Nashville 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.

Baby Boom at Nashville Zoo!

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Nashville Zoo Has has quite a summer! Learn all about the new babies arriving there over the last few months and weeks by watching the video below!

 

Caracal Kittens
Born May 10, 2020

Very close to midnight on May 10, 2020, (Mother’s Day) a caracal delivered kittens inside her nest box. They are the first caracals ever to be born at Nashville Zoo, and the animal care team was keeping a close eye on them and wishing their Mom a very special Mother’s Day.

Like human mothers, caracals need time to bond with their new offspring. No need for a “do not disturb” sign. The staff stays clear to give the new family their privacy but monitors them using a small camera placed in the nest box. An online link to the camera allows keepers and the veterinary team to watch from virtually anywhere.

The new mom and kittens did fine and remained together for 7 to 10 days. After that, the animal care team removed the cubs and continued to raise them in the Zoo’s nursery. The mother returned to an area away from the public view where she could relax with her mate and another caracal pair.

Raising the kittens by hand is a necessary and important step in socializing them to people. As they grow, the kittens will become ambassador animals for another zoo. The black tufts of their ears will capture the attention of onlookers who will wonder how a cat less than two feet at the shoulders can jump vertically up to 12 feet high. Guests will also learn that these cats developed this ability to catch birds as they fly by.

This species is important to conservation because they will help us interpret the woodland, savanna and acacia scrub habitats of Africa, the caracal’s native habitat. Guests will learn about the conservation challenges we must address on behalf of caracals. Challenges like habitat loss and trapping due to human conflict.

Cassowary Chick
Hatched June 5, 2020

On June 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed its first cassowary chick into the world. After 54 days of incubation and a few harrowing nights of severe weather, the female chick hatched and was cared for in the Zoo’s HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.

“The males are the ones that sit on the eggs and protect them from harm,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo’s Avian Area Supervisor. “He sat through several bad storms in April and May including the big storm that took down over 60 trees at the Zoo. Two of those were very close to the nest and he never moved!”

During times that the male moved away from the nest, keepers were able to monitor and actually see inside the two, large, pea-green eggs using a portable x-ray machine. Several weeks of observation passed with no development detected in either egg. The keepers made a decision to move the eggs to an incubator at the Veterinary Center giving the cassowary couple another chance to breed and lay viable eggs. Surprise! The veterinary team discovered that one of the eggs was fertile. The chick was born a few weeks later.

Neo weighed 418 grams (just shy of one pound) at birth. She will grow steadily for the next three years until she is fully mature at about five feet high and 130 pounds. Before then, Neo will be sent to another conservation organization to meet her mate.

Double-wattled or Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia and are not considered endangered though their habitat is threatened by commercial development and agriculture. Nashville Zoo helps to protect the cassowary by supporting Australian organizations that preserve this species’ native habitats. The Zoo also participates in the cassowary Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Kangaroo Joey
Appeared June, 2020

On June 30, Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of Kangaroo Joeys. Less than a month later, the zoo’s three oldest joeys (Proodence, Gertroode, and Roothie) were out of the pouch and began interacting with each other. The baby boom continues as there are even more Joeys on the way!


Nashville Zoo Hatches First Chilean Flamingo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the successful hatching of a Chilean Flamingo. The Flamingo egg came from Memphis Zoo on July 16 and had been kept in an incubator to develop until it hatched in the early morning hours of Monday, July 29. 

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48430629212_65f739d7a0_bPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

This is the first time Nashville Zoo has housed a Chilean Flamingo. It will be hand-reared by keeper and veterinary staff, so it can be a part of the Ambassador Animal program. The goal of the Ambassador Animal program is to encourage guests to learn more about animals and have up-close experiences through animal encounters, animal shows and outreach programs.

“We’re excited to welcome this Chilean Flamingo to Nashville Zoo and as an ambassador for its species,” said Jac Menish, Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry Curator. “Our goal is to eventually build a flock of ambassador Flamingos, which will help us educate the public about how threatened this species is in the wild and ways humans can help them survive.”

The sex of the chick will be determined within the next couple of weeks. Gender determination is based on the biological materials that remain in the egg post-hatch. Those materials are sent to a lab for genomic analysis and they provide the information on the gender. This process eliminates the need to draw blood samples to determine gender when the chick is older.

The Chilean Flamingo is considered Near Threatened by the International Union For Conservation of Nature. Populations are in decline due to energy production and mining, biological resource use, human intrusions and disturbance and natural system modifications.

Through the Zoo's Wild Works Global Conservation program an avian keeper traveled to Bolivia to help research and band three species of Flamingos, including St. James, Andean and Chilean. The keeper was able to work with the Flamingos directly and gain knowledge about what is impacting them in the wild.

Unlike the bright pink hue of the Caribbean Flamingo found in the parts of the United States, the Chilean Flamingo has a pale pink plumage with black and gray secondary feathers. These Flamingos are found in warm, tropical environments at high altitudes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. Because the waters and soils in their native habitats are alkaline, most of the surrounding areas are arid and barren of vegetation.




Nashville Zoo Announces Birth of Binturong Kits

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that one of their behind-the-scenes Palawan Binturongs gave birth to two kits. New mom, Lucy, welcomed one male and one female on May 13.

“The kits are doing fantastic,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “However, Lucy was not able to produce milk for her babies, so we will be hand-raising the kits in one of our Veterinary Center Neonatal Care rooms, which includes a public viewing window."

The kits weighed between 299-312 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to eight Binturongs. Nashville Zoo has welcomed a total of 10 kits since 2015. There are currently 14 Binturongs in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) care and 11 in facilities globally.

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3_46954425695_6ec37bf09d_bPhoto Credits: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn/Nashville Zoo

Four-year-old Lucy and the four-year-old father, Gru, are currently behind the scenes. For now, the new kits will stay at Nashville Zoo, with plans to eventually include them in ambassador animal programs at other zoos.

Nashville Zoo is the only zoo to have a breeding pair of Palawan Binturongs in its animal collection. In 2015, the Zoo welcomed the first two Palawan Binturongs born in the United States.

While five adult Binturongs at Nashville are currently not on exhibit, one of them, Wilbur, was hand raised by the Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry team and can be seen along the Zoo's trails as part of the Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Program.

The Palawan Binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of Binturong (also known as bearcat) only reaching around 40 pounds. While they aren’t considered endangered, the mammal is officially classified by the IUCN as “Vulnerable” due to destruction of habitat and the illegal pet trade.

Nashville Zoo contributes to the protection of this species by being a part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan® and providing species information to the Binturong Studbook.


Clouded Leopard Birth Includes Two Much-Needed Males

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that a Clouded Leopard named River gave birth to three cubs, two males and one female, on April 29. 

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan® in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The species is under threat in its native habitat.

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47798037611_c5de765218_kPhoto Credit: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn

“These three cubs are important because they will go on to pair with other Clouded Leopards and increase this species' captive population," said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “The two males are particularly important because there were no males born at AZA facilities last year, which means there were few, if any, cub pairings."

Clouded Leopards are paired with unrelated mates born at other zoos within the first year so the couple will grow up together. This process lowers aggression from the males and increases the chance of successful mating and birth in the future.

After the care team noticed that three-year-old River appeared to be neglecting her cubs, the veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. Clouded Leopard cubs are often hand-reared in zoos because females often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers stress for future hands-on care and helps with introductions to mates in the future.

The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

The cubs weigh between 220-265 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to 13 Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1992 and has welcomed 38 cubs since 2009. There are currently 74 Clouded Leopards in the AZA facilities and 295 in accredited facilities globally.  

Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand. 

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Though they are protected by law in most range countries, enforcement of these laws is weak in many places. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo

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The first Clouded Leopard to be born from artificial insemination using frozen/thawed semen has given birth to two cubs at the Nashville Zoo.

The two-year-old female, Niran, gave birth with no complications. “We’ve really made history with Niran,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services.

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47434272392_4bbf2d317c_kPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

The newest cubs weigh about 187 and 192 grams each. After two-year-old Niran gave birth, the zoo's veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. The veterinary staff typically hand raises Clouded Leopard cubs because the mothers often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers animal stress for future hands-on care.

With the addition of these cubs, the zoo is now home to eight Clouded Leopards.

Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1987 and has welcomed 34 cubs since 2009. There are currently 69 Clouded Leopards in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ care and 292 in facilities globally. 

Niran and one-year-old Ron, the father, are living behind the scenes, and the cubs will be placed in the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center neonatal animal care room within a week. The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®. Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They are protected in much of their range, which spans from the Himalayan foothills to Southeast Asia, but enforcement of those protections is weak. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.

See more photos of Niran's cubs below.

Continue reading "Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo" »


Nashville Zoo Welcomes Four Little Pigs

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of four Juliana Pigs. The Zoo welcomed three females (who were born in the same litter) and a male sired by the same father as the females.

These little pigs will stay in the Zoo’s “Critter Encounters”, so guests can interact with them, and they will also be trained to take leashed-walks throughout the Zoo. Other than during colder months where they will have access to a heated indoor area, they will be able to choose to be out and active or retreat into their house when they need to rest.

“We hope when guests interact with our Juliana Pigs they will be inspired to help other species of pigs that are declining in the wild once they see firsthand how intelligent and special pigs are,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo Contact Area Supervisor.

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4_46148675825_c33d9f6b26_kPhoto Credits: Becky Hardy/Nashville Zoo

Juliana Pigs' intelligence, along with their easy-going temperament and ability to get along with other animals and people, make them great ambassador animals allowing the public to get close and interact with a pig.

They also have an excellent sense of smell. A pig’s nose ends in a floating disk of cartilage attached to muscles, which makes it more sensitive than the human nose. The nose is also strengthened by a pre-nasal bone, which enhances the nose as a digging tool. Pigs are often trained for truffle & mushroom hunting, as well as recently used for law enforcement searches.

Domestic populations of pigs are stable, but some wild populations are endangered. Pigs in general are native to Europe and Asia, but were later introduced as domesticated animals and can now be found throughout the world.

Juliana Pigs (Sus domesticus) are a breed of domestic pig that originated in Europe through selective breeding of various types of pigs. Humans have been raising pigs for more than 9,000 years.

A mature Juliana Pig will weigh between 20-40lbs and be between 10-16" tall. This species does 95% percent of its growing during the first year and is considered an adult at two years. Juliana Pigs more closely resemble a small version of a feral pig than it does the Pot Belly pig.

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Zoo Celebrates First Blue-billed Curassow Chick

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Nashville Zoo’s avian staff welcomed their first Curassow chick on May 5.

After 30 days of incubation, Nashville Zoo keepers and veterinary staff assisted the chick in hatching. Keepers opted to assist the chick due to inactivity during the second day, after its initial pip in the shell membrane. Keepers noticed the shell membrane was dry instead of wet, and they decided intervention was necessary.

“This is a very valuable animal, and we need to do everything we can to help it survive,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo Avian Area Supervisor. “This egg hatching is significant because Curassows are critically endangered in the wild.”

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4_41137968845_508862919c_oPhoto Credits: Kelsey White/Nashville Zoo

There are only 54 Blue-billed Curassows in zoos across the country and only about 750 in the wild. The population has been in decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

This is the first chick born from breeding pair, Albert (3) and Victoria (5), who both arrived in Nashville in 2015.

The Curassows at Nashville Zoo have laid eggs in the past. However, the eggs were either not viable or the female knocked the eggs out of the nest.

“She [Victoria] has no idea that she’s supposed to sit on the eggs,” Norris said. “We think it’s because she’s young and things haven’t kicked in yet."

Nashville Zoo's avian staff is currently working with Houston Zoo and the Species Survival Plan on where to best place this chick.

The Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) is a species of bird in the family Cracidae, which includes the Chachalacas, Guans, and Curassows.

The bird is native to Colombia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. The species is threatened by habitat loss and is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN.

Blue-billed Curassows are believed to live in the same areas in Colombia as Cotton-top Tamarins, a primate species that was recently introduced in the Nashville Zoo's new Expedition Peru exhibit. The Zoo is contributing to the conservation project “Proyecto Titi” that benefits sustaining the Cotton-top Tamarin population, which could potentially also benefit the Blue-billed Curassows with the installation of camera traps to monitor the species.

“We’re learning how best to care for them,” Norris said. “Right now, this species is just so critical, we basically are just keeping them alive in general until we can find a solution in the wild.”


Tiny Clouded Leopard Cub Born at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a female Clouded Leopard on Monday, February 19.

This is the sixth litter for eight-year-old mother Lom Choy and father Luk. The couple has been paired for mating since age one, and they had their first litter in 2011. Their newest cub weighed 188 grams (about six ounces) at birth. With the addition of this cub, the Zoo is home to nine Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has had 32 Clouded Leopard births since 2009. There are currently 61 Clouded Leopards in accredited North American zoos and 274 under human care globally.

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27073664508_7ab02128aa_oPhoto Credits: Amiee Stubbs (1,2,4,5); Melinda Kommavongsa (3)

Lom Choy delivered three cubs on February 19 and within the days following, keepers observed that two of the cubs were victims of parental predation, a common occurrance in Clouded Leopards.  The third cub was immediately removed for hand rearing.

Because Clouded Leopards are normally shy and secretive, hand-rearing allows the animals to become better acclimated to a zoo environment. “Cubs that are hand reared are known to allow for easier keeper interaction, and [the hand-rearing process] reduces stress in the animal,” explained Dr. Heather Robertson, DVM. 

Nashville Zoo is a member of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and is part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Robertson is the nationwide Vet Advisor for this species and Nashville Zoo spearheads conservation efforts for this species in partnership with the Smithsonian National Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at Khao Kheow breeding facility in Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are native to the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia and China. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected in most range countries, although enforcement in many areas is weak. Precise data on wild Clouded Leopard populations is not known, though some conservationists estimate that the total adult population is fewer than 10,000 individuals. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and fewer sightings of Clouded Leopards within their range suggest the species is in decline.

 


Nashville Zoo Celebrates Fourth Tapir Birth

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a male Baird’s Tapir. The yet-to-be-named calf arrived on March 7 and weighed-in at 22.8 pounds. 

This is the second calf for four-year-old mom, Juju. The calf’s father, Romeo, passed-away last year. Romeo was also the father of Tybalt, the Nashville Zoo’s other male Tapir, who was born in August 2016.

With the addition of the new calf, the Zoo is now home to three Baird’s Tapirs. A total of four Baird’s Tapirs have been born at Nashville Zoo since the species was introduced there in 2008.

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3_39817096715_20ed153cdd_oPhoto Credits: Stephanie Edling / Nashville Zoo

Tapirs have a gestation period of approximately 13 months. Keepers had been closely monitoring Juju’s progress and noticed she was restless the day before she gave birth. Once Juju went into labor, she welcomed her new calf about five minutes later, without the help of keepers.

“Congratulations to the keepers who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth birth for Juju,” said Jonathon Hankins, Area Supervisor for Hoofstock. “They know these animals down to the tiniest details, and it is this dedication that will help us make the future for this little guy as bright as possible.”

Keepers estimate the calf will go out on exhibit within a few weeks, once the mother deems the calf is fit to explore outside. Tapirs are also sensitive to colder temperatures, so they will not go outside unless the temperature is above 60 degrees F.

This birth is significant because this species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Baird’s Tapirs are threatened by hunting, population fragmentation and habitat destruction.

Baird's Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) are broad, primitive creatures whose appearance has changed little in thousands of years. A relative of the horse and the rhino, Tapirs are the largest land animal in Central and South America.

Though an adult Baird’s Tapir’s coat is solid brown, babies are born with unique markings, similar to brown and white-striped watermelons. Juvenile tapirs lose these markings after one year.