Milwaukee County Zoo

Zoo Marks Third Giraffe Calf in Three Years

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The Milwaukee County Zoo proudly announced details of a Reticulated Giraffe birth on July 13. The new youngster marks the third giraffe calf born at the Zoo in the last three years.

The male was born to mom, Ziggy, and dad, Bahatika (also known as Baha). This is Ziggy and Baha’s third calf together; Tafari was born in 2015, and Kazi was born in 2017. This newest calf has been named Desmond.

Giraffe Baby 07-2019-5203 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Zoo veterinarians completed Desmond’s first exam, and they recorded an initial weight of about 152 pounds and a height of approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall.

It was reported that the calf got his balance quickly after birth, seemed very strong, and was able to stand up within 55 minutes of birth. Ziggy was also said to be an attentive mother.

Ziggy is 9-years-old, and arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Bahatika is 14-years-old, and arrived at MCZ in 2006 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

The Zoo currently houses seven giraffes: adults Bahatika, Marlee, Ziggy, Rahna; youngsters Kazi and Maya; and the newborn.

Giraffes are the tallest land animals, and are typically between 14-19 feet tall and weigh between 1,750-2,800 pounds. Giraffes use their long necks to reach leaves and buds in trees that other herbivores can’t reach.

Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, two are considered endangered: the Reticulated and the Masai.

In the wild, the Reticulated Giraffe population has dropped by 80 percent in the last decade and the Masai Giraffe population has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last three decades. However, all giraffe populations are declining, with hunting and habitat loss as the major threats. Due to their current status, every giraffe birth is very important for the population.


Milwaukee County Zoo Welcomes Second Red Panda

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The Milwaukee County Zoo announced the birth of a female Red Panda cub.

The new cub, named Kiki, was born June 7 to mother, Dr. Erin Curry, and father, Dash. This is the pair’s second cub; she is part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps to maintain genetic diversity within Red Panda populations in AZA-accredited zoos. Dr. Erin is a very attentive mother, and Kiki is developing as expected.

Kiki weighed 160 grams two days after birth and, and at a little more than one month old, weighed approximately 906 grams. Her most recent reported weight was 1,192 grams at 46 days old.

3_Red Panda Baby 06-2019-4280 E (3 weeks)Photo Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Zookeepers comment that Kiki spends most of her time eating and sleeping, and that she’s “adorable.” She is currently developing off exhibit, but should be visible to guests at the Red Panda habitat sometime in September.

Blind for the first 21-to-31 days after birth, cubs are safely hidden in nests for the first 2 to 3 months. The Zoo’s new cub has relied on mom for milk, and will stay with her mother for about one year. Then, she’ll learn important life skills, such as hunting and climbing.

Dr. Erin and Dash had their first cub, Dr. Lily Parkinson, in June 2018. Dr. Lily was the first Red Panda cub born at the Zoo. She was transferred to the Nashville Zoo last spring as recommended by the Red Panda SSP.

Red Pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get adult coloration at around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage in their natural surroundings.

In the wild, they live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching, and trapping. Reliable population numbers are difficult to find due to their secretive nature, but it is estimated that only around 10,000 individuals exist in the wild. Because of this low number, every birth is very important.


New Bactrian Camel at Milwaukee County Zoo

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The Milwaukee County Zoo announced the birth of a male Bactrian Camel on June 7. The calf, named Jethro, was born to parents Addie-Jean (better known as A.J.) and Stan.

Mother, A.J., is 7-years-old, and father, Stan, is 6-years-old. This is A.J. and Stan’s second offspring. Their other son, George, was born in 2017.

Camel Baby 06-2019-4403 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Jethro weighed 85 pounds at birth, which is underweight for a newborn calf. Zookeepers also noticed that the he had trouble nursing due to his lower jaw being longer than his upper. Because of his low weight and inability to adequately feed on his own, zookeepers began providing supplemental bottle feedings for the calf.

However, at 5 weeks old, he was gaining weight and began to have the energy levels for a camel his age. Vets are continuing to carefully monitor the camel’s weight and overall health.

Bactrian Camels (Camelus bactrianus) can grow up to 7 feet tall and weigh up to 1,800 pounds. They have long, wooly coats that range in color from dark brown to beige. Bactrians also have manes and beards of long hair on their necks and throats. They can be distinguished from other species of camels by their two humps—Dromedary camels only have one.

Bactrian Camels are native to central Asia. They migrate with flocks through harsh conditions; including, sparse vegetation, limited water sources, and extreme temperatures. They have several adaptations that allow them to survive in these conditions. For one, their humps allow them to travel long distances without food or water. It is a common misconception that the humps store water; however, they actually store fat, which can be used as energy when nutrients aren’t available. Another adaptation is their two rows of long eyelashes that block their eyes from sand and dust.

They are herbivores and have extremely tough mouths that allow them to eat almost any type of vegetation, even those with thorns. In times of environmental stress, they will eat fish, carcasses, and rope, among others.

Wild Bactrian Camels are considered “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN. Their population is expected to decrease by 80 percent in the next three generations because of hunting and predation.


Meet Lily the Red Panda Cub

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The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a female Red Panda cub on June 6. The baby is the first Red Panda cub ever born at the zoo.

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Red Panda Baby 09-2018-6039 EPhoto Credit: Joel Miller/Milwaukee County Zoo

The video shows Dr. Lily's growth during the first few months of life. 

Since her birth, the cub has remained in a secluded nest box with her mother, Dr. Erin. The cub has been named Dr. Lily, in honor of the zoo’s veterinary resident, Dr. Lily Parkinson. It was Dr. Parkinson who first discovered the cub during an ultrasound on Lily’s mother.

Dr. Lily had her first weight check when she was just three days old. At that time, she weighed ¼ pound, or about as much as a banana. Now nearly four months old, Dr. Lily tips the scales at almost seven pounds.

Lily shares her June 6 birthday with her father, 6-year-old Dash.

Dr. Erin is already proving to be a great mother to her firstborn cub. Throughout Dr. Lily’s first year of life, Dr. Erin will teach her how to climb and gather food. So far, Dr. Lily has mainly relied on mom for milk, but is now nibbling on bamboo and tasting other foods.

In the wild, Red Pandas are found in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  due to deforestation, illegal hunting and expanding human settlement. Fewer than 2,500 adult Red Pandas remain in the wild. A high infant mortality rate, especially in the first 30 days of life, makes Lily’s successful birth and rearing important to the survival of this species.

See more photos of Dr.Lily below.

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Milwaukee County Zoo Celebrates Red Panda Birth

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The Milwaukee County Zoo recently announced the birth of their first Red Panda cub! The yet unnamed female was born June 6, and she now shares a birthday with her father, Dash.

The cub was born to first time mother, “Dr. Erin Curry” (also known as Dr. E.). Mom is 3-years-old and is originally from the Cincinnati Zoo. First time father, Dash, is 6-years-old and originally from the Granby Zoo in Quebec, Canada.

Because the youngster is still getting acclimated to her new surroundings, animal care staff is allowing her plenty of time to become comfortable and bond with mom before her introduction to visitors. It’s the Zoo’s hope she will make her public debut in the next few weeks.

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Red Panda Baby 08-2018-3438 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

In the wild, Red Pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching and trapping. With an estimated adult population of less than 2,500 and an approximate mortality rate of 86 percent, every Red Panda birth is very important.

Red Pandas are solitary animals, only interacting during mating season. Youngsters develop at a slow rate, spending the first year or more with mom. Blind for the first 21 to 31 days after birth, the cubs are hidden in nests by their mother for the first two to three months. Mothers then teach the cubs how to climb and hunt.

Red Pandas rely on bamboo for most of their diet, specifically the most tender, young shoots and leaves. But, they are only able to extract one-fourth of the nutrients from the bamboo. They can spend up to 13 hours a day searching for and eating bamboo. During the summer months, they supplement their diet with fruit and insects. Cubs stop nursing around 13 to 22 weeks old.

Adult Red Pandas weigh up to 14 pounds and are around 2 feet-long, but their tails add extra length of up to 18-inches! This new addition weighed 166 grams at 3 days old and could fit in the palms of her keeper’s hands! She is now about 2,538 grams (5 pounds) and keepers say it takes both hands to pick her up.

Red Pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get this adult coloration around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage. The fur covering their bodies also covers the pads on their feet. This helps Red Pandas keep the heat in their bodies during the cold winter months.

Zookeepers report that the new cub is doing very well, and first-time mother, Dr. E, is doing a great job raising her first cub. Details of her debut will be coming soon!


Newborn Baby Giraffe Stands Over Six Feet Tall

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The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce that a Reticulated Giraffe was born on May 15. 

The female calf arrived in the early evening to mom Marlee. This marks the second offspring for Marlee and the fourth for Bahatika, the father. 

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Giraffe Baby 05-2018-7047 E
Giraffe Baby 05-2018-7047 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

On May 16, veterinarians completed the calf’s first exam. The baby weighed 174 pounds and stood 6 feet, 1 inch tall.  Zookeepers and medical staff have been observing mother and baby closely.  Marlee appears very calm and attentive to the calf, who is nursing regularly.

The calf does not have a name yet.  Zookeepers who work with the newborn say they want to wait a while and learn more about her personality before choosing a name.

Six-year-old Marlee arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2013 from Zoo Miami.  Bahatika is 12 years old and arrived in 2006 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

The zoo currently houses six Giraffe: adults Bahatika, Marlee, Ziggy, and Rahna; youngster Kazi; and the newborn.

Reticulated Giraffes are one of nine species and subspecies of Giraffe found in Africa. While widespread geographically, their numbers have decreased dramatically in recent decades, with only about 100,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Habitat loss, fragmentation, illegal hunting, and expanding human settlement contribute to the decline. Giraffes as a species are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with their status uplisted from Least Concern just over a year ago.

 


Meet Milwaukee's Newest Penguin Chick

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Meet the new Gentoo Penguin at Milwaukee County Zoo! The chick hatched on December 18 to parents Oscar and Fiona.

The chick still has its soft, fluffy down feathers, which provide warmth but are not suited for swimming. Only when the chick molts into its waterproof plumage, usually around one or two months of age, will it begin learning to swim.

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Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Gentoo Penguin parents take turns feeding and caring for their chicks. Both Oscar and Fiona have reared chicks before. The gender of the new chick is not yet known, and will be determined by a blood test. It’s not possible to tell males from females by sight alone.

Penguin chicks at the zoo must learn to take fish from zoo keepers, and this training usually occurs after they have been weaned from their parents and begin to molt. It’s during the molt that the chick’s “baby fuzz” is replaced by sleek, waterproof feathers.

Once the chick has its shiny new feathers, it will be gradually introduced to the exhibit pool and to the other birds in the habitat.

Gentoo Penguins are native to Antarctica. They stand two to three feet tall as adults, making them the third-largest Penguin species, after Emperor and King Penguins. Gentoos live in colonies of several hundred birds along the Antarctic Coast and surrounding islands. These Penguins may dive as many as 500 times per day in search of fish, krill, and squid to eat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Gentoo Penguin as a “Species of Least Concern,” though some individual populations have declined rapidly in recent years.

 


New Camel Calf Has the ‘Luck-Of-The-Irish’

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Milwaukee County Zoo visitors got quite a surprise on March 5 when they witnessed Bactrian Camel, Sanchi, give birth to her calf on exhibit! The handsome camel calf was named Patrick in honor of the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday!

Sanchi has given birth to several calves before, and she is quite accustomed to motherhood. This is the first offspring for dad, Stan. Accordingly, zookeepers are keeping Stan separate from Patrick until they can better assess his anticipated behavior near the calf. Big sister, AJ, also isn’t quite sure what to make of this new addition to the group, and has been keeping her distance for now.

The new guy weighed-in at about 100 pounds at birth and was walking less than two hours later. Zoo staff report that Patrick is extremely confident with loads of personality and was quite a handful during his first veterinary medical exam! Keepers are currently working on desensitizing Patrick to their touch, so his hooves, ears and other areas can be more easily examined by veterinarians as he grows.

For enrichment and as an outlet for his boisterous energy, keepers have been providing Patrick with “jolly balls”, commonly used with horses, which he very much likes to kick at. He is currently nursing from mom but will soon begin exploring solid foods, such as: hay, pellet mix, carrots and apples.

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3_Camel Baby 03-2017-1415 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

The Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, two-humped, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uses the binomial name Camelus ferus for the wild Bactrian Camel and reserves Camelus bactrianus for the domesticated Bactrian Camel. (Their name comes from the ancient historical region of Bactria.)

There are currently three species of camels: the one-humped Dromedary, the domestic two-humped Bactrian Camel, and the wild Bactrian Camel. Wild Bactrian Camels are listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, primarily due to hunting and development associated with the mining industry in China and Mongolia.

Bactrian Camels are diurnal, sleeping in the open at night and foraging for food during the day. They are primarily herbivorous. They are able to eat plants that are dry, prickly, salty or bitter, and can ingest virtually any kind of vegetation.

Gestation lasts around 13 months, with most young being born from March through April. One or, occasionally, two calves are produced, and the female can give birth to a new calf every other year. Young Bactrian Camels are precocial, being able to stand and run shortly after birth, and are fairly large at an average birth weight of 36 kg (79 lb). They are nursed for about 1.5 years. The young calf will stay with its mother for three to five years, until it reaches sexual maturity, and often serves to help raise subsequent generations for those years.

The Milwaukee County Zoo hopes its Bactrian Camel herd can serve as ambassadors for the declining wild camel population.

Although the schedule may fluctuate, Patrick is usually on exhibit for several hours beginning at about 10 a.m. daily. He tends to be most active in the morning, so that is an ideal time for visitors to see him. The Zoo encourages visitors to stop by the outdoor Camel Yard and meet the new guy, Patrick!


Milwaukee’s Tiger Cubs Make Public Debut

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The Milwaukee County Zoo’s three Amur Tiger cubs made their public debut on December 2 in the Zoo’s Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country. The cubs, one male and two females, have been named: Kashtan, Eloise and Bernadette.

The cubs were born September 14 to mother, Amba, and father, Strannik. ZooBorns introduced the trio in an article from October: “Tiny Trio of Endangered Tigers Born in Milwaukee”.

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4_Tiger Cubs 11-2016-1727 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

While all three cubs are currently doing well, the male, Kashtan, was transferred to the Zoo’s Animal Health Center in October. Little Kashtan was not gaining weight steadily, and he had developed an abscess on one of his legs (possibly due to a lack of immunity). Vet staff cultured and flushed the abscess, and he was given a course of antibiotics. He returned to Big Cat Country on October 24.

When it becomes necessary to remove newborn Zoo animals from the family group, the mother may not always accept the animal when placed back into the group. Staff reports that Amba has consistently shown excellent maternal care with all of her offspring. But because Kashtan had an infection, and there can be many unknowns in reuniting him with mom after so much time passed, staff determined there were too many risks to putting them back together. Female Tigers also have the potential to injure offspring if reintroductions are attempted. The primary concern of the Zoo’s animal care staff is to avoid any risk of injury to the cub.

Kashtan is now being hand-raised by keepers; weaned from a bottle, and eating meat. He is regularly placed with his sisters, in one of the indoor exhibits, for socialization and exercise.

Zoo visitors can see Kashton, singularly, in one of the indoor exhibits in Big Cat Country. At times, zookeepers will be in the exhibit with Kashtan, offering him interaction, socialization and feedings, as part of the hand-raising process. The exhibit will also feature enrichment items (objects that allow him to show his natural behaviors), which are important for his neurocognitive and physical development.

As all three Tigers learn how to become adults, they need to interact with a variety of toys/enrichment items. Anyone interested in purchasing any of these items for the cubs can visit the Zoo’s Amazon Wish List: Tiger Cub Wish List

When the Tiger sisters, Eloise and Bernadette, are not on exhibit with Kashtan, they can be seen with mother, Amba, in the indoor Tiger Exhibit.

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Milwaukee County Zoo Announces Giraffe Birth

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The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce the September 16th birth of a male Reticulated Giraffe. The last giraffe birth at the Zoo was in 2003.

The newest calf was born to first-time mom, Ziggy, and first-time dad, Bahatika. On September 17th, veterinarians completed the calf’s first exam, and they recorded a weight of 157 pounds and a height of 5 feet 9 inches tall. Zookeepers have been monitoring mother and baby; Ziggy has been very attentive to the calf, which is nursing regularly.

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4_MilwaukeeGiraffePhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Five-year-old Ziggy arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo, in 2013, from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Dad Bahatika is 10 years old and arrived at the Zoo, in 2006, from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.

The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos. They are known to often walk around with birds on their backs. These birds are called tickbirds. The tickbirds eat bugs that live on the giraffe’s coat, and alert the animals to danger by chirping loudly.

A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth. The young are weaned at around one year of age.

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