Maryland Zoo

Maisie The Baby Chimp, Outdoors For The First Time With Maryland Zoo Chimp Troop

Last Wednesday, August 4, Maisie, the 11-month-old chimp, went for the first time to explore the outdoor chimp habitat with Bunny, Lola (mother/daughter), Raven and Violet (also mother/daughter), and it went quite well! Bunny, with Lola on her back, did partially bring Maisie out clinging to her belly, which is the first time we observed this particular behavior.  

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Maisie, as expected, was a bit nervous at first, but ended up doing lots of exploring and was seen climbing on both the top and bottom platforms.  She was observed playing with Lola and Violet on a back corner hammock as well.

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The Chimpanzee Forest animal care team also noticed that Lola was very vigilant. Maisie ventured into the thick bamboo and got a bit nervous, perhaps disoriented.  Both Lola and Violet quickly responded and helped Maisie find her way out.

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Maisie's mother would not care for her and she was brought to The Maryland Zoo in September of 2020 to be hand-reared before being integrated into the Maryland Zoo chimpanzee troop. Maisie will turn 1 on August 28, 2021.

Lola and Violet were both born at The Maryland Zoo. Lola recently turned 2 and Violet is 19-month-old.


Maisie the Baby Chimp Meets her New Troopmates!

Remember Maisie the adorable baby Chimpanzee at Maryland Zoo in Baltimore?

In September of last year, Maryland Zoo welcomed this baby chimpanzee from the Oklahoma City Zoo after her mother failed to properly care for her.

ZooBorns last checked in with Maisie in early January.

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Zoo Staff were working tirelessly towards introducing the now six-month-old Chimpanzee to the rest of the troop.

Introductions haven’t always gone as planned, but dedicated keepers and staff have succeeded in introducing Maisie (little by little) to members of the group (including youngsters Lola and Violet).

Continue reading "Maisie the Baby Chimp Meets her New Troopmates!" »


Maryland Zoo Welcomes New Addition To Sitatunga Herd

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a female sitatunga calf to its growing herd on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

“We are very happy to welcome June, born to Cricket earlier this month. This little one did not appear to nurse as quickly as we hoped, but with some encouragement she did finally get the hang of it.  So, we are very pleased that she is thriving under the care of her mother, who was born here in 2013,” stated Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “This is Cricket’s second offspring and as a proven mother she is showing great maternal instincts.”

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The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in swamps, marshes and flood plains. Outside of protected areas, sitatunga are vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss, as people drain and develop swamp land. Currently, sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered.

The Maryland Zoo’s sitatunga herd is made up of 10 animals, including the new calf, and can be found in two habitats along the boardwalk in the African Journey section of the Zoo.

“For now Cricket and June will stay behind-the-scenes together," said Grimm. “As the weather warms up we will make a determination about when they can make their public debut outside in the Sitatunga Yard with the rest of the herd.” 

The calf’s birth was the result of a recommendation from the Sitatunga Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring health of the individual animal, as well as the long-term survival of the species population to help save animals from extinction.


Share the Care of a Baby Chimpanzee

In September, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed baby chimpanzee Maisie from the Oklahoma City Zoo after her mother failed to properly care for her. Although they did not hesitate to bring her to The Maryland Zoo, this incredible opportunity is not without its own set of challenges. Caring for an infant chimp comes with significant expenses, including the costs of diapers, formula, and enrichment. Adding to that, Maisie requires 24-hour care, resulting in additional staff expenses. 

To help offset some of these costs, Maryland Zoo’s Giving Tuesday (Giving ZooDay!) fundraiser is a baby shower for Maisie for those that would like to help "share the care."  The fundraising goal is $50,000. Just today they have unlocked a $10,000 matching gift from a very generous anonymous Zoo supporter and are now over halfway to their goal!

The web address for donations is Marylandzoo.org/babyshower   


It's Decided!

BALTIMORE, MD – Thanks to thousands of avid chimpanzee fans, The Maryland Zoo’s newest addition to the chimpanzee troop has been officially named “Maisie” (May-zee).

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By the time voting closed at midnight on Thursday, Maisie was the winner in a tight race, with over 9,500 votes cast!  Runners-up were Asha, Olivia, Nyota and Tulia. The names in the contest were selected by the Chimpanzee Forest animal care team members, who are caring for the littlest chimp around the clock.  

“We’re so happy she officially has a name,” said Pam Carter, Chimpanzee Forest area manager. “Animal care staff use individual names, especially during training sessions. The chimpanzees all recognize their own names as well as each other’s and being able to call her Maisie will help us make the important introductions to the troop when she is ready.”

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to the wild chimpanzees is loss of habitat, the African forest, from commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.

“Another reason we give recognizable names to animals in our care is that it helps create a unique bond between the animal and our visitors,” said Margaret Rose-Innes, assistant general curator. “We hope that if they learn to care for the individual, they will also care about what we are doing to save that species, which is so important not just for our future generations, but also for the future of Maisie’s wild cousins.”

Maisie arrived at the Zoo in late September and is being cared for by the Chimp Forest Animal Care team who work in three shifts around the clock to provide her constant care. “Maisie drinks baby formula every three hours, sleeps, and has some playtime every day to help strengthen her muscles,” continued Carter. “We also wear a shirt and blanket that have fringe material sewn on that helps her learn to grip.” Maisie can now rollover by herself and she can also pull herself up into a sitting position.


IT’S A BOY! MARYLAND ZOO WELCOMES NEW ADDITION TO KUDU HERD

 

BALTIMORE, MD -- The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming a male lesser kudu calf, born on Monday, October 5, 2020 in the late afternoon.   The birth is the result of a recommendation from the Lesser Kudu Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the AZA population and the health of individual animals.

The calf, which has been named Kadett, was born to seven-year-old Meringue and sired by ten-year-old Ritter. He is the second offspring for Meringue.  “The calf was standing and nursing within an hour of being born, which is very good. He has long, spindly legs and huge ears right now; he’s very cute at the moment,” said Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Meringue is taking great care of him and we are pleased with his progress so far.”  Kadett stands about three-feet-tall and weighs in at about 14 pounds. “Right now he will remain in the barn bonding with Meringue for a couple of weeks. His first turn out into the habitat will be weather dependent, but we hope to have them outside before it gets too cold,” continued Grimm.

Lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis australis) are one of eight species of African spiral-horned antelope. Male lesser kudu horns can grow to be 72 inches long, with 2 ½ twists. In the wild they live in dry, densely thicketed scrub and woodlands of northern east Africa. Interestingly, they rarely drink water, apparently getting enough liquid from the plants that they eat.  The Maryland Zoo’s kudu herd is made up of four animals and can be found in the African Watering Hole habitat along with addra gazelle and saddle-billed storks.

 


Penguin chicks! First three to hatch this breeding season

 

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is excited to announce the hatching of three African penguin chicks – the first to hatch during the 2020-2021 breeding season at Penguin Coast. The chicks hatched on September 18th, September 22nd and October 4th.

“It’s amazing to me that we are in our 53rd year working with African penguins. We are always excited to watch the colony grow each year, and happy to announce that three chicks have hatched already this breeding season,” said Jen Kottyan, avian collection and conservation manager. “We expect to hatch 10 chicks during this breeding season, but of course that is all dependent on the penguins.” 

            Penguin breeding recommendations are made by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP).   Breeding season for the African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) at Penguin Coast began in mid-August this year and will last until the end of February. “Right now it is spring in South Africa, when these penguins would normally begin breeding in their colonies,” continued Kottyan. “Although it is fall here, we like to mimic the breeding season so we can monitor the chicks as they hatch and grow during our winter, and then they make their debut as juveniles when temperatures warm up in April.”

Penguin chicks hatch 38-42 days after the eggs are laid. The Penguin Coast team monitors development of the eggs by candling them about a week after they are laid to see if they are fertile and that the chick is growing. The eggs are then placed back with the parents.

 “With African penguins, both the male and the female take turns incubating the eggs,” said Kottyan. “Once the eggs hatch, parents take turns caring for their offspring; they each protect, feed, and keep the chick warm for 2-3 days and then switch off.”

            At Penguin Coast, chicks stay with their parents for about three weeks after they hatch and are fed regurgitated fish from their parents. During this time, the animal care team and veterinarians keep a close eye on the development of the chicks, weighing and measuring them every few days to make sure that the parents are properly caring for each chick.  When a chick is three-weeks-old, the team removes it from the nest, and starts to teach the chick that they are the source of food. This step is critical as it will allow staff to provide long term care for the birds including daily feeding, regular health exams and both routine and emergency medical care. 

            When they first hatch, chicks are about the size of a human palm.  Covered in dark gray downy feathers, the chicks grow fast. They reach their full size, about six pounds, around three months of age. At the same time, their fluffy down is finished being replaced by waterproof feathers.

            While the penguin chicks are not viewable to the public, juvenile and adult penguins can be seen

at Penguin Coast. Penguin Feeding programs are offered twice daily, free with admission, and Penguin Encounters are offered throughout the year for an additional fee.

            The Maryland Zoo has been a leader in breeding African penguins for over 50 years, winning the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award for the “African Penguin Long-term Propagation Program” from the AZA in 1996.  The Zoo has also won a Plume Award from the Avian Scientific Advisory Group (ASAG) recognizing excellence in husbandry and future management of a species or group of similar species. In 2016, Penguin Coast won Top Honors in the AZA Award for Exhibit Design category. Jen Kottyan is a member of the AZA African Penguin SSP Steering Committee, a group of penguin experts from all over North America, which guides and serves as a voting body for official SSP business and decisions that require more discussion.  The members of the Steering Committee are available to all accredited zoos and aquariums which house African penguins to assist them with questions or issues regarding the penguins in their colonies.

            The Maryland Zoo has the largest colony of African penguins in North America with 104 birds, including the newest hatchlings. Sadly, African penguins are extremely endangered. The 2019 penguin census showed another dramatic decline in South Africa, with approximately 13,500 pairs, a loss of 2,000 pairs from 2018. The global population, which includes Namibia, is now around 18,500 pairs, down from well over 2 million pairs in the 1920s, which is a 99.2% decline over the past 100 years.

The Maryland Zoo also participates in AZA’s Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. SAFE programs use the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to substantially improve the conservation status of species in the wild.  Several Maryland Zoo staff currently serve in leadership or advisory roles in the Penguin SAFE program. Mike McClure, General Curator is Project Coordinator for the SAFE Marine Movement project which monitors marine foraging and movement patterns of African penguins in and around breeding colonies in South Africa. Jess Phillips, Area Manager for Penguin Coast, is the Project Coordinator for the SAFE Disaster Relief program, which has helped governmental and non-governmental organizations in South Africa and Namibia formalize a disaster management plan for the individual penguin colonies in South Africa, as well as providing equipment and identifying training protocols needed to train first responders and volunteers in the event of a disaster such as an oil spill or severe weather which could harm the penguins.

For updates on the chicks in the coming weeks, please visit www.marylandzoo.org or our www.facebook.com/marylandzoo.


Female Calf Joins Sitatunga Herd at Maryland Zoo

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore recently welcomed a Sitatunga calf to its growing herd. The female calf was born on June 4 to first-time parents, Jess and Jabari.

“She is a healthy eight-pound calf,” stated Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “This is Jess’ first baby, and she is a very attentive mom. The calf is tiny, but she’s doing quite well.”

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The Sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in swamps, marshes and flood plains. Outside of protected areas, Sitatunga are vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss, as people drain and develop swampland. Currently, Sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered.

The Maryland Zoo’s Sitatunga herd is made up of 12 animals, including the new calf, and can be found in two exhibit spaces along the boardwalk in the African Journey section of the Zoo.

“Right now, Jess and her calf are bonding behind-the-scenes," said Cantwell. “Based on their health and the weather, we anticipate it will be a couple of weeks before they will be in the Sitatunga Yard making their public debut.”

The calf’s birth was the result of a recommendation from the Sitatunga Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring health of the individual animal, as well as the long-term survival of the species population to help save animals from extinction.