Jackson Zoo

Red Ruffed Lemur Brothers Born at Jackson Zoo

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The Jackson Zoological Society is proud to announce the birth of two critically endangered Red Ruffed Lemurs.

On Saturday, May 27, Jackson Zoo keepers arrived at work in the early morning to discover two newborn males in the Lemur exhibit!

New mother, Nekena, arrived at the Jackson Zoo in December of 2016 from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. She joined the Zoo’s resident father and son, Timmy and Phoenix, respectively, as part of the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan.

“The 2017 Breeding and Transfer Plan was published this past February. At that time we had 187 Red Ruffed Lemurs in the Species Survival Plan®(SSP), where we recommended 18 males and 16 females for breeding,” said Christie Eddie, Red Ruffed Lemur SSP Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. “We are in the midst of birthing season and these offspring are among birth reports from five SSP institutions. I expect more to come!”

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3_Lemurs on a pillowPhoto Credits: EJ Rivers/ Jackson Zoo

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) as “Critically Endangered”. Found only in a small area of Madagascar, they are the most endangered type of Lemur in the world due to increased cyclones, illegal logging, and the illegal exotic pet trade. According to the IUCN, there are only approximately 35 Lemurs on average per square kilometer in their native habitat and declining rapidly. Less than 65% of newborn young survive to three-months of age in the wild, and there are less than 600 in zoos or refuges in the world.

“We are absolutely delighted to see these two little ones arrive, both for our park and the species as a whole” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director, Beth Poff. “More than a third of the animals at the Jackson Zoo are either endangered or threatened, and although every birth here is special to the staff, adding numbers to an endangered species is that much more precious.”

The Jackson Zoological Society participates in Species Survival Plans for many other animals, including successful births for the Pygmy Hippo and the Sumatran Tiger. The Jackson Zoo also regularly submits information and samples to dozens of ongoing international studies.

Now barely three weeks old, the Red Ruffed Lemur brothers are getting stronger every day. Unfortunately, it was the first pregnancy and birth for their hand-raised mom, Nakena, whose inexperience with newborns was apparent. Vet Tech, Donna Todd, stepped in and has been hand-raising the endangered babies ever since May 27th.

According to the Zoo, the two are like ‘night-and-day’ when it comes to temperament (one decidedly vocal, one much quieter). But both boys are eating well, have bright eyes, are jumping and playing equal amounts, and are more curious about their surroundings every day.

Special public viewings at the Jackson Zoo Vet Hospital are being arranged, and the Zoo hopes to be able to let the public “meet” them (at a distance) within the next month or so.

Visitors and Jackson Zoo members can visit the adult Lemurs during regular zoo hours (seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm), and follow the Jackson Zookeepers on Instagram (@JacksonZoo) for close-ups and behind-the-scenes photos of all the park residents. People can also “adopt” the baby Lemurs (or their parents) for twelve months by contacting EJ Rivers at: [email protected].

Baby Gibbon is in Good Hands at Jackson Zoo

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A warm welcome to the newest White-handed Gibbon born at Mississippi's Jackson Zoo! The baby is a little female named Jari, an Indonesian word meaning 'fingers'. She was born on November 22 to  mom Mia and father Cookie-Man, and weighed 1.3 pounds (.6 kg) at birth.

The infant is being hand-raised by veterinary staff due to complications and an unreliable parenting history. Animal care staff feel this is the best way to ensure that the little baby will grow up healthy and safely. The newborn is now under the constant care of veterinary technician Donna Todd.  She is being fed half an ounce of formula every 2 to 3 hours, 24 hours a day.  Visitors can see the new White-handed Gibbon weekdays at the 11:00 a.m. feeding at the Vet Hospital nursery window.

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4 gibbon Photo credit: Jackson Zoo / Chris Todd

The Jackson Zoo houses a breeding pair of White-handed Gibbons as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative breeding program between zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The programs help to coordinate breeding between zoos to keep the captive population healthy and genetically diverse. This management is especially vital for the conservation of species that are threatened in the wild. 

White-handed Gibbons are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Living in the evergreen forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, the White-handed Gibbon eats mainly fruits and leaves. Because they consume both the fruit and the seeds, these small apes are important seed dispersers, with some plant species relying solely on the Gibbon for dispersal. Currently, the main threats to the wild Gibbon population is hunting and habitat loss. 

Red Wolf Pups Saved from Deadly Virus at Jackson Zoo

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When an aggressive virus strikes, there’s often little that can be done. Fortunately, Jackson Zoo’s dedicated animal care team was able to give the medical attention needed to rescue a litter of Red Wolf pups from a virus that had been transmitted by the pups' mother, Taladu.  

The five pups, Jackson Zoo's first litter of this critically endangered species, were born on April 22nd. The three surviving pups are male and thriving under the care of zoo veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield. They are growing quickly and taking two to three ounces of formula at three-hour intervals. At three weeks old, two cubs weighed in at 2.3 lbs and one weighed in at 3 lbs. 

Because the virus was transmitted by their mother, they will continue to be hand-raised by Dr. Holifield for a few more weeks before they return to their nursery at the zoo. 

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Photo credits: Jackson Zoo

See photos of the pups as newborns and learn more about Red Wolf conservation after the fold.

Continue reading "Red Wolf Pups Saved from Deadly Virus at Jackson Zoo" »

UPDATE! Vote to Name Jackson Zoo's Beaver Kits

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Jackson Zoo's three North American Beaver kits, born March 27th, will be named today! Jackson Zoo is hosting a naming contest. They're done taking name submissions, but if you want to vote for your three favorites, the poll is available today on the zoo's Facebook page

Read the first ZooBorns post about the beaver kits here

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Photo credits: Jackson Zoo

Three Baby Beavers Born at Jackson Zoo Need Names

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There are three furry newborns at the Jackson Zoo. Stump, a North American Beaver mother, gave birth to this litter of three kits last week -- on March 27. All are resting comfortably in their lodge together. The babies are very healthy and still nursing. Mom is allowing them to testing out the water in which they will become quite agile as they grow. You can watch the Zoo's Facebook page for imminent news of a naming contest HERE.

Beavers have webbed feet which they use like fins when swimming and can move at speeds up to five miles (eight km) an hour, using their flat round tails like rudders.  While underwater, they see through a set of transparent eyelids that function much like goggles. They can stay under for up to 15 minutes. Their fur is waterproof. Beavers find aquatic plants on which to dine, supplementing their diet, as herbivores, of bark and leaves, twigs, and roots. 

Beavers are the second-largest rodent in the world, the Caypbara being the largest. They are incredibly industrious, breaking down small trees and branches with their strong jaws to build nests and dams on the sides of waterways The North American Beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This decline is a result of extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.

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Photo Credit: Jackson Zoo

It's Four Little Red Ruffed Lemur Babies for Jackson Zoo


Something was afoot at Mississippi's Jackson Zoo... the pitter patter of 16 little feet! Four little Red Ruffed Lemur babies were born on March 31. The litter was discovered on the morning of April first, after their birth the night before. Timmy, the father, is 27 years old, and the mother, named Moon, is 14. She and all her pups are doing very well. The genders of the babies are still unknown.

Like all lemurs, the Red Ruffed lemur is native to Madagascar. Newborns have fur and are born with eyes open. In the wild they stay in the nest as mom forages until they are about seven weeks old, when they begin to follow their parents through the treetops. These little ones at the zoo have just started to explore the outside area of their exhibit habitat. They usually become fully weaned after about four months.

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Photo Credits: Jackson Zoo

Baby Beaver Twins Start Swimming Lessons

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The Jackson Zoo in Mississippi has recently added to their animal family with two baby beavers named Philly and Billy. Their appearance surprised to their keepers those two subsequent mornings of July 1 and 2; They suspected the female would give birth at some time soon because of her swollen mammary glands.The parents were hand-raised rescue animals that the Zoo obtained in 2006. Philly and Billy are just now venturing outside their den to swim with mom. Previous to that, they were sticking close to their parents deep within the nest box.

"If you do not see them outside, take a peek through the viewing window into the den where they continue to nurse and grow," said zoo staff. They have a beautiful outdoor exhibit so visitors may see them swimming in their pond. While their sex is not known yet, the vet does plan to give them their first physical very soon. 

The Jackson Zoo reported: "Pictures are hard to get because the babies have been sticking close to mom deep in their den."

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Photo Credit: Jackson Zoo

American Beavers are not endangered but were once hunted to the brink of extinction for their pelts. Beavers live throughout North American and Europe. Known as the most skilled builders of all animals, their dams stop flowing water and create wetlands. That in turn provides habitats for frogs, turtles, birds, ducks, fish and other mammals. Because of this, the species is viewed as being critial to the health and stability of wetland environments.

Getting a Leg Up in the First Week of Life


A baby giraffe joined Reticulated Giraffe parents Diamond and Casper at the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, Mississippi. Reticulated Giraffes have large brown spots separated by cream-colored lines, the males' color being darker than females. This female, who is not yet named, was born on Sunday night, May 2, 2011, measuring 5'8" tall and weighing 120 pounds. 

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Zoo vet, Dr. Holifield, discovered an issue with the tendon of her right front hoof and as a precaution took corrective measures, wrapping that leg in tape and a special sock to help her stand. 

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She was expected to make a quick recovery and she did. She went outside on exhibit yesterday, May 9, at eight days old. Here she is, enjoying the sunshine!


Photo credits: First and last photos by Jackson Zoo, 2nd and 3rd by David Wetzel

Giraffes are native only to Africa, living on the dry savannas south of the Saraha Desert. Today, though they are still considered unendangered, they have all but disappeared from most of the West African and Kalahari range.