Kansas City Zoo

Penguin Chick Gets A "Cool" Name

KCZoo King Penguin Chick #2

With the Midwest in the grip of a brutal winter, the Kansas City Zoo has welcomed two King Penguin chicks.

KCZoo King Penguin Chick #2
KCZoo King Penguin Chick #2Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

The first chick hatched on January 13 during a blizzard and was given the name “Blizzard” by the care team. A second King Penguin chick hatched on February 2 during the polar vortex which brought below-zero temperatures to Kansas City. The zoo solicited name suggestions for the second chick on Facebook, and fans suggested wintry names for little ball of fluff. Top names included “Pothole,” “Snowball,” “Icee,” “Chilly,” and “Vortex.” Vortex was chosen as the winning name.

You can see the entire Penguin habitat and all its residents every day on the zoo’s Penguin Cam.

There, you’ll see “play pens” separating the two chicks and their parents from the rest of the flock. This allows the other penguins to see and hear the new arrivals, but gives the new families some privacy. Blizzard, the older of the two Penguin chicks, has his very own Blizzard Cam. On that camera, you’ll see Blizzard, who is covered in fuzzy gray feathers and stands almost as tall as his parents.

At up to 39 inches tall, King Penguins are the second largest of all Penguin species. They nest on temperate islands in the South Atlantic Ocean and on the coast of Antarctica. Diving to depths of more than 300 feet, King Penguins forage for fish, squid, and krill in the cold Antarctic waters. King Penguins as a whole are not under threat at this time, but certain populations, including those on Pig Island, have declined 90% in recent years. Scientists are not certain if this is due to changes in the ecosystem, or if the Penguins have dispersed to new breeding grounds.


King Penguin Chick Makes a Grand Entrance

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While fluffy snow was recently blanketing Kansas City, Missouri and knocking out power metro wide, including at the Kansas City Zoo, something exciting was happening inside the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The first King Penguin egg to be laid at the Zoo hatched on Sunday, January 13. The name “Blizzard” was chosen for this chick since it made its entrance into the world during one big snowstorm!

KCZoo King Penguin Chick 2Photo Credits: Brian McCarty/Kansas City Zoo

Helzberg Penguin Plaza opened its doors in October 2013 and became home to several King Penguins. But it wasn’t until this winter that those penguins formed love connections. In late November, the Zoo’s first King Penguin egg was laid, and parents Jilly and Dwayne kept dutiful watch over it. For king penguins, that required them to hold the delicate egg on their feet to keep it warm, taking turns doing so for the 53-day incubation period. On January 13, the new chick was finally ready to hatch!

Zookeepers have been keeping an eye on the chick, weighing it periodically to make sure its gaining weight. Jilly and Dwayne are first-time parents but are doing a great job feeding and caring for little Blizzard.

Visitors can see the chick, Blizzard, and the rest of the flock in Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species of penguin, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island.


Kansas City Zoo Welcomes Second Giraffe Calf This Year

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Kansas City Zoo’s Masai Giraffe herd just got bigger! On Sunday, September 30, at 11:29 pm, six-year-old Makali gave birth to a male calf. The calf weighed 135 pounds and already stands 5 feet, 5 inches tall. A neonatal exam showed that the calf is in good health.

Right now, the calf is bonding with his mom behind the scenes, but fans can see him on the zoo’s Giraffe Cam.  He has not yet been named.

KCZoo Giraffe Calf Male 1Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

The new calf already has a playmate: female calf Dixie is eight months old and is sure to become fast friends with this youngster.

The calf’s father is nine-year-old Hamisi, the only male in the zoo’s herd. Hamisi has fathered several calves at his previous zoo and this is his second calf at the Kansas City Zoo. He also fathered Dixie.

Masai Giraffe are one of nine Giraffe species and subspecies found in Africa. Masai Giraffes live primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, and number around 32,000 individuals. The overall Giraffe population in Africa is decreasing due to growing human population pressure and illegal hunting. Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.



Adorable Asian Small-clawed Otter Duo Born

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Two adorable Asian Small-clawed Otter pups were born the middle of March at the Kansas City Zoo.

For now, the fluffy male and female pups will remain behind-the-scenes with their parents and big brother, Otis.

However, the Zoo is happy to share updates of the duo via social media. Keepers also organized a naming contest, allowing the public to select the tiny otters new names. And the winning names are…Conner and Clover.

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Kczoo-female-pupPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

Although the Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea syn. Amblonyx cinereus) is only listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, the species is seriously threatened by rapid habitat destruction for palm oil farming and by hunting and pollution. They are considered an “indicator species,” meaning their population indicates the general health of their habitat and of other species.

The species is the smallest Otter in the world and lives in freshwater wetlands and mangrove swamps throughout Southeast Asia, including southern India and China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Borneo, and the Malay Peninsula. They prefer quiet pools and sluggish streams for fishing and swimming.

Unlike Sea Otters, they spend more time on land than in water, but they are skillful, agile swimmers and divers, with great endurance. They can stay submerged for six to eight minutes.

Continue reading "Adorable Asian Small-clawed Otter Duo Born " »


Rare Goat Kids Born at Kansas City Zoo

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The Kansas City Zoo has four ‘new kids on the block’…goat kids, that is!

Four Arapawa Goats were born at the Zoo during the first week of April. Keepers have been able to determine there are at least one boy and one girl, and they will find out the sex of the other pair once a neonatal exam is performed.

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30261913_10155008363716377_7792542362667843584_oPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

The Arapawa Goat is a New Zealand breed. They are medium-sized and of a non-aggressive temperament. The breed is also considered to be critically close to extinction.

According the American non-profit organization, The Livestock Conservancy: “The Arapawa goat is a breed of domestic goat whose ancestors arrived with European explorers or colonists in New Zealand, possibly as early as the 1600’s. The breed was originally only found on the rugged island of Arapawa, which is situated at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. The origin of the goat population on this island has often been associated with the expeditions of Captain James Cook. Historical records indicate that goats were released by Cook on the island in 1777. According to local lore the present goats are directly descended from those original goats brought by the British explorers. The goats are thought to be descended from 'Old English', a common goat breed in Britain in the 18th century. This breed is a likely candidate to have been brought by British colonists as it is an all-purpose family goat suitable to meet the challenges of founding new colonies.

In England, over time, the Old English goat slowly fell out of favor on small farms. The Old English breed eventually became extinct as more productive breeds became popular and the practice of keeping yard goats diminished towards the end of the 19th century. If New Zealand goat lore is true, then the Arapawa represents the last remaining examples of the Old English goat, and it has been conserved due to the relative isolation of the island. While the origins of the Arapawa goat will continue to challenge historians and biologists, phenotypical evidence and DNA evidence seem to support the hypothesis of the relationship to the Old English goat.

The Arapawa goat population thrived on the island without major threat for over 200 years, until the 1970s. At that time, the New Zealand Forest Service came to the conclusion that the goats were too damaging to the native forest and therefore had to be removed. In reaction to the news, Arapawa Island residents Betty and Walt Rowe stepped in with friends and volunteers and created a sanctuary in 1987. They began conservation work with 40 goats returned to domestication. It is largely through their efforts that the breed gained international attention and survives today. The Arapawa goat remains one of the rarest breeds. As of 2011 there are approximately 150-200 domesticated goats in the United States, and this is thought to represent about half of the global population. Dedicated breeders are also working with the breed in New Zealand and the United Kingdom…”


Giraffe Herd Grows by Four Hooves at Kansas City Zoo

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The Masai Giraffe herd at the Kansas City Zoo just grew by four hooves! At 4:57 a.m. on February 2, Giraffe Lizzie gave birth to a female calf.

At the calf’s neonatal exam, the veterinary team determined that the baby is in good health and bonding well with Lizzie. The newborn weighed 105 pounds and stands about five feet tall. 

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KCZoo Giraffe Calf 2Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

This baby, which has not yet been named, is the first to be born at the zoo since 2015.  The little girl’s parents are Lizzie, age 6, and eight-year-old Hamisi. Lizzie’s mother, Mahali, is part of the zoo’s herd, so the calf will soon meet her grandmother.  

It’s too cold outside for Lizzie and her baby, so they’ll remain behind the scenes until the weather warms up. In the meantime, fans can see Lizzie and the baby inside the Giraffe barn on the Giraffe Cam.

See more photos of the newborn calf below.

Continue reading "Giraffe Herd Grows by Four Hooves at Kansas City Zoo" »


‘King’ of the Penguins Named at Kansas City Zoo

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There’s a new Penguin in the Kansas City Zoo’s ‘Helzberg Penguin Plaza’ exhibit!

Several months ago, the Zoo was fortunate to receive a King Penguin egg from the St. Louis Zoo. The Kansas City Zoo incubated the egg until it was ready to hatch, and on November 8, the new chick made its way out of his shell.

He was hand-raised, behind the scenes, by a group of dedicated Zookeepers until ready to acclimate to the temperatures and feathered friends that come with his permanent exhibit.

Now, through the course of voting via social media, the handsome young King Penguin has been given the very regal name “Louie”.

2_Louie 2Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo

The chick has grown a lot in two short months, and the Zoo encourages visitors to see him in his ‘penguin playpen’, right on the other side of the glass at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus (found in the South Atlantic) and A. p. halli. (found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island).

King Penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid. They are less reliant on krill and other crustaceans than most Southern Ocean predators.


Help Name This Baby Otter!

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A male Asian Small-clawed Otter at the Kansas City Zoo needs a name, and you can submit your favorite here until October 20.

The tiny male was born on August 27 to mom Cai, age 10, and dad Ian, age six.  Both parents are caring for their baby behind the scenes. The zoo staff says it will be a few more weeks before the family returns to their exhibit habitat.

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20171003_162708Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

All of the baby Otter names submitted through October 20 will be reviewed by the zoo staff. The top four names will be selected and announced on the zoo’s Facebook page for a final vote from October 20 through November 3. The zoo plans to announce the winner on November 10.

Asian Small-clawed Otters live in wetlands and mangrove swamps in Southeast Asia, where they feed on Crustaceans and Mollusks. Every aspect of the Otter’s body is designed for efficient swimming, including the long, torpedo-shaped body, muscular tail, flattened head, and webbed feet. These Otters are the smallest of the world’s 13 Otter species.

Due to habitat degradation, illegal hunting, and pollution of waterways, Asian Small-clawed Otters are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.  The Kansas City Zoo, along with other accredited North American zoos, participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to breed rare species and maintain a high level of genetic diversity in populations under human care.

 


KCZoo Announces Names of Two Young Apes

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The Kansas City Zoo is proud to announce the names chosen for their adorable baby Orangutan and baby Chimpanzee, born earlier this year.

On May 23, a male Bornean Orangutan was born at the Zoo. First-time mom Josie has strong motherly instincts and has been taking great care of the little guy since his birth! Keepers say Josie’s mom, Jill, who is also at the KCZoo, taught her everything she knows about being a mom. Orangutan youngsters have long intense relationships with their mothers, so Josie will spend the next several years showing him vital Orangutan skills like how to build nests, where to find food, how to interact with others and how to use tools to forage.

A generous private donor has been given the opportunity and named this youngster “Dusty.” You can see his handsome little face along with Josie, Grandma Jill and Kali at the Zoo’s “Orangutan Canopy”.

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4_13392036_10153402920856377_378451210979909069_oPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

A female Chimpanzee, at the Zoo, was born to mom Teeoni on April 1. But just days after her birth, her mother was no longer caring for her. In the best interest of the infant, Zookeepers began the challenging work of hand-raising her, providing her with round the clock care. Keepers are proud to say this three-month-old is now thriving! Always in close contact to the rest of the Chimpanzee troop, keepers are working with other potential surrogate moms for the baby when she is big enough to rejoin the group.

A longtime supporter of the Zoo has chosen a meaningful name for this little girl that symbolizes the hard work and dedication the keeper staff has put forth to raise her in the absence of her mother. She has been named “Ruw” (RUE) which is short for Ruwenzori, the nickname of the Zookeeper team that cares for Kansas City Zoo’s Chimpanzee troop.

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species native to the island of Borneo. Together with the Sumatran Orangutan, it belongs to the only genus of great apes native to Asia. Like the other great apes, Orangutans are highly intelligent, displaying advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild.

The Bornean Orangutan is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.

Chimpanzees (sometimes called chimps) are one of two exclusively African species of great ape that are currently extant. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, both are currently found in the Congo jungle. Classified in the genus Pan, they were once considered to be one species. However, since 1928, they have been recognized as two distinct species: the Common Chimpanzee (P. troglodytes) live north of the Congo River and the Bonobo (P. paniscus) who live south. In addition, P. troglodytes is divided into four subspecies, while P. paniscus has none. The most obvious differences are that Chimpanzees are somewhat larger, more aggressive and male dominated, while the Bonobos are more gracile, peaceful, and female dominated.

Their hair is typically black or brown. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Both Chimps and Bonobos are some of the most social great apes, with social bonds occurring among individuals in large communities. Fruit is the most important component of a Chimpanzee's diet. They can live over 30 years in both the wild and captivity.

The Kansas City Zoo allows patrons to participate in the care of their animals. Zoo fans can adopt them through the “Adopt A Wild Child Program”. Find out more on the Zoo’s website: http://www.kansascityzoo.org/aawc .

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Red, White and New at Kansas City Zoo

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A Red Panda Cub, at the Kansas City Zoo, recently made his public debut. Born June 17th, the five month old male, named ‘Fei Jai’ (fay-jay), has been behind the scenes since birth, staying close to mom, ‘Gaila’.  

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KC ZOO Red Panda-4Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo

Fei Jai currently weighs a little over 4 pounds, but considering his birth weight of 4 ounces, he is healthy and developing, as expected. Fei Jei will remain close to his mother until the next mating season begins, and he will reach adult size at about 12 months of age. Like his mother, Gaila, he will be about the size of a house cat, when fully grown.

The curious male cub has just started exploring his exhibit, and he has begun eating the panda staple food, bamboo. Red Pandas primarily eat bamboo leaves and fresh shoots, but they are also known to enjoy berries, blossoms, bird eggs, and small leaves of various other plants. Like all Red Pandas, Fei Jai has a small, bony projection on his wrist that helps him grip bamboo stalks. Giant Pandas also have this thumb-like adaptation. 

In 2008, it was determined that approximately 10,000 individual Red Pandas were found globally. Since the population is expected to decline in the future, the Red Panda is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and conservation efforts are in place.