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.


River Safari Celebrates Fourth Giant Anteater Pup

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River Safari welcomed its fourth Giant Anteater on July 17, bringing the park’s current collection of the threatened species to four. As Iapura is an experienced mother having given birth to her previous pup, Leona, on March 3, 2018, she required no assistance from her keepers when birthing this newborn. Giant Anteaters can have a single offspring, once a year, after a gestation period of about 6 months.

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WRS_RS_Img 3_giant_anteater_pupPhoto Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Weighing only 1.6kg at birth, the yet-to-be-named new pup possesses surprising strength for its small stature, climbing and clinging onto her mother’s back with ease. The newborn spends much of her time on her mother’s back. In this position, it can be difficult to spot the pup, as its coat of hair is almost identical to an adult’s, allowing her to blend in with her mother. This trick comes in handy for anteaters in the wild as it protects the pup from predators and makes the mother appear larger, making for less tempting prey.

Currently on her mother’s milk, the pup will gradually be weaned and introduced to solid food—a mixture of insectivore pellets and ant eggs—when she is about five months old.

Members of the public can vote for their preferred name of the pup by commenting on the video on Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Facebook page from August 21 through 28. The pup’s keepers have shortlisted two names for public voting: “Amazon”, after the giant anteater’s natural habitat in the Amazon rainforest or “Estrella”, meaning ‘star’ in Spanish, the language most often spoken in her native range of South America.

Iapura and her pup will be introduced to the Giant Anteater exhibit along River Safari’s Amazon River Quest boat ride when the latter turns four months old. In the meantime, guests can either spot father, Zapata, or daughter, Leona, by their distinct narrow head, bushy tail and long snout.

The Giant Anteater is the largest species of anteater out of four and is listed as “Vulnerable” on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, due to habitat loss, road-kill, and hunting.

The animals cared for by WRS are part of the international conservation-breeding program (EEP) managed by the European Association of Zoo and Aquaria (EAZA).


Baby Fur Seal Winning Fans in Poland

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An African Fur Seal born on June 17 at Poland’s Zoo Wrocław is already charming zoo guests and her care team with her winning personality.

The pup was named Zuri by her fans on social media. The name comes from Shona, a language used by the Bantu peoples in the Seals’ native African home.

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DSC_4029-Edit kotik małyPhoto Credit: Zoo Wrocław

A minor health issue resulted in Zuri requiring extra care from her keepers. Fortunately, Zuri turned out to be perfectly healthy, but her care team now has a special bond with the little Seal.

Zuri still nurses from her mother Nabi. She is the fourth African Sea Lion pup to be born at Zoo Wrocław. Her three siblings provide her with plenty of playmates. Zuri is still learning to swim, so she has yet to join the group in the main pool, preferring instead to practice swimming in a mini-pool behind the scenes.

The zoo’s Seals participate in daily training sessions, which zoo guests can watch. The training sessions allow the Seals to participate in their own medical care and permit the care team to monitor the animals closely.

African Fur Seals inhabit the coastlines of southwestern and southern Africa. For most of the year, the Seals live in the ocean, where they dive up to 600 feet to capture fish. Fur Seals come ashore only during the breeding season.

African Fur Seals are not threatened at this time, but other marine species are under pressure from reduced fish populations, caused when humans overharvest fish. Fur Seals are still legally hunted in Namibia for their fur and other body parts.


Rare Caterpillars Will Bring Butterflies Back From Near Extinction

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More than 150 rare caterpillars hatched at Chester Zoo are now destined for release into the wild in parts of England, where they have been extinct for a century.

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Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (1)
Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (1)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Conservationists at the zoo have been using fine art paintbrushes to move the miniscule species into their specially designed habitats at the zoo.

The paintbrushes allow the zoo’s invertebrate keepers to be precise and delicate when handling the precious insects.

After plenty of eating and growth, the tiny youngsters will hibernate over the winter and pupate next year, emerging in the summer as Large Heath Butterflies.

Large Heath Butterflies were once common across the British Isles but over the last 200 years, they have been pushed further and further north. Large colonies previously at home in the boggy mosses of Manchester and Liverpool have long since been lost to local extinction.

As the UK has built its agriculture over the last two centuries, the wet mosslands that the Large Heath needs to survive have been drained and converted into farmland. As the land dried, the food plants for the Butterfly were lost, resulting in a cascade of wildlife disappearance.

The Butterfly can be identified by its orange wings, each bearing six black and white ‘eyespots’ on the underside. Conservationists hope to ensure that they will one day be a common sight across the UK once again.

Ben Baker, Team Manager of the Chester Zoo Butterfly team, said, “Few people realize that the Butterflies we might see in our gardens, forests and mosslands across the UK are heavily under threat, with many species disappearing from their last strongholds throughout England. It is an amazing privilege to play a part in embarking these rare caterpillars on their journey, returning the species to their historic home.”

Chester Zoo supports conservationists and conservation projects across the United Kingdom to prevent the extinction of unique and endangered species, safeguarding diverse and healthy ecosystems.




Grey Crowned-crane Chick Makes Debut

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A Grey Crowned-crane, which hatched at the National Aviary on July 27, made its public debut last week. The fluffy chick strutted around the historic National Aviary Rose Garden for visitors, stretching its long legs during one of its multiple daily walks. The daily walks provide the chick with opportunities to stretch its growing legs and prepare it for its role as an educational ambassador for its species.

“The hatching of our new Grey Crowned-crane chick is an exciting opportunity for visitors to experience what we at the National Aviary see every day: birds growing and thriving. Visitors can watch this chick grow up right before their eyes,” said Cathy Schlott, Curator of Behavioral Management and Education at the National Aviary. “The fact that Grey Crowned-cranes are endangered makes this little one even more special!”

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Grey Crowned-cranes (Balearica regulorum) are one of the most recognizable crane species, noted for their elaborate golden-yellow plumage resembling a crown on their heads. Cranes are precocial birds, and begin walking and exploring their world within hours of hatching.

The crane chick is being hand-raised by experts at the National Aviary, where it will live behind the scenes and become an educational ambassador for its species. Visitors to the National Aviary will be able to meet the crane and learn about the species. Grey Crowned-cranes are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with fewer than 25,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Native to the wetlands and grasslands of Eastern and Southern Africa, the species faces declining numbers due to habitat loss and overuse of pesticides.

The National Aviary’s new chick weighed 87 grams when it hatched, and was about the size of a large pear, and is growing rapidly. Recently, it weighed 183 grams, about a half a pound. In just three months, the downy tan chick will reach its full adult size of over three feet tall, with a wingspan of 6.5 feet. In about 18 months, the chick will have full adult plumage, and will be a striking gray with red, black, and white features. A feather DNA test will determine the sex of the chick.


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.




Two Amur Leopard Cubs Boost This Rare Species

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Two Amur Leopard cubs born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on June 19 had their six-week health checks last week. This was the first time that the care team has handled the cubs, who have been bonding with their mom, Tria, behind the scenes.  The cubs’ father is Rafferty.

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Amur leopard male getting weighed croppedPhoto Credit (all except top photo): Maria Simmons

Amur Leopards are the most endangered of all big Cats, so this birth is a significant boost for the species. Fewer than 90 individuals remain in the wild in their native habitat in the Amur River Basin in Far East Russia.

The zoo’s care team has been observing the cubs via closed-circuit camera with minimal intervention to allow Tria to care for them undisturbed, and she has proven to be a great mom. Veterinary staff were able to administer the cubs’ 6-week vaccinations during the checkup, as well as weigh them and check their development.  The male weighed 6.2 pounds, and the female weighed 5.6 pounds.

The zoo acquired Tria and Rafferty last year from the Greenville, SC. and San Diego zoos respectively as part of the Species Survival Plan for Amur Leopards.

This species faces extinction because of habitat destruction for logging and farming, overhunting of its prey by humans and illegal poaching for their beautiful coats. Those in the wild are now protected in a preserve established by Russia in 2012, but the wild population is so small that inbreeding has become another threat to the species’ survival.


Twins' Arrival Brings 'Otter' Joy

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The staff at Banham Zoo are ‘otterly' delighted with the birth of two Asian Small-clawed Otter pups. The babies have recently started coming out of the den to play with their one-year-old sibling Makati, mother Tilly, and father Sam.  

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IMG_8692Photo Credit: Banham Zoo

The two cubs were born on May 22 and are the second litter for Tilly and Sam. As experienced parents, Tilly and Sam share care of the pups are showing excellent parenting skills.

For the first eight to 10 weeks of life, Otter pups remain tucked away in the den with mom and dad. In fact, the keepers were only able to discern that Tilly had given birth when she stopped coming outside to be fed. Once the pups were heard squealing from within the nest box there was no doubt that babies had been born.

The pups are now beginning to venture out of their nest box to explore their outdoor habitat. They will soon undergo their first veterinary exam, where their genders will be determined.

In the coming weeks, Tilly and Sam will start giving swimming lessons and impart other essential skills to their offspring, just as they would in their native habitat.  

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of all Otter species. These Otters inhabit shallow, fast-flowing waters in southeast Asia and feed on crabs, snails, frogs, young birds, eggs, fish and small mammals. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction from farming, water pollution, hunting, and overfishing have led to a rapid decline in the Otters’ numbers in the wild. The IUCN estimates the global population of Asian Small-clawed Otters has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.

See more photos of the Otters below.

Continue reading "Twins' Arrival Brings 'Otter' Joy " »


Denver Zoo Roars With Pride Over Newborn Lion

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There’s a lot to roar about this summer at Denver Zoo with the arrival of an African Lion cub. The cub, whose sex has yet to be determined, was born on July 25 to mom Neliah, 7, and dad Tobias, 3. Animal care staff say mom and cub are both healthy and active, and bonding behind the scenes. Although the cub won’t make his or her public debut until later this summer, zoo guests can still catch a glimpse of Neliah and her cub on TV screens near the exhibit.

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African lion cub 4Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

“This is Neliah’s second time around as a mom, so we were confident she’d show all the correct behaviors with her new cub,” said Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo. “She immediately started grooming and nursing the cub, which is exactly what we hoped she would do.”

Half of Africa’s Lions have disappeared in the past 25 years and the species faces growing threats from poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. The cub’s birth is a huge success for the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy, genetically diverse populations of Lions within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. The SSP recommended Tobias move to Denver in 2018 as a potential mate for Neliah and her daughter, Kamara.

“Tobias hasn’t fathered any cubs previously, which makes his genetics important to the AZA Lion population,” said Colahan. “The fact that he’s already successfully mated with one of our females speaks to the work our Lion team put in to make Tobias feel comfortable in his new home in such a short period of time.”

Neliah and the cub will stay behind the scenes for at least one to two months to give them time to bond and gradually introduce the cub to the rest of the pride. They'll primarily stay in their den box, which the animal care team provides to mimic the space Neliah would seek out to give birth in the wild. Neliah will still have access to other holding areas behind the scenes, but the addition of the den box provides a sense of security for mom and cub.



 


New Giraffe at Zoo Miami Makes Her Debut

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Zoo Miami's newest baby Giraffe recently made her exhibit debut!

The female calf, which was born on July 22, walked out onto the exhibit with her mother and other members of the herd, curiously exploring her new surroundings. The newborn had been held inside a holding area with her mother to give them time to bond and to allow staff to slowly introduce her to the herd.

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4_DSC_2205Photo Credits: Zoo Miami

Shortly after birth, she received a neonatal exam where, in addition to a general physical, she was weighed, had her blood collected and received a microchip for identification. She weighed in at 149 pounds and is the fourth baby born to Sabra, her nearly 9-year-old mother. The father is a 6-year-old named Titan. This is the 56th Giraffe born in the zoo's history!

Giraffe have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months, and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor where it receives quite an abrupt introduction to the world! Newborns stand nearly 6 feet tall at birth.

The status of the Giraffe in the wild has recently been elevated from a “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to significant reductions in their populations over the last several years.  

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