A male Southern Pudu was born at the L.A. Zoo on December 19, 2018.
The tiny fawn was born to first-time parents, Steph and Mario. The playful newborn may be difficult for visitors to spot in its habitat. According to keepers, he likes to spend a lot of time tucked away, close to mom.
Photo Credits: Los Angeles Zoo/ Tad Motoyama
The Pudús consist of two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu, and they are known as the world's smallest deer. Pudús range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and grow up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.
The Northern Pudú (Pudu mephistophiles) is found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The Southern Pudú (Pudu puda) is native to southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.
As of 2009, the Southern Pudu remains classified as “Near Threatened”, while the Northern Pudu is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.
As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Los Angeles Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the Southern Pudu, whose population is declining in the wild.
On May 15, a male Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat was born at the L.A. Zoo to first-time parents, Olga and Murray.
The joey spent several important months safely tucked away in Olga's pouch, but he’s now emerged and can occasionally be seen on-exhibit in the ‘nocturnal house’ of the zoo’s Australia Habitat.
Photo Credits: L.A. Zoo/ Jamie Pham/ Tad Motoyama
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is the smallest of the three species of wombats. It is found in areas from the eastern Nullarbor Plain to the New South Wales border area. The species is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
The species feeds primarily on select native perennial grasses and sedges, but they will consume introduced pasture species, forbs, and the leaves of woody shrubs if needed. The teeth of the wombat are very effective in grinding food into small particles.
The gestation period of the wombat lasts 22 days, and most births occur in October. When a young is born, it climbs into the mother’s pouch and clings to a teat. It will stay in the pouch for six months and grow to around 0.45 kg. Because wombats are natural burrowers, a mother's pouch faces backwards so that she can dig without getting dirt into her joey's home.
The joey will emerge from the pouch at around six months and begin grazing at the surface. The young is fully weaned when it is a year old and reaches full size at the age of three years.
The L.A. Zoo is one of only four in the country that take care of wombats, making their new little family one-third of the population of wombats in U.S. zoos!
The Los Angeles Zoo is happy to announce the birth of a female Masai Giraffe calf! Born on May 15 to mother, Hasina, and father, Phillip, the currently unnamed calf weighed in at 176 pounds and stood at around six feet tall.
This is the nine-year-old mother’s fourth calf and the six-year-old father’s third offspring. Hasina and Phillip were paired together through a Species Survival Plan (SSP) program that breeds Masai Giraffes in order to ensure the survival of a species that is threatened in the wild.
“She is one of the largest calves we’ve had born at the L.A. Zoo since I started working here in 2005,” said Mike Bona, animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “It is great timing that she was born before World Giraffe Day [June 21]. Not only does her birth help continue the Zoo’s efforts in its giraffe breeding program, but it also gives us an opportunity to educate guests on giraffe conservation and the current threats that the species faces in the wild.”
Photo Credits: Los Angeles Zoo/Jamie Pham
Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and Masai Giraffes can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh 2,700 pounds. The largest of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchii) are found in East Africa, namely southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Giraffes are currently categorized as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Their populations are under threat and declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal hunting, and disease.
Guests to the L.A. Zoo can visit the calf and her giraffe herd during Zoo hours, weather permitting. When observing the calf bonding with the herd, be sure to check out the Zoo’s giraffe feedings. This interactive experience allows guests to get up close and personal with the adult Masai Giraffes while feeding them their favorite greens and learning fun facts about the herd from Zoo education staff.
*Giraffe feedings take place twice daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and are $5 per person with paid Zoo admission. Tickets can be purchased (cash only) at the giraffe exhibit. Giraffe feedings are subject to weather-related changes, especially on rainy days.
The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce the birth of its first-ever female Okapi calf.
The calf was born on November 10, 2017 and is the second offspring for 14-year-old mother, Opey, and the first for three-year-old father, Jackson. The couple was paired together as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program with the goal of increasing the Okapi population, which is rapidly declining in the wild. The yet-to-be-named calf spent the first couple of months, behind the scenes, bonding with mother and familiarizing herself with her new home and the animal care staff.
"I am thrilled to welcome this new Angeleno into the world, and congratulate the staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, and her mom, Opey, on the birth of this Okapi calf," said District 4 Councilmember David Ryu. "This rare and beautiful animal is a testament to the Los Angeles Zoo’s incredible work caring for and fostering endangered animals."
Photo Credits: Jamie Pham (Image 1) / Tad Motoyama (2)
The Los Angeles Zoo contributes funds to The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP), a conservation group initiated in 1987 with the objective of eliciting support for the conservation of wild Okapi from individuals, foundations, and zoological institutions managing Okapi around the world. The Okapi is an important flagship species for the rainforest habitat that is rapidly vanishing due to expansion of human settlement, deforestation, and forest degradation. Over the last decade, the wild Okapi population has dropped and there are estimated to be between 10,000 and 50,000 left in the wild. There are currently close to 100 Okapi in U.S. AZA-accredited facilities.
“There was a time not so long ago when having Okapis in a Zoo was extraordinarily rare,” said Josh Sisk, Curator of Mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. “But, due to Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs being so proactive and being able to breed these animals in Zoos, the captive population is doing extremely well. This is just one example of how important zoos are for helping sustain such an endangered species. By guests being able to see an Okapi in a Zoo, it starts a conversation about how we can save this species and their habitat in the wild.”
Native to central Africa, the Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), also known as the “forest giraffe”, this reclusive species is rarely seen in the wild and was discovered by Europeans in 1901. Because of their naturally shy nature and inclination to live deep in the dense forest, researchers and people passing through the area rarely spot an Okapi in its native habitat. Observing this beautiful animal in a Zoological setting is most likely a person’s only opportunity to get up close to an Okapi in their lifetime.
While some guests may confuse this shy, solitary animal with a zebra due to the brilliant black and white striped patterns on its front and hind legs; it is actually the closest living relative to the giraffe. The markings act as a kind of “follow me” sign so that offspring can stay close to their mothers in the dark central African forests they inhabit. The thick coat that covers most of the Okapi’s body is velvety and very oily. The adult has a 14-18 inch long, prehensile tongue, stands at over six feet tall, and weighs between 400-700 pounds.
Guests can now view the female calf and her mother out in their habitat daily, weather permitting. The female calf brings the Zoo’s Okapi group to four, including mother Opey, father Jackson, and a four-year-old male Okapi born in August 2013 named Berani. Berani was the first calf ever born at the L.A. Zoo since the species was added to the Zoo’s collection in 2005.
Two deadly African Snake species have taken up residence at the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles (LAIR) exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo for the first time in the Zoo’s history. The Zoo also welcomed a baby boom of 50 plus snakes from six different species.
Perhaps the most well known of the new inhabitants are a pair of Cape Cobras, a highly venomous species of cobra found across southern Africa that is known to raise its fore-body off the ground and spread its hood when feeling nervous or threatened.
“We’re really excited to welcome this species of snake to the collection for the first time,” said Ian Recchio, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Los Angeles Zoo. “Our visitors often ask if we have cobras because they are a popular and highly-recognizable species of snake, and now we can offer our guests the chance to safely view one of nature’s most unique animals.”
One of the deadliest snake species in Africa, the Cape Cobra’s powerful neurotoxic venom is the most potent of any African Cobra and when bitten, victims require urgent hospitalization and treatment. This particular species of cobra is also highly polymorphic and can come in a variety of vibrant patterns and colors including speckled polka dots, lemon yellow, and different shades of brown and gray. The LAIR now has two Cape Cobras: a young sibling pair from Zoo Atlanta, which are a unique yellowish-beige in color and three feet long.
Also from Africa, the LAIR now exhibits four extraordinarily rare Ethiopian Mountain Vipers, born at the San Diego Zoo. Found only in remote areas in Ethiopia, there is very little known about the natural history of this highly venomous species. And, like the Cape Cobra, its appearance is also very striking and unique with beautiful lemon yellow and black geometric patterns on their bodies.
The LAIR has also experienced a baby boom with over 50 snake babies, recently born to six different species. The list of rare and endangered snake babies includes: Armenian Vipers, Black-tailed Horned Vipers, Catalina Rattle-less Rattlesnakes, Aruba Island Rattlesnakes, Baja California Rat Snakes, and Southwest Speckled Rattlesnakes.
The most likely reason for the influx in babies this season is the years of preparation and extraordinary work that the L.A. Zoo’s LAIR staff has put into understanding and raising these rare and endangered snake species. The team has endeavored to find the formula that worked best for the collection.
“The staff at LAIR has a special talent when it comes to breeding snakes and lizards,” said Recchio. “The baby boom we are experiencing now is the result of years of observation, tinkering with new breeding tactics, and doing our best to mimic a snake’s natural habitat in the wild.”
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens welcomed a female Sichuan Takin on February 12. Takin (pronounced “TAH-kin”), are stocky goat-antelopes native to China’s remote mountain forests.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Zoo
In the wild, baby Takin begin to follow their mothers along steep paths when they are just three days old – a crucial survival skill for these leaf-eating animals. Though heavily-built, Takin are surprisingly agile on the rocky cliffs of their homeland. Their large hooves have a spur that makes them sure-footed even on steep terrain. Males can weigh up to 800 pounds. Both males and females have thick upward-turning horns.
Takin are well-suited to life in the cold. In winter, they grow a secondary coat as protection from freezing temperatures. Long nasal passages warm frigid air before it reaches the lungs.
Because Takin live in remote areas, not much is known about their wild populations. But habitat loss, hunting, and human disturbance have caused Takin to be listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
More than 28 years of planning and preparation have paid off for the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens! The zoo’s first-ever Okapi calf, born on August 26, made his public debut in November.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Zoo
The zoo received its very first Okapi in 2005 after trying to obtain one for more than 20 years. Jamal, then 10 years old, came to the zoo from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. The zoo’s goal of obtaining a breeding pair was achieved in 2010 when a female, Baraka, arrived from Denver Zoo.
With black-and-white stripes, Okapis may look like zebras, but they are actually the closest living relatives of giraffes. Often called the “forest giraffe,” this shy, secretive Central African species has a lustrous, velvety coat, a 14-18-inch-long prehensile tongue. Adults stand over six feet tall and weigh 400-700 pounds.
“This long-awaited birth is particularly special because it's the first Okapi we've ever had born here at the zoo,” said John Lewis, Los Angeles Zoo Director. “Being able to have a species like this breed in our zoo is a real testament to the hard work of the staff and their dedication to Okapi conservation.”
The Los Angeles Zoo works with The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP), a conservation group initiated in 1987 with the objective of eliciting support for the conservation of the wild Okapi from individuals, foundations, and zoological institutions managing Okapi around the world. The Okapi is an important flagship species for a rain forest habitat that is rapidly vanishing. Over the last decade, the wild Okapi population has dropped from 40,000 to 10,000, and there are currently only 85 Okapi in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos.
The Los Angeles Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby Chimpanzee -- their first since 1999. The new addition was welcomed to the chimp family of 15 (one of the largest troops in the nation) on March 6. Her mother, Gracie, has proven to be a wonderful and caring mother. She even allows other females to carry and help care for the baby. As of May 18, Gracie and her little one can be seen by visitors.
With such a large chimpanzee family, the LA Zoo's primate staff is held in high regard for it’s care of chimpanzees, acting as a model for the Species Survival Plan for other zoos. Chimpanzees are currently on the endangered species list. Wild populations in the African forest have decreased because of foresting, hunting, commercial exportation, and collection for scientific research. Although chimpanzees are protected in 34 national parks and reserves, laws can be difficult to enforce in remote regions.
The Sumatran Tiger cubs are ready to show their stripes to visitors of the Los Angeles Zoo. On Friday, December 9, 2011 the Zoo welcomes the adorable pair on-exhibit as they join their mother for their official public debut. Guests of the Zoo can finally visit the cubs and see first hand how energetic and playful they are. The cubs and their mother will transition off-exhibit various times throughout the day, allowing outdoor time for the Zoo’s male Sumatran Tiger.
Photo credits: Tad Motoyama
The L.A. Zoo welcomed the birth of the Sumatran tiger cubs on August 6, 2011. Since then, they’ve remained off-exhibit under the care of their mother and Zoo Keepers. While off-exhibit, Zoo fans have followed the cubs’ growth and development on their dedicated web page. This is the third litter of Sumatran tiger cubs born at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Los Angeles Zoo's little Bornean Orangutan baby is the star attraction these days. She's the second baby for mom Kalim, who is one of four adult females in their Red Ape Rainforest. Father to the new arrival is Minyak, one of two Orangutan males at the Zoo.
Orangutans are native to the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In the Malay language orang means person and utan means forest. Decked out in long, shaggy, orange-red hair, orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling mammals. Bornean orangutans are endangered and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered. In the last 60 years, it’s estimated that there has been more than a 50 percent decline in the orangutan population. This decline is primarily attributed to habitat loss.