London Zoo

Baby Okapi Born on Camera!

 

Oni the okapi, who featured in the first episode of last week’s ITV documentary, London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year - has delighted zookeepers at the iconic zoo by giving birth to a healthy baby girl. 

The second-time mum, whose lockdown pregnancy took centre stage in Thursday’s episode, went into labour late on Sunday 20 September before giving birth to the adorable calf – given the name ‘Ede’ by zookeepers – the following morning.  

After spotting that Oni was in labour, dedicated keepers kept a watchful eye overnight on CCTV - rejoicing when tiny hooves and stripy legs began to emerge following a 12-hour vigil. The wide-eyed calf took its first wobbly steps minutes later and was tottering around confidently soon after. 

ZSL okapi keeper Gemma Metcalf said: “Like all okapis, Oni had a long pregnancy - close to 16 months - so we’ve been excitedly waiting for Ede for a long time.  

“As viewers saw last week, her lockdown pregnancy posed some logistical challenges for our team, but despite the Zoo being closed we remained by her side to make sure she had the highest standard of care throughout her third trimester - we’re delighted that both mother and baby are now doing so well.” 

Episode 1 of the acclaimed documentary saw zookeepers and vets come together over Microsoft Teams to plan and perform a vital ultrasound on Oni during lockdown, while ensuring everyone involved remained two metres apart – coincidentally the length of an okapi. 

“Oni has always been a star in our eyes, but while she’s currently shining on screen she’s also excelling off-screen - at being a brilliant mum. 

“Ede is already a feisty young calf and has been bouncing happily around the stables, but Oni is keeping her in their cosy indoor dens until she feels Ede is ready to explore their lush outdoor paddocks - we can’t wait for our visitors to see the newest addition to the zoo family.” 

Ede’s birth is exciting news for London’s zoo, but even more important for the global breeding programme for the species, which ensures a healthy population of okapi in zoos across the world. Okapi, found only in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are classified as Endangered by the IUCN, with their survival threatened by habitat loss and hunting. 

Episode 1 of London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year is available to watch on the ITV Hub now, with episode 2 scheduled for broadcast on Thursday 1 October.  

ZSL London Zoo reopened to the public on Monday 15 June after an unprecedented three months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown. The loss of income put the charity zoo under huge financial pressure as they continued to provide the highest level of care for their animals. Now open to limited numbers only, ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the Zoo, is calling on the public to help ensure they stay open by booking a ticket, joining as a member or donating to ZSL at www.zsl.org    


ZooBorns' Top 10 Newest, Cutest Baby Animals (Vol. 6)



 
Tell us which are your favorites in the comments!
 
10. African Elephant - Reid Park Zoo
9. African lion - Dallas Zoo
8. Manatee - ZOO Wrocław
7. Sumatran Tiger - Zoo Wroclaw
6. Klipspringer - Brevard Zoo
5. Canada Lynx - Queens Zoo
4. Two-toed sloth - ZSL London Zoo
3. North American Sea Otter - Alaska SeaLife Center
2. Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew - Zoo Leipzig
1. Orangutan - Budapest Zoo

Time for a ZooBorns Triple-Header!

 

Klipspringer at Brevard Zoo

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A klipspringer was born at Brevard Zoo on Sunday, August 23 to four-year-old mother Deborah. Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on the newborn, who appeared to be in good health and was determined to be a male.

The calf, who does not yet have a name and weighed roughly 1.5 pounds at birth, was sired by five-year-old Ajabu. The youngster will spend several weeks bonding with his mother behind the scenes before transitioning to public view.

Klipspringer typically give birth to one calf following a gestation period of six to seven months. These tiny antelope—which weigh between 18 and 40 pounds as adults—live in rocky areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where their sure-footedness helps them elude predators like leopards, caracals and eagles.

Although this species does not face any major threats, it is sometimes hunted by humans for its meat and hide.

Two-toed Sloth at ZSL London Zoo

Truffle and Marilyn (c) Sheila Smith 3

ZSL London Zoo has shared the first footage taken by keepers of its newest arrival - a baby two-toed sloth named Truffle, born to parents Marilyn and Leander at the iconic zoo last month. 

The cute clip was taken as Marilyn took her young cub to explore its lush new surroundings for the first time earlier this week - after spending their initial days together snuggled high in the leafy treetops of the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit.  

Eagle-eyed keepers first spotted the newborn on Thursday 13 August on their early morning rounds, when they were overjoyed to find the tiny baby clinging to slow-moving mum Marilyn, who had delivered the healthy youngster the night before – a few weeks earlier than expected.  

ZSL sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said: “We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, but thought she had a little longer to go as we’d not seen any of her usual tell-tale signs – such as heading to a cosy corner or off-show area for privacy. 

“But this is Marilyn and Leander’s fifth baby, so she had clearly taken it all in her stride, giving us a lovely surprise to wake up to.  

“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are physically well-developed when they’re born and able to eat solid food right away,” explained Marcel. “At three-weeks-old Marilyn’s little one is already very inquisitive, constantly using its nose to sniff around for snacks - which is why we gave it the name Truffle.” 

Lucky visitors to London’s famous zoo will now be able to see Truffle and Marilyn in the only living rainforest in the city - a lush, tropical paradise, heated to 28C all year round, which the family shares with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, emperor tamarin monkeys and red-footed tortoises.  

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until confirmed by vets after hair DNA is analysed. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.  

Nocturnal mammals native to South America, two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) may be famously slow but they are impressive climbers: clinging tightly to mum for up to six months will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily from branch to branch, while its characteristically impressive claws - which will grow up to four inches in length - will also help when the youngster is ready to move through the trees on its own. 

Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo

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Baby kangaroos (called joeys) are starting to emerge from their mother's pouches just in time for the Zoo's poupular Kangaroo Kickabout to reopen for guests tomorrow, September 4.
 
“We are so happy to be able to reopen the kangaroo habitat and offer this unique experience to our guests and members,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo’s Contact Area Supervisor. “Marsupials, including kangaroos, are so different than most other mammals. To be able to have our guests see and learn about them is why we are here.”
 
After just 30 days of gestation, red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) are born about the size of a jellybean. They crawl up through the mother’s fur from the birth canal into the pouch where they continue developing for six months before poking their heads out to see the world. Nashville Zoo currently has 10 joeys in various stages of development including a few that can be seen hopping around their habitat.
 
Red kangaroos are native to Australia and are the largest of their species. Males can grow to six feet or more and weigh nearly 200 pounds. Females are smaller, growing to about 5 feet and 100 pounds. Kangaroos are not endangered and their populations are considered stable though their wild population and habitat were severely damaged during widespread brush fires in late 2019 and early 2020. In January, Nashville Zoo committed $30,000 to support Australia’s efforts to rescue and protect wildlife affected by the wildfires. Additionally, the Zoo will donate all funds from the 2020 Round Up initiative, a program offering guests the option to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount to donate to conservation.

Endangered baby pangolin takes his first steps after rescue from poachers

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (6)

A rescued young Sunda pangolin takes his first tentative steps after being released back into the wild in Thailand, in a series of photographs snapped by staff from international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London). 

The Critically Endangered animal was being illegally kept in cramped conditions and constant darkness by a poacher, before being saved by ZSL staff and local park rangers.

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (5)

Nicknamed Kosin – inspired by the Thai name for the god Indra, celebrated as a friend to humanity - by his rescuers, the puppy-sized youngster, estimated to be under a year old, weighed just 1kg and measured 67-centimetres nose-to-tail.

Believed to have been snatched at night by poachers searching for pangolins to sell, experts think Kosin was kept alive as the meat and scales of live pangolins reach a higher price on the black market than those of dead animals.

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (4)

Following his rescue, Kosin was given a thorough health check and despite his ordeal found to be in good condition. After a short period of monitoring he was ready to be returned to the wild.

The team from ZSL transported him to a remote, safe place as far away from known poaching hotspots as possible and have been monitoring his release site ever since. They are pleased to report that no poachers have been seen there since his release, giving Kosin the best possible chance of survival.

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (8)

Dr Eileen Larney, ZSL Conservationist said: “It was an extraordinary moment to watch Kosin being released back into the wild and then take his first steps back to the wild, but sadly his story is rare. Our team was able to get to him in time, care for him and return him to the wild. Thanks to the support of our donors and our incredible team he has been given a precious second chance, something many thousands of his species do not get.

“A single pangolin is worth up to three months’ wages for rural villagers in Thailand and is considered as valuable as a lottery win.

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (7)

“However, to combat the illegal pangolin trade we must stop poaching at the source. It’s a complex puzzle which requires global collaboration to both reduce demand and increase protection. This story would have had a very different ending without the quick response of park rangers and ZSL’s conservation partners. Like all pangolins, Kosin faces an uncertain future but in moments like this we have hope.”

All eight species of pangolin are now threatened with extinction due to widespread poaching. Worldwide, pangolins are thought to be the most illegally trafficked mammal. A seizure of pangolin scales in April 2019 weighed 14 tonnes, representing about 36,000 individual animals. Estimates suggest more than 300 pangolins are poached from the wild every day.

ZSL baby pangolin (c) Yingboon Chongsomchai  ZSL (3)

ZSL is working in Thailand, Cameroon, Nepal, and the Philippines to protect pangolins and other Endangered species from illegal wildlife trade. The team collaborates with communities to raise awareness, find alternative sources of income and create protected habitats where pangolins can thrive.

Drawing on a hugely successful track record of empowering communities across Asia and Africa. – ZSL will continue to support communities in Nepal helping communities to plan and create environmentally sustainable ways to make a living and build the same opportunities for people in Kenya too – home to rhinos and elephants – through its UK Aid Match appeal - For People. For Wildlife.

The future of wildlife and people are intertwined, and long-term success depends on solutions that work for everyone. Through the UK Aid Match appeal ZSL is working alongside rural communities in Nepal and Kenya to set up sustainable ways to make a living, empowering them to feed their families, build independent futures and protect the wildlife they live alongside.


Baby Tamandua Rides On Big Brother's Back

Baby Paco on Poco's back at ZSL London Zoo's Rainforest Life (c) ZSL 06

Two babies in one year might be a handful for most mothers. But ZSL London Zoo’s Tamandua Ria has plenty of help with her latest offspring, because her firstborn Poco literally shares the load.

Since the new pup’s birth in October, proud big brother Poco, who was born in April, has been carrying his new sibling around their indoor rainforest home. In honor of the brotherly love shared by the siblings, keepers have named the new baby Paco.  

Paco on Poco's back  with mum Ria at ZSL London Zoo. 06.11.18
Paco on Poco's back  with mum Ria at ZSL London Zoo. 06.11.18Photo Credit: ZSL London Zoo

“Ria must have fallen pregnant just weeks after giving birth to Poco,” says ZSL keeper Steve Goodwin, who discovered Poco bonding with the new baby immediately after the birth.

“We suspected Ria was pregnant again, so we were keeping a close eye on her,” explains Goodwin. “When I peered into their nestbox that morning I saw the whole family nestled together, with the newborn already snuggling into the soft fur on Poco’s back – he’s clearly taken his big brother duties very seriously, as they’ve been inseparable ever since.”

The heartwarming relationship between the Tamandua twosome is one that keepers are closely monitoring, so that information about the unusual bond can be shared with other zoos around the world.

“Not a lot is known about Tamandua group dynamics in the wild, as the species are nocturnal and spend most of their lives high up in the tree canopy of their rainforest homes,” Goodwin says. “Tamanduas are usually seen as solitary animals, with the females carrying their offspring on their backs for the first three months of their life, so Poco’s close relationship with one-month-old Paco is definitely something we can all learn from.”

While Ria has had a little help with her newborn, she remains a devoted mother to both of her youngsters. “If Paco ever begins to cry on Poco’s back, she doesn’t just take the little one off him to soothe them: she carries them both until he settles down, which means Paco is on Poco, who is on mum. The tower of Tamanduas is quite a sight!” says Goodwin.

Part of the Anteater family, Tamanduas are native to South America and are impressive climbers. They collect ants and termites using their long, sticky tongue.

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until it is examined by the veterinarian, and this won’t happen until Paco is about six months old. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding program for Tamanduas.

See more photos of Paco and Poco below.

Continue reading "Baby Tamandua Rides On Big Brother's Back" »


'Preemie' Penguin Saved by London Zoo Keepers

1_Rainbow the penguin chick at ZSL London Zoo (c) ZSL (6)

Keepers at ZSL London Zoo’s were checking the nest boxes at their Penguin Beach exhibit. Unfortunately, they found one of this season’s eggs had been accidentally broken by its parents, but they were astonished to find the tiny chick still alive inside!

2_Rainbow the penguin chick at ZSL London Zoo (c) ZSL (2)

3_Rainbow the penguin chick at ZSL London Zoo (c) ZSL (1)

4_Rainbow the penguin chick at ZSL London Zoo (c) ZSL (8)Photo Credits: Zoological Society of London

Quick-thinking keepers knew the delicate Humboldt Penguin chick (nicknamed Rainbow) wouldn’t survive without help, so they rushed her to the Zoo’s onsite vet clinic, where the heroic vet team sprang into action.

ZSL penguin keeper, Suzi Hyde, explained, “The chick had a little way to go before she should have hatched, so it was very much touch and go – but we knew we had to get her safely out of the shell and into an incubator to give her a fighting chance.”

ZSL vets carefully set about removing bits of shell from around the tiny chick with tweezers until she could be gently lifted out and laid in a makeshift nest - before being transferred to the custom-built incubation room in the colony’s home on Penguin Beach.

“We were overjoyed when she started begging for food by opening her mouth wide and making tiny squawks. It was the first sign that she might just make it.”

Rainbow spent the next few weeks cozying up to a cuddly toy penguin under the warming glow of a heat lamp and being hand-fed three times a day with a special diet of blended fish, vitamins and minerals – referred to by ZSL London Zoo’s bird keepers as ‘penguin milkshake’.

“Rainbow’s bodyweight has steadily increased by around 20 per cent every day, so she’s growing extremely quickly,” said Suzi. “She’s always eager for her next meal and makes sure we know it’s feeding time – she may be only weeks old but she’s definitely perfected her squawk already.”

“Penguins do accidentally step on their eggs, which – even if the chick survives – invariably leads to them rejecting the infant. Luckily a combination of heroic keepers and a very plucky chick meant that Rainbow will be splashing around in Penguin Beach with the rest of the colony this summer.”

Continue reading "'Preemie' Penguin Saved by London Zoo Keepers" »


Just Tobi and Ria…and Baby Makes Three!

1_Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 3

‘Tobi the Tamandua’ took-up residence at ZSL London Zoo, last October, as a potential companion for female, Ria. Zookeepers hoped to someday hear the pitter patter of tiny Tamandua toes. So, the Zoo was overjoyed when just five months later they spotted a tiny baby clinging to Ria’s back. When keepers did the math, they discovered that Ria must have fallen pregnant the same week of meeting her new mate, making newcomer Tobi a very fast mover!

ZSL keeper, Steve Goodwin, said, “Ria went into her nest box that morning, which isn’t unusual, as Tamanduas are nocturnal animals and often nap during the day. But at around 5pm, as the sun began to set, she amazed us all when she came outside for her evening explorations with a tiny newborn holding onto her fur.”

“We were confidant Ria was pregnant, as she’d just started to put on some weight, but we weren’t expecting to welcome a new member of the family quite so soon. They must have got together pretty much on their very first date – Tobi clearly pulled out all the stops!”

2_Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 4

3_Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 1

4_Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 2Photo Credits: ZSL (Zoological Society of London)

The new baby, nicknamed ‘Poco’ by keepers, has remained close to Ria since the Easter Monday birth. Mum is sometimes seen tucking the youngster safely away in a hollow log.

Now, the two-month-old has started to tentatively venture away from mum to explore its “Rainforest Life” home, which the Zoo’s Tamanduas share with Two-toed Sloths (Marilyn, Leander and baby Lento), Emperor Tamarins, Red Titi Monkeys and Fruit Bats.

Steve added, “We set up a camera to keep a close eye on the pair, as they’re most active at night: we’ve been delighted to see the youngster peeking its head out of the tree stump at after dark, and now Ria is confident enough to carry her around the exhibit visitors will be able to spot the pair - especially at our Zoo Nights events this summer.”

The little one has also been spotted practicing sticking out its long tongue, which will grow up to 40cm in length and is used to extract tasty insects from inside branches and holes.

The Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is a nocturnal mammal. It is part of the anteater family and native to South America. They are also impressive climbers - holding on to mum enables the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the treetop branches of London’s only living rainforest.

Juvenile Tamanduas spend the first three months clinging to their mother’s backs, sliding down to feed before pulling themselves back up to nestle into mum’s fur. They have fantastic camouflage as their distinguishable matching patterns align to create one continuous stripe, allowing the young pup to avoid the eyes of predators.

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until it is scanned by vets, as the baby will remain close to mum until around six-months-old. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for Tamanduas.

The youngster’s public debut is just in time for the ZSL London’s Zoo Nights event. Every Friday, throughout June, visitors will be able to explore the Zoo after-hours, seeing its 19,000 animals in a completely different light.

See the Zoo come alive after dark at Zoo Nights. To book tickets or find out more, visit: www.zsl.org/ZSLZooNights

5_Tamandua baby night cam first image (c) ZSL London Zoo


Keepers Are ‘Slow’ to Spot New Sloth Baby

1_Marilyn and Lento - two-toed sloths (c) ZSL London Zoo (3)

After mum Marilyn’s nearly yearlong pregnancy, keepers at ZSL London Zoo finally caught a glimpse of her new little one that was born on February 12. Keepers spotted the new Two-toed Sloth infant, being cradled by mum, as they made their morning rounds.

ZSL sloth keeper, Steve Goodwin, said, “We saw two big brown eyes peering out through mum’s fur, and on closer inspection, we were delighted to see a healthy-looking youngster tucked into her tummy.”

“Sloths have a long gestation period, so the infants are already physically well-developed when they’re born. Incredibly, this means they are able to eat solid food right away. However, juveniles tend to stay with their mother for around 12 months before leaving their side - they’re a very ‘clingy’ species in general; to trees and to their mum.”

2_Marilyn and Lento - two-toed sloths (c) ZSL London Zoo (1)

3_Marilyn and Lento - two-toed sloths (c) ZSL London Zoo (2)Photo Credits: ZSL London Zoo

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until vets scan it, as there aren’t many obvious external differences between males and females. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), which is part of a coordinated breeding programme for Two-toed Sloths.

In the meantime, keepers report that they are keeping a close eye on both Marilyn and her one-month-old baby, who they’ve nicknamed Lento, which means ‘slow’ in Spanish.

“Marilyn is doing an excellent job as a mum,” says Steve. “The baby is growing fast and is very inquisitive – we’ve spotted some brave attempts to clamber over mum’s head, using her as a climbing frame and grabbing at the trees!”

Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus didactylus) are nocturnal mammals that are native to South America. Although notoriously slow, they are impressive climbers. Holding on to its mum will enable ZSL London Zoo’s new infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the tree-top branches of its Rainforest Life home.

The new youngster was also born with the Two-toed Sloth’s characteristically impressive claws, which will grow up to four inches in length and also help when the youngster is ready to move from tree to tree on its own.

Guests can visit new mum, Marilyn, and the whole incredible sloth family at ZSL London Zoo’s Rainforest Life, while journeying through the Zoo’s brand new Superpowers Trail. Find out more at: www.zsl.org


Endangered Okapi Named ‘Meghan’ at ZSL London Zoo

2_Meghan okapi (c) ZSL London Zoo (2)

Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have named their new Okapi calf, “Meghan”, in honor of Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle.

The name is particularly fitting since Okapis were first brought to the world’s attention in 1901 by another Harry - ZSL fellow, Sir Harry Johnstone.

Zookeeper, Gemma Metcalf said, “A new birth is always cause for celebration, but Meghan’s important arrival is also a great opportunity to draw attention to the Okapi, which is an extremely endangered species.”

After a 14-month gestation, it was a relatively speedy birth for first-time mum, Oni. The youngster emerged in just over half an hour on December 9, 2017. It wasn’t long before keepers, who were watching on camera from the next room, saw the newborn rise up to take her first tentative steps towards mum for a feed.

Gemma continued, “We’re very pleased with how mother and baby are doing. Oni is being very attentive, making sure she regularly licks her clean and keeping a watchful eye over Meghan as she sleeps.”

1_Meghan okapi (c) ZSL London Zoo (3)

3_Meghan okapi (c) ZSL London Zoo (4)

4_Meghan okapi (c) ZSL London Zoo (6)Photo Credits: ZSL (Zoological Society of London)

An important addition to the Zoo family, Meghan is already a firm favorite among visitors. To find out more about Okapis and the 18,000 other incredible residents at ZSL London Zoo visit: www.zsl.org

The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), also known as the ‘forest giraffe’ or ‘zebra giraffe’, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the species bears striped markings similar to zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe.

They are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to a decline in populations.

5_Meghan okapi (c) ZSL London Zoo (1)


London Zoo Welcomes First Birth at New Exhibit

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Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo are celebrating the arrival of the first Hanuman Langur born at the Zoo’s Land of the Lions exhibit.

2_Hanuman langur birth (c) ZSL (4)

3_Hanuman langur birth (c) ZSL (1)

4_Hanuman langur birth (c) ZSL (3)Photo Credits: ZSL London Zoo

Born to first-time parents Saffron and Rex after a 200-day gestation, the tiny female Hanuman Langur was spotted by zookeepers early in the morning on July 23.

Zookeeper Agnes Kiss said, “The first Hanuman Langur to be born to this troop at ZSL London Zoo and the first new arrival at Land of the Lions, this tiny primate is an exciting symbol of the success of this project.”

“To mark the occasion we’ve called her, Kamala, which means ‘lotus flower’ in Gujarati – the sign of beauty, fertility and prosperity.”

“Everyone is very pleased with Kamala’s progress so far,” said Agnes. “At the moment she has a pale face and downy dark fur, but it won’t be long before her skin turns black and her coat thickens and turns a magnificent silver - just like her parents.”

“She’ll also grow into her large ears, which are perfect for picking up subtle noises over long distances; in the Gir National Park, Hanuman Langurs act as an early warning system for other wildlife – making loud ‘barks’ from high in the treetops to warn of a lion’s approach. In Land of the Lions, the troop can often be heard vocalizing in response to the lions’ roars, which Kamala will learn how to do from her parents.”

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