He is currently being kept behind the scenes, where he will likely remain for at least a month until keepers are confident he’ll follow Almasi outdoors. Okapis look a like a cross between a Zebra and Giraffe with long necks, reddish bodies, black-and-white striped legs, and long, purple prehensile tongues.

Okapi are native only to the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to logging, human settlement and hunting.

Romakari is the eighth Okapi calf born at Denver Zoo and, like Poncho, the second of his species to be born at the Zoo in recent months.


Trio of Komodo Dragons Debut at Denver Zoo

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A trio of 9-month-old Komodo Dragons made their public debut at Denver Zoo recently. The two males, Ryu and Bai, and one female, Saphira, currently weigh about 2 lbs. and measure 18 inches in length, but they will reach up to 9 ft. and 100 lbs. when fully grown.

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3_Baby Komodo Pic 6Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Komodo Dragons are the largest lizard in the world and can live for more than 50 years. They are native to only five islands in southeastern Indonesia: including the islands of Komodo, Flores, Rinca and Padar.

Ryu, Bai and Saphira arrived at the Denver Zoo from the Fort Worth Zoo back in April as part of the Species Survival Program, a coordinated effort between institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the survival and genetic diversity of select species, and to enhance conservation of those species in the wild. They join the Zoo’s two other adult Komodo Dragons, 15-year old Raja and 8-year-old Kristika, in the Komodo wing in Tropical Discovery.


More Sunshine for Denver Zoo’s Orangutans

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Denver Zoo’s six-week-old Sumatran Orangutan has been enjoying the warmer spring weather. Keepers have seen the little female several times in the outdoor exhibit, clinging tightly to mom.

The new baby was born March 25 to mom, Nias, and dad, Berani. The infant's unique name, Cerah, means “bright” in Indonesian and is often used to refer to sunshine.

(ZooBorns shared news and pics of Cerah’s arrival in an article from April: “Denver Zoo Celebrates the ‘Sunshine’ of Spring”)

Mom, Nias, is 29-years-old and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2005. Berani is 25-years-old and arrived in 2017. The two were paired together under recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® Program, which oversees the population management of select species within AZA member institutions and enhances conservation of those species in the wild. The coupling proved to be a fast success, as Nias and Berani met in July of 2017 and conceived Cerah less than a month later.

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4_32271308_10156550044412122_7603192785188945920_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of palm oil plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

The species currently has an official classification of “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


Denver Zoo Celebrates the ‘Sunshine’ of Spring

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Denver Zoo is thrilled to announce their newest critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan.

The lovely female was born March 25 to mom, Nias, and dad, Berani. The new baby has been given the name, Cerah, which means “bright” in Indonesian and is often used to refer to sunshine.

Cerah arrived through a natural and uneventful birth, and keepers report both mom and baby are in good health. They are currently behind-the-scenes to give them time to rest and bond and allow the Zoo’s staff a chance to ensure Cerah is receiving proper care and nourishment from Nias.

Mom, Nias, is 29-years-old and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2005. Berani is 25-years-old and arrived in 2017. The two were paired together under recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® Program, which oversees the population management of select species within AZA member institutions and enhances conservation of those species in the wild. The coupling proved to be a fast success, as Nias and Berani met in July of 2017 and conceived Cerah less than a month later.

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4_Cerah_5Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of palm oil plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

The species currently has a classification of “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

According to the official report by the IUCN: “The most recent population estimate for the Sumatran Orangutan is 13,846 individuals, in a total area of 16,775 km² of forest (Wich et al. 2016). Excluding populations of fewer than 250 individuals (i.e., considering only populations that are potentially viable over the long term) leaves just 13,587 individuals. The vast majority (i.e., 95.0%) occur in the Leuser Ecosystem, while other populations are found in the Sidiangkat and Pakpak. The 2016 estimate is higher than the previous estimate of around 6,600 individuals remaining (Wich et al. 2008), as it takes into account three factors: a) orangutans were found in greater numbers at higher altitudes than previously supposed (i.e., up to 1,500 m asl not just to 1,000 m asl), b) they were found to be more widely distributed in selectively-logged forests than previously assumed, and c) orangutans were found in some previously unsurveyed forest patches. The new estimate does not, therefore, reflect a real increase in Sumatran Orangutan numbers. On the contrary, it reflects only much improved survey techniques and coverage, and hence more accurate data. It is extremely important to note, therefore, that overall numbers continue to decline dramatically.”

(More amazing pics, below the fold!)

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Denver Zoo Goes ‘Wild’ for Quad of Endangered Puppies

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The news from Denver Zoo is that everyone is “going wild” over four endangered African Wild Dog puppies born there on November 20, 2017. For the past three months, the puppies have been behind the scenes in their private maternity den under the protective care of their mother, Tilly.

Keepers say the three males (Nigel, Theodore Roosevelt, and Livingstone) and one female (Cholula) are healthy, curious and playful, and ready for their public debut. Guests will now have a chance to see the puppies every day from Noon till 2 p.m. in the Pahali Ya Mwana yard in Benson Predator Ridge, through the end of the month of February. Starting March 1, they will then be in various habitats throughout Benson Predator Ridge, depending on the weather.

This is the first litter for Tilly, who was born in September 2012 at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2014. Her mother was born at Denver Zoo to the zoo's original alpha pair, Daisy and Judd.

The father of the new pups, Jesse, was born in January 2011 at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and arrived at Denver Zoo in January 2015. All three adult dogs at the Denver Zoo—Tilly, Jesse and Cheza—arrived under the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

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4_AWD Puppies_Feb 14_2Photo Credits: Denver Zoo 

With a worldwide population estimated at 6,600, African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus), also known as African Painted dogs, are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease are the main threats to their survival in the wild.

Denver Zoo is a leader in the management of African Wild Dogs within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), and has successfully produced 32 puppies since 2001. Additionally, Denver Zoo helps protect African Wild Dogs in Botswana by tracking them with radio and GPS collars to reduce conflicts with humans and promote coexistence between people and animals, and has been significantly involved in research aimed at improving the management and sustainability of the species, including genetic, reproductive, and behavioral studies.

African Wild Dogs are native to the open woodlands and plains of sub-Saharan Africa. Full-grown adults weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at the shoulder. Unique characteristics of these slim, long-legged dogs include: distinct yellow, black, brown and white markings, large round ears that contribute to their sharp sense of hearing, and front paws that have only four toes, rather than the typical five found on other canine species.

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Peek at a 2-day-old Baby Sloth

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Denver Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, who was born on January 28 to Charlotte Greenie, the zoo’s 21-year-old female Sloth, and her 27-year-old mate, Elliot. Charlotte and the baby, whose name has not yet been chosen or gender identified, are both healthy and thriving and made their public debut on February 1.

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Sloth_Baby_Day2Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

Throughout her 10-month pregnancy, Charlotte, who came to Denver Zoo from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2015, and her baby were closely monitored by zoo experts with regular ultrasounds, checkups and weigh-ins to ensure they were healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. Keepers even devised an innovative method to weigh Charlotte by training her to come to a specific branch connected to a scale. The baby clung to Charlotte immediately after birth and will continue to cling to her almost exclusively for at least six months.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths, which are also known as the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth or Southern Two-toed Sloth, are found in the rainforests of South America, primarily in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. They are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping.  They become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise.

See more photos below.

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