Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Snow Leopard Siblings Arrive in Omaha

Two Snow Leopard CubsPhoto Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

 

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is proud to announce the birth of two Snow Leopard cubs on May 22.

When they were one month old, the male and female cubs weighed just over five pounds. The cubs’ parents are Rosemary and Pasha. Rosemary is 5-years-old, weighs approximately 78 pounds, and has lived at the Zoo since 2015. Pasha is 10-years-old, weighs approximately 106 pounds, and arrived at the Zoo in 2012.

Dad can currently be seen by guests in the Asian Highlands exhibit. This pair also had a cub named Victoria in 2017. Victoria recently went to live at the Binder Park Zoo near Battle Creek, Michigan.

Snow Leopards are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. There are only an estimated 2,700 - 3,300 Snow Leopards left in the world. The main threats facing them include loss of habitat, retaliatory killing from predation on livestock, and illegal trade in furs, bones and other body parts.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a dedicated member of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that works to maintain a genetically stable assurance population of Snow Leopards in zoos. Research conducted by the Zoo’s nutrition and reproductive physiology departments has provided valuable information to the Snow Leopard SSP that is helping to improve the care and management of these amazing cats around the world.

In addition to efforts taking place on Zoo grounds, Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium supports the Snow Leopard Trust, an organization working out in the field within Snow Leopard habitat. Snow Leopard Trust focuses primarily on community education directed toward improving the relationships between herders and big cats by creating incentives for the community to protect Snow Leopards and their ecosystem. To learn more about Snow Leopard Trust’s mission, visit: www.snowleopard.org


Bison Herd Expands at Wildlife Safari Park

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The Bison herd at Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska grew this summer. A calf was born on May 27 and visitors can now see the auburn-colored calf roaming the ‘Bison Plains’ with mom and the herd.

Bison calves turn dark brown a few months after birth---the same time their characteristic hump and horns start to grow.

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3_Bison calf with mother at Wildlife Safari Park (3)Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo/Wildlife Safari Park

Since its opening in 1998, Wildlife Safari Park has played a key role in conserving Bison and educating the public about the critical challenges impacting the native species—the national mammal of the United States. Wildlife Safari Park currently has 33 Bison, including the new calf.

Wildlife Safari Park offers four miles of drive-through North American wildlife viewing from the comfort of your own vehicle. Wildlife Safari Park visitors can see a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including more than 60 American Elk spread across the 50-acre Elk Meadow and a 10-acre wetlands area with American White Pelicans. Visitors can explore the newest exhibit, Prairie Dog Town, and see other animals, such as: White-tailed Deer, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes (who came to Wildlife Safari Park this past April).

Visitors can take advantage of the nice weather and explore two miles of hiking trails, which pass Wolf Canyon, home to six grey wolves and three American black bears. At the Hands-on-Corral, kids of all ages can interact with their favorite farm animals, such as pygmy goats and chickens.

Visit www.OmahaZoo.com for more information.


Sea Lion Pups at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

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Visitors to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium can now see two new Sea Lion pups at the zoo’s Owen Sea Lion Pavilion.

The first pup was born June 12 to nine-year-old Gemini. Another was born on June 18 to Coco, who was born at Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium in June 2009. The sexes of the pups are currently unknown.

The California Sea Lion pups and their mothers are currently on exhibit with the father of both pups, 15-year-old Chino. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium currently has eight Sea Lions: two males, four females and the two new pups.

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3_Gemini and pup  born 6-12-19

4_Coco and pup  born 6-18-19Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Visitors noticed that a significant amount of water has been drained from the Sea Lion’s pool. According to the zoo, this was done in preparation for the birth of the pups and will remain at a lower depth until both pups have learned to swim in deeper water. The zoo follows this routine each year in anticipation of pupping season. Mothers begin teaching their pups how to swim as early as a few days old by pulling them into the water for a short period of time for several days, each time getting farther and deeper into the water.

In 2020, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will open Owen Sea Lion Shores, a new sea lion habitat that will include elements such as natural boundaries, underwater viewing and state-of-the-art holding facilities complete with a diet prep area and holding pools. The area will include a natural beach, which will allow females to give birth on land and gradually introduce their pups to the water as they would in their natural habitats.

An integral part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Sea Lions includes the management of genetic diversity within the zoo network’s population. The SSP evaluates the population status and makes breeding recommendations. There are typically 15-20 breeding recommendations annually for Sea Lions, however, that changes based on the population status.

California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) are commonly found along the coastlines of the Pacific Northwest region. Males can weigh between 700 to 1,000 pounds while females can weigh between 200 to 250 pounds.


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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