Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Cape Thick-Knee Hatches at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium hatched a Cape Thick-knee Chick on March 14. The chick, which is the first since 2015, can be seen in the Desert Dome with its parents.

Although the species is free ranging, they spend most of their time in the Australian section of the zoo’s Desert Dome. This is the first chick for the adult pair who arrived at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in 2017.

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4_Cape Thick-Knee chick at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium 2Photo Credits: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Cape Thick-knee breeding pairs typically raise one to two chicks at a time. They are very protective parents who will go to great lengths to protect their young. The birds will sometimes perform dramatic “injury displays” to lure predators away from their nest. Both parents take an active role in feeding their chicks.

The Cape Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) is native to southwestern and southern Africa within savannas, dry grasslands and thorn scrub areas. The species primarily feed on insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, but will also eat small mammals and lizards.


Rockhopper Penguins Enjoy Playtime in a Playpen

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Two Rockhopper Penguin chicks recently went on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Visitors will notice that the chicks are currently in a ‘playpen’ in the Zoo’s Antarctic Penguin exhibit. The playpen gives the chicks an opportunity to acclimate to the other penguins and the exhibit. This time also allows its feathers to fully grow in as down feathers are not waterproof. The chicks will remain in the playpen for a few weeks or until all of their feathers are in. The sexes of the chicks have not yet been determined.

The fuzzy pair hatched on December 11 and December 13, 2016. They currently weigh 4.3 and 4.2 pounds. Full grown Rockhopper Penguins weigh between 4.4 and 5.9 pounds.

The two chicks were parent-reared in the Zoo’s penguin exhibit. The eggs were incubated on exhibit and hatched at 32-34 days. At 30 days of age, the chicks were taught to hand feed from keeper staff, and they are now eating whole fish, primarily capelin.

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4_IMG_1660Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

The penguins at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are Southern Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome). They are found in subantarctic waters of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as around the southern coasts of South America. They are the smallest yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin in the genus Eudyptes.

Since 1998, 31 Rockhopper Penguins have hatched at Omaha. They are currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. This species is primarily affected by: fisheries, loss of habitat, and oil spills.

The Zoo has extended an invitation to the public to help name the chicks. The official entry box is located in front of the Antarctic Penguin display in the Scott Aquarium. Name submissions will be accepted at the location until Thursday, February 23. The chicks’ names will be selected by the keepers that care for them and will be announced on Wednesday, March 8 on the Zoo’s website and social media. The entrants of the winning names will receive a unique Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium gift basket. Both male and female names will be accepted.

More great pics below the fold!

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Omaha Zoo Announces Names of Tiger Trio

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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium recently held a contest to find names for their new Amur Tiger cubs. The endangered cubs were born July 7 to mom, Isabella, and ZooBorns shared their birth-story just a few days ago: Tiger Trio Debuts at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

Today, it was announced that keepers have made a decision, based on the names submitted by excited zoo visitors. The female cub has been named Aurora (a name suggested by Mackenzie Haake of Bellevue, Nebraska). One of Aurora’s brothers has been named Finn (submitted by Mary Vedder of Bellevue, Nebraska). The biggest boy in the trio has been given the name, Titan (suggested by 3 year-old Linden DeVard of Omaha, Nebraska).

Aurora currently weighs in at 15.5 pounds, Finn is a healthy 17 pounds, and Titan is just at 18 pounds.

The naming contest was held from August 18 though August 25. Guests to the Zoo were invited to submit the name ideas into a box at the Cat Complex exhibit. The cat’s keepers selected the winning names. According to the Zoo, there were 2,576 names submitted. The entrants of the winning names will receive a unique gift basket.

The cubs remain on display with their mom in the Cat Complex. While they are still nursing, the trio is showing an interest in their mom’s food and they will start eating meat at around three months old.

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Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (Image 1: Aurora; Image 2: Finn; Image 3: Titan; Image 4: mom, Isabella)

The Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Siberian Tiger, is a subspecies inhabiting mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region, with a small population in southwest Primorye Province in the Russian Far East.

The Amur Tiger once ranged throughout all of Korea, northeastern China, Russian Far East, and Eastern Mongolia. In 2005, there were reported to be 331–393 adults and sub adult Amur Tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals.

The Amur Tiger and Bengal Tiger subspecies rank among the biggest living cats. An average adult male Siberian Tiger outweighs an average adult male Lion by around 45.5 kg (100 lb.).

The Amur Tiger is reddish-rusty, or rusty-yellow in color, with narrow black transverse stripes. It is typically 5–10 cm (2–4 in) taller than the Bengal Tiger, which is about 107–110 cm (42–43 in) tall.

Amur Tigers mate at any time of the year. Gestation lasts from 3 to 3½ months. Litter size is normally two or four cubs but there can be as many as six. The cubs are born blind, in a sheltered den, and are left alone when the female leaves to hunt for food. The female cubs remain with their mothers longer, and later, they establish territories close to their original ranges. Male cubs, on the other hand, travel unaccompanied and range farther, earlier in their lives, making them more vulnerable to poachers and other tigers.

At 35 months of age, Tigers are sub-adults. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 48 to 60 months.

The Amur Tiger is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN’s report: “…despite a bounce back in tiger numbers in 2010 after a very cold and snowy winter in 2009 (Miquelle et al. 2010). Poaching of Tigers as well as their wild prey species is considered to be driving the decline (Schwirtz 2009). Moreover, a broad genetic sampling of 95 wild Russian tigers found markedly low genetic diversity, with the effective population size (Ne) extraordinarily low in comparison to the census population size (N), with the population behaving as if it were just 27–35 individuals (Henry et al. 2009). This reflects the recent population bottleneck of the 1940s, and concords with the low documented cub survivorship to independence in the Russian Far East (Kerley et al. 2003). Further exacerbating the problem is that more than 90% of the population occurs in the Sikhote Alin mountain region, and there is little genetic exchange (movement of Tigers) across the development corridor, which separates this sub-population from the much smaller subpopulation, found in southwest Primorye province (Henry et al. 2009).

In China, the small population is not independently viable and dependent on movement of animals across the border with Russia.”

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Tiger Trio Debuts at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

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Three Amur Tiger cubs, born July 7, are currently on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The cubs (two males and one female) went on exhibit with their mother, Isabella, who is a first-time mom.

The curious trio is eager to investigate everything, including what mom is eating. They are still nursing exclusively, but will begin to eat meat around three months old.

Their father, Sasha, is also on display in the Zoo’s Cat Complex, but he is currently living in a separate exhibit.

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4_IMG_8264Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

The Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Siberian Tiger, is a subspecies inhabiting mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region, with a small population in southwest Primorye Province in the Russian Far East.

The Amur Tiger once ranged throughout all of Korea, northeastern China, Russian Far East, and Eastern Mongolia. In 2005, there were reported to be 331–393 adults and sub adult Amur Tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals.

The Amur Tiger and Bengal Tiger subspecies rank among the biggest living cats. An average adult male Siberian Tiger outweighs an average adult male Lion by around 45.5 kg (100 lb.).

The Amur Tiger is reddish-rusty, or rusty-yellow in color, with narrow black transverse stripes. It is typically 5–10 cm (2–4 in) taller than the Bengal Tiger, which is about 107–110 cm (42–43 in) tall.

Amur Tigers mate at any time of the year. Gestation lasts from 3 to 3½ months. Litter size is normally two or four cubs but there can be as many as six. The cubs are born blind, in a sheltered den, and are left alone when the female leaves to hunt for food. The female cubs remain with their mothers longer, and later, they establish territories close to their original ranges. Male cubs, on the other hand, travel unaccompanied and range farther, earlier in their lives, making them more vulnerable to poachers and other tigers.

At 35 months of age, Tigers are sub-adults. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 48 to 60 months.

The Amur Tiger is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN’s report: “…despite a bounce back in tiger numbers in 2010 after a very cold and snowy winter in 2009 (Miquelle et al. 2010). Poaching of Tigers as well as their wild prey species is considered to be driving the decline (Schwirtz 2009). Moreover, a broad genetic sampling of 95 wild Russian tigers found markedly low genetic diversity, with the effective population size (Ne) extraordinarily low in comparison to the census population size (N), with the population behaving as if it were just 27–35 individuals (Henry et al. 2009). This reflects the recent population bottleneck of the 1940s, and concords with the low documented cub survivorship to independence in the Russian Far East (Kerley et al. 2003). Further exacerbating the problem is that more than 90% of the population occurs in the Sikhote Alin mountain region, and there is little genetic exchange (movement of Tigers) across the development corridor, which separates this sub-population from the much smaller subpopulation found in southwest Primorye province (Henry et al. 2009).

In China, the small population is not independently viable and dependent on movement of animals across the border with Russia.”

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Eight Grey Wolf Pups Pop Out of Their Den

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Eight grey wolf pups born on April 30 at Omaha Zoo’s Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari have emerged from their den!

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Wolf Pups (4)Photo Credit: Omaha's Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari  

Seven of the pups have grey coats, and one has a black coat.  All eight were born to Kenai, age six, and Yahzi, age seven.  This is their second litter – the pair produced five pups in 2014.

The pups are still nursing, but are starting to eat an adult carnivore diet with treats that include fish, eggs, bones, and meat.

Grey wolves, of which there are several subspecies, live in remote parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They are social animals, living in pairs with their offspring.  Grey wolves hunt in packs in well-established territories. 

There are currently 107 grey wolves in 38 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. In the last 12 months, there have been 10 births, including this litter.  Grey wolves are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the pups below.

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Look Who Just Hatched!

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A tiny Carpet Chameleon has just emerged from its egg at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo!  Weighing about the same as four toothpicks, this little Lizard is one of seven Carpet Chameleons to hatch between January 12 and February 12 at the zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Native to Madagascar, Carpet Chameleons are one of the smallest true Chameleons.  In their forest habitat, Carpet Chameleons sport dark colors in the mornings as they warm themselves in the sun.  Once they are warmed up, they traverse tree branches in search of flies, grasshoppers, and insect larvae.  Food is captured on the tips of the Chameleons’ sticky tongues, which can be as long as the Lizards themselves (up to 10 inches). 

At just three months of age, carpet Chameleons reach sexual maturity and begin breeding.  Though many species in Madagascar are threatened with extinction, these Chameleons are abundant.

See more photos of the Chameleon below.

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Omaha's Lion Cubs Play All Day

10865875_10152984218455851_3848871017403495324_oThree Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on November 21 recently showed off their playful side for the cameras. The two male cubs and one female cub were born to first-time mother Ahadi, who is providing good maternal care.   

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10339467_10152984218105851_2433573802110591640_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Like all young Lions, the cubs spend their days nipping, pouncing, and practicing their hunting skills, to the delight of zoo visitors.  The cubs are artists, too – zoo keepers brushed blue and pink paint on the cubs’ feet, and the cubs walked across canvas boards to create one-of-a-kind paintings, which are sold in the zoo’s gift shop.

The cubs began life weighing just three to four pounds, but are growing fast.  Their 6-year-old mother Ahadi weighs 335 pounds, and their father, Mr. Big, is 15 years old and weighs 560 pounds.   

The breeding of Ahadi and Mr. Big was recommended by the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums as part of a nationwide effort to breed Lions of known lineage.

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over the last 20 years the Lion population is estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African Lions live in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority living in eastern and southern Africa.

See more photos of the playful cubs below.

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Giraffe Calf Welcomed by Omaha Zoo

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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium welcomed a female Reticulated Giraffe calf on November 4th. She weighed 138 pounds and was 72 inches tall, at birth.

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OmahaHenryDoorlyZoo_GiraffeCalf_4Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

The 15-year-old mother, ‘Dottie’, is taking her motherly duties seriously, and she is very protective of the new calf. The father of the calf is 6-year-old ‘Jawara’, who came to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in August of 2008, from the Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois.

The calf currently weighs 171 pounds and will gain about 3.5 to 4 pounds per day, growing at an enormous rate her first year of life. She will nurse for about four months, and then will begin consuming solid food.

Dottie and her calf can be seen in the indoor exhibit of the Giraffe Complex. They are currently secluded from the rest of the herd, and will be introduced to the others one-by-one. The calf will most likely remain in the zoo’s herd, and will not be transferred to another facility.The zoo recently sponsored a naming contest for the calf, and they will announce the winner on December 10th.

More below the fold!

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Omaha's Otter Pup Makes a Splash

1497919_10152809367325851_1839276454592659308_oAn African Spotted-neck Otter pup, born on July 27, is now making a splash with its mom on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

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10452828_10152809347455851_877785572943373479_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Following a two-month gestation period, female Spotted-neck Otters can give birth to one to two pups at a time. Spotted-neck Otter pups are born in dens, where they remain for the first two to three months of life. When the pups are ready to venture out on their own, mom teaches them how to swim and hunt for fish.

This birth is one of only two to occur this year among a network of eight Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions that house the species. There are now 22 Spotted-neck Otters within accredited zoos.

African Spotted-neck Otters—named for the distinctive blotches of cream-colored markings on their throats and chests—are native throughout central and southern Africa, primarily around Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.

Their fully webbed feet enable them to maneuver along the river’s edge, where they hunt for fish, crab, frogs, insects, birds and mollusks. In general, Otters are regarded as indicators of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

Though Spotted-neck Otters have an extensive range and are not currently under threat, there is concern that their population could decline due to degradation of their aquatic habitat and hunting of Otters for bushmeat. 

See more photos of the Otter pup below.

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From Tadpole to Froglet: An Amazing Transformation

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On March 12, an amazing transformation took place at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo:  a Milky Tree Frog tadpole became a froglet, one more important stage on its journey to becoming an adult Frog.  The metamorphosis from tadpole to juvenile took about three weeks to complete.

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Photo Credit:  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Milky Tree Frogs are also known as Amazon Milk Frogs, Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frogs or Blue Milk Frogs.  They inhabit tropical rain forests in the Amazon basin, and dwell entirely in the forest canopy.  This is not all that unusual, except most Tree Frogs are rather small.  The Milky Tree Frog, however, grows up to four inches (10 cm) long – big enough to dine on pinky mice at the zoo.

The “milk” in this Frog’s name comes from the poisonous, milk-colored fluid they secrete when stressed. The photos above show the froglet (top two photos) and adult (bottom two photos).