Monarto Safari Park in Australia has some pawsome news! Five African lion cubs have been born to African Lioness Husani. 🦁🦁🦁🦁🦁
The cubs arrived late on Monday night into Tuesday morning with Husani inside the birthing den at Monarto Safari Park.
A 'den cam' captured the moment of each arrival with the firstborn getting a ride on mum's tail!
It will be a while before the cubs are out and about in exhibit as for now they are left to bond with mum and fill their tums with milk. 🍼
Keeping staff, everyone at Zoos SA and YOU will be over the moon - Husani and her fab five will, in the not too distant future, enjoy roaming in hectares of plains – safe and sound with the rest of the pride. However, lions in their native Africa face a very different future with their population decreasing due to indiscriminate killing, habitat loss, and trophy hunting.
It is therefore imperative that breeding programs like the one at Monarto Safari Park exist – they are pivotal to securing the future of this beautiful species.
Two adorable faces have joined Monarto Zoo’s Spotted Hyena clan. Twins were born on September 13 to first-time parents Thandi and Piltengi.
Carnivore Keeper, Rachel Robbins, said the little cubs were thriving under the careful watch of doting first-time mum Thandi.
“Thandi is doing incredibly well as a first-time mum,” Rachel said. “Due to their unique reproductive anatomy, first-time Hyena mums have a very high chance of something going wrong during birth, and a high percentage of first-time mothers in the wild die, so it’s incredible to see Thandi successfully rearing two cubs.”
Rachel continued, “It’s also really exciting to see Piltengi father his first cubs, as he has wild parentage which provides incredibly valuable genetics for the region.”
Photo Credits: Adrian Mann
The cubs are currently spending most of their time in a private habitat with their parents and grandma, Kigali. Keepers expect they will be ready for their big public debut in a few months, once they become more confident.
“The cubs are still quite shy, sticking close to mum and their den, but every day they grow a little more confident,” Rachel Robbins said. “For now, the best time to catch a glimpse of the youngsters is during our ‘Lions at Bedtime’ tour.”
As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, Monarto Zoo is proud to have bred a total of ten Spotted Hyena. The newest little cubs will act as ambassadors for their species, educating Australians about the plight of their wild cousins.
The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), also known as the Laughing Hyena, is a species currently classed as the sole member of the genus Crocuta. It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Spotted Hyena has a widespread range and large numbers, estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals, however, the species is experiencing declines outside of protected areas due to habitat loss and poaching.
Hyenas can sometimes be a misunderstood species, but, in fact, they are excellent hunters with a success rate of up to 95 per cent, are extremely intelligent and have wonderful characters.
Research has proven Hyenas to be excellent problem solvers, sometimes even out-performing great apes in problem solving tests.
Five fluffy Cheetah cubs made their public debut this week at Australia’s Monarto Zoo.
Born in March to mother Kesho, the cubs immediately began exploring their new environment after bonding with Kesho in a private den for about three months.
One of the cubs is a male, and the other four are females. They each weigh about 15 pounds and are described as “very adventurous.”
Photo Credit: Adrian Mann (1); Monarto Zoo (2)
The prospect of adding four potential breeding females to the Cheetah population is thrilling for the Monarto Zoo staff. Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Only about 6,700 Cheetahs remain in the wild, primarily in eastern and southwestern Africa, half of what it was 35 years ago. As their habitats are fragmented into smaller pieces by the expansion of farms, grazing lands, and cities, the Cats have less space to roam and less prey to eat. Cheetahs are also killed by ranchers who fear that the cats are killing their livestock.
Breeding programs, like those at Monarto Zoo and other zoos around the world, offer hope for the future. Animals are carefully matched based on their “pedigree” or genetic background, with the goal of maintaining a high level of genetic diversity in Cheetahs under human care.
Five incredibly cute and feisty felines have joined the Monarto Zoo family, with the birth of a healthy litter of Cheetah cubs to first-time mum Kesho. Born on March 24, the cubs are an exciting addition to the zoo family as they are the first litter to be born at Monarto Zoo since 2012.
Carnivore keeper Michelle Lloyd said four-year-old Kesho was a doting mum and the cubs were doing very well under her attentive care. “Everyone’s thrilled to welcome the new arrivals to our Cheetah coalition; it’s really exciting to see Kesho as a first-time mum,” Michelle said.
“She is doing a fantastic job caring for her young and tending to their every need. For the time being, we’re giving the family complete privacy and monitoring the cubs’ development via a security camera in the den.”
The litter is an important addition to the regional Cheetah population and the Zoo’s work as a conservation charity, with the cubs having the power to educate Australians about the plight of Cheetah in the wild.
Photo Credits: Monarto Zoo (Image 3: Mum Kesho in foreground / Image 4: Dad Innis)
The world’s fastest animal, the Cheetah is also Africa’s most endangered big cat with just 6,700 estimated to be remaining in the wild of eastern and southwestern Africa.
“It’s devastating to think that in the last 35 years, we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population,” Michelle said. “The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation. This decline makes breeding programs like ours incredibly important to secure the future of this species.”
The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae that occurs mainly in eastern and southern Africa and a few parts of Iran.
Uniquely adapted for speed, the Cheetah is capable of reaching speeds greater than 100kph in just over three seconds, and at top speed their stride is seven meters long.
The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Cheetah has suffered a substantial decline in its historic range due to rampant hunting in the 20th century.
The cubs, which have not yet been sexed, will live with mum in a den in an off-limits area of the Zoo until they’re old enough for their public debut in the not too distant future.
Mum, Kesho, was born in the last litter welcomed to Monarto Zoo in 2012. Dad, Innis, arrived at Monarto Zoo last year from National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra and is on a breeding loan.
Monarto Zoo recently announced that it has one male and two female lion cubs, whose sex was confirmed during the cubs’ first vet check on the morning of June 5th. It was the first time Monarto Zoo staff had the opportunity to directly interact with the cubs, which were born on April 24th, to review their physical health, administer their first vaccines and determine their sex. The cubs have spent the majority of their time tucked away inside a den being cared for by their mum Tiombe with zookeepers initially keeping their distance to give the new family complete privacy during the important bonding period.
Acting Team Leader of Carnivores, Claire Geister, said the male and two female cubs have grown leaps and bounds thanks to Tiombe’s excellent care. “We’re thrilled to have three happy, healthy little cubs! All were given a clean bill of health and have the cutest little milk bellies,” Geister said. “The health checks went smoothly with both cubs and mum relaxed through the entire process. All three cubs were given a feline vaccine, the same as your domestic cat receives, a worming tablet, a micro-chip and were weighed, producing an average weight of seven kilograms."
Photo Credits: David Mattner / Monarto Zoo
“This is a
really exciting time, we haven’t had such a large litter of cubs since the
breeding program began in 2007. To see them prosper is a real coup for the zoo
and the preservation of this beautiful species.”
The cubs are
growing bigger and livelier by the day and are starting to venture outside the
den on a regular basis. “The cubs are spending a lot more time outside of the
den exploring their environment and practicing their pouncing moves. While they
may not be old enough to get their rough and tumble on, they seem to be having
a ball!” Geister said.
adventure for the little ones is to get them properly acquainted with their
aunties and the other females in the pride. The re-introductions between mum
and the other lionesses have been positive so far, as new mums would naturally
return to the pride when their cubs are around six weeks of age.”
Seven-month-old Chimpanzee Zuri, born
at Australia’s Monarto Zoo
on August 21, is growing up healthy and developing her personality. And on a recent morning, she practiced making
funny faces for the camera!
Facial expressions are an important method
of communication within Chimpanzee troops, and Zuri appears to be preparing for
her role within the troop. For example, “grinning”
Chimpanzees are actually expressing fear.
Bared teeth, pursed lips, kisses, and other gestures express aggression,
submission, and affection.
Photo credits: Dave Mattner for
Zuri was born to first-time mother
Zombi and her baby pictures were shared on ZooBorns here.
Infant Chimpanzees spend the first several
months of life clinging to mom, then begin to cautiously explore their
surroundings. The birth of a baby is a
significant event within the life of a Chimpanzee troop, enriching the lives of
all members. Though Zombi will care for
Zuri for about five years, other females within the troop will gain mothering
experience by helping care for the little one.
Wild Chimpanzee populations in
equatorial Africa have declined by about 90% in the last two decades due to
large-scale habitat loss and poaching for bushmeat and the pet trade. Zoo births are important to the future of the
species because they preserve the genetic diversity of the captive population.
Monarto Zoo's Spotted Hyena Mom Kigali and her daughter Forest both gave birth recently to healthy cubs. They are the only female Spotted Hyena in Australia. Kigali is the dominant female of the clan. Her cub, named Pinduli, was born back on June 12, shortly after 2:00 a.m.. She had him in a den on exhibit which meant no one had the opportunity to see him for around four months. Keepers monitored Mom and baby via cameras set up in the den prior to the birth. Thanks to that, you can watch Kigali giving birth on a video below his pictures.
Keepers chose the name Pinduli as it means 'brings a change of direction'. This was fitting as he was the first cub to be born on exhibit with the clan. While keepers suspected Pinduli was male they had to wait until his six-month health check to confirm it, via a DNA sample. Pinduli has just made his public debut!
Photo Credit: Pinduli photos by David Mattner for Monarto Zoo
The second cub came into the world by the first ever Hyena caesarean performed in Australia on Kingali's daughter Forest. Hyena births are particularly complex, with first-time moms such as Forest having only a 20% chance of a successful outcome due to a quirk in their anatomy. Veterinarian Dr Jerome Kalvas said that with this in mind, when they saw no progress being made three hours into Forest's labor, it was clearly time to intervene.
“While the anesthetic and surgery went smoothly the cub was initially not breathing after delivery. We administered a respiratory stimulant and our veterinary nurses vigorously rubbed the cub until a small squeal and a strengthening heartbeat told us we were out of the woods,” Dr Kalvas said. “Then when the cub gave one of the vet nurses a little nip - Spotted Hyena cubs are born with a full set of teeth and open their eyes shortly after birth – we knew things were looking good!"
Photo Credit: Forest and baby by Claire Geister
See more pictures of both cubs and learn the rest of the story below the fold:
On October 8, Monarto Zoo's Cheetah Nakula gave birth to five cubs - two males and three females, all healthy. The babies were allowed to bond with mom in the den, where they could only be seen via a closed circuit TV camera. Nakula proved to be a very good mother; the cubs developed well and grew big enough to venture outdoors - though it was still in an area that was off-limits to visitors (as seen on the video below).
On January 15, when the cubs were about 14 weeks old, they spent their first day in the zoo's habitat, where guests could finally enjoy seeing the spectacle of Nakula and her five furry cubs running in the high grasses. Carnivore Keeper, Michelle Lloyd said, "It's been nine years since we last had a Cheetah litter at Monarto and, amazingly, Nakula was one of the cubs born in the last litter all those years ago. It's a lot of fun to watch the cubs running around on exhibit; they're very energetic and definitely love the space. Nakula has a big job keeping up with them all but she's doing great."
Monarto Zoo Curator Beth Pohl said the litter is an important addition to the regional population, with the cubs serving to educate Australians about the plight of the Cheetah in the wild. “In the last 35 years we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population," Beth added. "Currently there’s approximately 12,000 Cheetah left -- however, in the mid 1970's, the population was estimated to be almost double that." The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation.
Photo Credit: David Mattner for Monarto Zoo
Watch the cubs play with each other and their rather patient mother below.
Read more about the unusual circumstances of these cubs birth, and see more pictures and video, after the fold:
Just last week, Monarto Zoo introduced its 4-month-old Cheetah cub to the public for the first time. Until that time, the cub remained off exhibit in quarantine. In order to ensure a successful debut, keepers implemented a rigorous training plan. Team Leader of Carnivores, Anna Bennett, said, “this included introducing her to an outdoor exhibit, training her to happily travel in a pet pack, organizing visits by large groups of people as well as visits to other areas of the zoo and listening to the radio daily to get her used a variety of different sounds. She took all these activities in her stride, looking intently at everything and purring happily.”
Photo credit: David Mattner for Monarto Zoo
According to Monarto Zoo Curator, Beth Pohl, the little cub is as an ambassador for its species educating Australians on the plight of Cheetah in the wild. “In the last 35 years we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population. Currently there are approximately 7,500 Cheetah left in the wild whereas in the mid 1970s the population was estimated to be around 15,000,” Pohl said. “The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation.”
Australia's Monarto Zoo welcomed the first Chimpanzee baby to be born at the zoo in its 29-year history. The yet to be named and sexed baby was born in the early hours of Tuesday, August 21, to first-time mother Zombi.
Acting Senior Keeper of Primates, Laura Hanley, said, “It’s extremely enriching for great apes to have infants and it adds to the social wellbeing of the group to have a range of ages amongst the troop. Having an infant in the group also allows Monarto’s other females to learn vital mothering skills.”
The baby will cling tightly to Zombi for the first three to four months of its life, spending its time feeding and sleeping. As the little one starts to gain strength and confidence it will begin to explore its environment with Zombi taking care of it exclusively for the first five years of its life.
Zoos South Australia Head of Life Sciences, Peter Clark, said the birth is not only a wonderful achievement for Monarto Zoo; it’s also an important birth for the regional Chimpanzee breeding program. “This birth represents a first for the region and provides a completely unique set of genetics to the Australasian breeding program,” Peter said.
Females Chimpanzees only give birth every five to six years after an eight and a half month gestation period. Chimpanzees are found in moist and dry forests and savannah woodlands in Equatorial Africa; It’s estimated that wild populations of the endangered Chimpanzee have decreased by approximately 90% in the past 20 years due to habitat destruction and degradation, poaching for the bush meat trade and the pet trade.
Monarto Zoo is the largest open-range zoo in the world, developed over 1,000 hectares of fauna and flora and the only zoological park to be completely power neutral.