Primate

Baby Lemur Twins Are Ready For Adventure

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Twin Black and White Ruffed Lemurs born on February 19 are ready to explore their world at the United Kingdom’s Dudley Zoo.

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Photo Credit: Dudley Zoo

The babies were born to 17-year-old Olivia and her 25-year-old mate, Broom. Since birth, the twins  have been snuggled in their nest box with Olivia. But last week, one of the twins attempted a bold escape from the nest box when Olivia wasn’t looking! A nearby zoo keeper caught the escapade on camera. The babies now regularly explore their indoor habitat under mom's watchful eye. 

The birth of these twins is significant because Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Found only on the island of Madagascar, these Lemurs have experienced a severe decline in population in the last few decades – up to an 80% drop by some estimates. Their large size (compared to other Lemurs) makes then a prime target for poachers and hunters who are trying to feed their families.

Efforts to reintroduce captive-born Lemurs to the wild have been suspended because there is little suitable habitat left for reintroduction. Madagascar’s forests and natural areas have been drastically altered due to human activity, including slash-and-burn agriculture.  


Baby Gorilla Bonds with Surrogate Mom

Exploring her home

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has introduced Gondai, a Western Lowland Gorilla infant born on September 28, to a surrogate mother, 30-year old Bulera. While surrogacy was “Plan B” for the Gorilla care team, hoping instead that Gandai’s biological mother Kumbuka would be willing and able to care for the infant, the pairing with Gandai and Bulera is a joyful occasion and the two Gorillas are bonding well.

Bulera and Gandai - Lynded Nunn
Happy girlPhoto Credit: Jacksonville Zoo and Garden (1,3), Lynded Nunn (2), John Reed Photography (4,5,6)

Keepers at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens intervened after Gandai’s birth when Kumbuka was observed incorrectly positioning the infant. The team has provided around-the-clock care for five months with the goal of introducing her to the troop as soon as it would be safe to do so. Kumbuka and the rest of the Gorillas were in close contact with the infant throughout the assisted-rearing process to reinforce their bonds. Bulera showed strong interest in Gandai from the beginning.

On the morning of February 26, Gandai was placed on a soft pile of hay in a large family room in the Gorilla building. Kumbuka was given access to the room and allowed to have free contact with the infant. Keepers were cautiously optimistic when Kumbuka eventually approached the little one and showed some interest. Kumbuka was initially curious and was even observed holding the baby for a few minutes. Unfortunately, her interest waned and by the end of the day, Kumbuka was actively avoiding Gandai. She did not bring Gandai into her nest to sleep overnight. When keepers saw Kumbuka’s frustration rising the next morning with every approach from Gandai, they knew it was time to consider Plan B.

At 9am on February 27, Kumbuka was given the opportunity to leave Gandai’s room, which she did without hesitation. Bulera was immediately given access to the baby. Immediately the keepers could tell this was a better fit. She was holding the baby within minutes and comforting her with soft vocal rumbles. She carried her around the enclosure, cuddled with her, brought her into her nest to sleep and responded quickly to any cries. Even better, Gandai is smitten with her adoptive mother.

Bulera is an experienced mother who raised 22-year old Madini and George who recently turned four. She is a confident and relaxed mother with a calm demeanor. The fact that young George is fully weaned, precocious, and enjoys independence, and has a close relationship with his father and playmate Patty, facilitated Bulera being available as a surrogate for Gandai.

The situation is still fluid as keepers continue to monitor the two behind-the-scenes and around the clock. Decisions are being made on who to introduce to Bulera and Gandai in next steps when they indicate they are ready.

Kumbuka is contently spending time with silverback Lash. She is not showing any concern about the situation. Keepers are disappointed that Kumbuka was not interested in mothering Gandai, but glad that the two can continue to live in the same group and develop a relationship. They anticipate that she will ultimately play an aunt role to Gandai, like she has done with the other offspring in the group.

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

Continue reading "Baby Gorilla Bonds with Surrogate Mom" »


Rare Chimpanzee Twins Born At Bioparc Valencia

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Valentine’s Day was extra special at Bioparc Valencia this year  when female Chimpanzee Marlin gave birth to twins. 

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11B24596-BEB5-436D-83C5-2FD9CAB354ADPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

The staff had already been on alert for Malin’s approaching due date.  Malin is an experienced mother, so the staff was not overly concerned, but they added bedding to the Chimps’ indoor quarters and kept a close eye on Malin.

On February 14, they were surprised to discover that Malin had delivered twins! The sex of the infants is not yet known, but the staff can tell them apart by their ear color: one has dark ears and the other has light ears.  

Twins are somewhat rare in Chimpanzees.  Most females give birth to just one infant.  Despite the extra demand of carrying and nursing two babies, Malin is providing excellent care for her youngsters.  

Chimpanzees are native to the forests if western and central Africa.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  

 


Zoo Celebrates Two Rare Primate Births

Cotton top tamarin 3 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian Lilly (1)

The year 2018 ended on a high note for the Shaldon Wildlife Trust with the births of two endangered Tamarins.

Tamarins are a group of Monkeys native to Central and South America. There are more than 30 species of Tamarins, and most are roughly the size of a squirrel.

Cotton top tamarin 1 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian Lilly
Cotton top tamarin 1 - 27.12.18 - Credit Brian LillyPhotos of Cotton-top Tamarin: Brian Lilly

A Pied Tamarin (not pictured) arrived in late October, the 12th to be born at the zoo. This species is found only in a small slice of tropical rain forest near the Brazilian city of Manaus. Pied Tamarins require highly specialized care and feeding, so zoo births are rare. The species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), because it is threatened with habitat loss.

A Cotton-top Tamarin born this fall is the first to be born at the facility in 15 years.  The baby was born to parents Tina and Turner, who are providing excellent care for their offspring. Males assist the female by carrying the baby on their back.

Like their cousins the Pied Tamarins, Cotton-top Tamarins are native to South America and have a unique diet that includes tree sap. They are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, with only about 6,000 individuals remaining in the wild. They were once listed as one of the 25 most endangered Primates in the world.

Cooperative breeding programs among zoos help to maintain a high level of genetic diversity within the zoo-dwelling population. Once these two babies have grown up, they will likely move to other European zoos and breed with unrelated individuals, thus bolstering the species.


Chester Zoo's Top 10 Baby Animals of 2018

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated an unprecedented number of births in 2018, including some of the world’s rarest and most at-risk species.

1. Precious sun bear cub Kyra is first of her kind to be born in the UK (8)

Sun Bear

Adorable cub Kyra was the first Sun Bear to be born in the UK. Her birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and people around the globe watched Kyra’s first moments with her mom. Kyra’s parents, Milli and Toni, were both rescued from poachers in Cambodia.    

Conservationists estimate that less than 1,000 Sun Bears remain in the wild across Southeast Asia. Deforestation and commercial hunting for their body parts have decimated their numbers.

2. Baby Stevie is the arrival of the decade… for Chester’s chimpanzees  (3)

Chimpanzee

Critically endangered Western Chimpanzee Stevie was the first of her kind to be born at Chester Zoo in nearly 10 years.

Stevie’s birth followed a scientific project, spanning several years, which carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study confirmed that the troop of Chimps at Chester Zoo is the highly-threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing them as a critically important breeding population. It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees now remain in the wild.

3. Elephant calf Anjan astonishes scientists after being born three months after expected due date (2)

Asian Elephant

After an unusually long pregnancy believed to have lasted 25 months, Asian Elephant Thi Hi Way gave birth to a healthy male calf, who keepers named Anjan.

A major Chester Zoo project in Assam, northern India, has successfully found ways to eliminate conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

4. Greater one-horned rhino calf Akeno gives new hope to species (2)

Greater One-horned Rhino

The momentous birth of Greater One-horned Rhino calf Akeno, born to mom Asha, was captured on CCTV cameras at the zoo.

Keepers watched as Asha delivered her calf safely onto to soft bedding after a 16-month-long gestation and 20-minute labor.

At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and less than 200 survived in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect the Rhinos were taken just in time and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.

5. Secretive okapi calf Semuliki is a star in stripes (2)

Okapi

A rare Okapi calf named Semuliki arrived to first-time parents K’tusha and Stomp. The Okapi is found only deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its highly secretive nature contributed to it being completely unknown to science until 1901.

Despite being a national symbol and protected under Congolese law, Okapi populations declined in the wild by nearly 50% over the past two decades and the species is now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

6. Tiny forest dragons help uncover new information about the species (4)
Bell’s Anglehead Lizards

A clutch of rare baby  Bell’s Anglehead Lizards – also known as Borneo Forest Dragons – hatched at the zoo, helping conservationists uncover more about the species’ breeding patterns, life cycle and habits.

The Lizards’ wild south Asian habitat however, is being decimated to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations – a threat which is pushing many species in the region to the very edge of existence.

7. Rare silvery gibbon adds to record baby boom at the zoo  (2)
Silvery Gibbon

The birth of a tiny Silvery Gibbon astonished visitors to the zoo who were able to admire the infant just minutes after its birth. 

Conservationists hailed the arrival of this highly endangered primate, with just 4,000 of its kind now remaining on the island of Java, Indonesia, where the species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN.

8. Fluffy flamingo chicks are pretty in pink  (2)

Flamingos

Keepers were tickled pink by the arrival of 21 Flamingo chicks. Each of the fluffy newcomers was carefully hand fed by the zoo’s bird experts four times a day for five weeks until they were developed enough to fully feed for themselves.

Flamingo chicks are white or grey in color when they first hatch, resembling little balls of cotton wool, and begin to develop their famous pink plumage at around six months old.

9. Tiny babirusa triplets arrive in zoo ‘first’ (3)

Babirusa

The first set of Babirusa triplets were born at the zoo, a huge boost to the species which has experienced a recent population crash on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Once considered fairly common, the rapid decline comes as result of hunting for their meat and habitat loss, which has seen Babirusas disappear from many parts of the island.

10. Black rhino birth a surprise to visitors  (5)

Eastern Black Rhino

The arrival of Jumaane, a rare Eastern Black Rhino calf, left a handful of lucky zoo visitors in shock as his birth took place right in front of them.

Conservationists now estimate that fewer than 650 Eastern Black Rhino remain across Africa – a staggeringly low number driven by an increase in poaching to meet demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market.

The birth of Jumaane is another vital boost to the Europe-wide breeding program which is crucial for the conservation of this critically endangered species.


Endangered Spider Monkey Born in Australia

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Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo were delighted by the early morning arrival of an endangered Black-handed Spider Monkey baby on October 26 to first time mother, Martina.

The male infant is yet to be named, but both mother and baby are doing well so far.

“Martina is a natural mother, she is showing all the right maternal behaviors. She has had the advantage of watching our two other mothers raise their babies over the past year,” said Keeper Stephanie Sims.

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_AT_051420151016Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

“At present visitors need to have a keen eye or binoculars to spot the newest addition, as the baby is clinging closely to mum’s stomach and looks like a little brown bulge from the viewing area.”

The baby will cling to his mother’s belly for the next few months, and has only in the last week started to hold his head up and look around. During his first year he will slowly gain confidence and start feeding himself, spending small periods of time away from Martina and hanging out with other members of the group. The baby will still rely on his mother though, as Spider Monkey babies are not considered completely independent until approximately three years of age.

“At present father Pedro doesn’t play a hands-on role raising the baby. However, as he gets older, Pedro will spend time wrestling and playing with him which also teaches specific social skills,” said Stephanie.

The two Spider Monkey babies born late last year were at first very curious about the new arrival, getting up close to take a look at the baby. The curiosity has worn off for the time being though.

“As the baby gets older and starts wanting to play with the older two, they will show more interest in him again.”

The Black-handed Spider Monkey regional conservation breeding program has a shortage of breeding males and while every birth is important, having a new genetic bloodline for the program is significant.

“We are really excited that the newest arrival is a male. The two babies from late last year were both females so to have a male this time is really great news,” said Stephanie.

Native to Central America and extreme northern South America, Black-handed Spider Monkeys are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The primary threat is loss of habitat. Large forested areas are essential to their survival, and these tracts are becoming rare in the region. Because they reproduce only once every two to four years, Black-handed Spider Monkey populations cannot quickly rebound when affected by human-caused disturbances.

 


Baby Baboon Joins a Big Family

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Oakland Zoo is celebrating its newest addition to the Hamadryas Baboon troop, which is now three generations strong.  Adult female Mocha gave birth to a baby boy, named Mousa, on November 3.  Mousa is Mocha’s first baby and she is proving to be a great mom. Mocha’s parents, Maya and Martijn, are still part of the troop, which now includes 17 members. 

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Baby Baboon born 20181103-3145Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

 

Like most Baboon mothers, Mocha brought her baby outdoors when he was just one day old. In the close-knit troop, the other members have shown continuous support and have kept an eye on Mocha and the new baby. 

“Initially, Mousa’s aunts and uncles were especially interested in Mousa and formed an entourage going everywhere that they went, never more than a foot or two away and often much closer.  At almost three weeks old, Mousa is doing great,” said Andrea Dougall, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. 

Mousa’s father, Kusa, was brought to Oakland Zoo by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to begin his own harem with the offspring of Martijn. The genetic diversity that came with Kusa’s arrival strengthens the populations of Hamadryas Baboons at AZA-accredited U.S. zoos. Oakland Zoo’s animal care staff continues to work closely with the SSP to maintain and increase genetic diversity within the troop. 

Read more and se additional photos of Mousa below.

Continue reading "Baby Baboon Joins a Big Family" »


Meet France's First Baby Gorilla of 2018

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ZooParc de Beauval announced that Sheila, one of its three female Gorillas, gave birth to a baby on October 27 in full view of zoo visitors. The infant is the first Great Ape born in France this year.

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44927083_2231534046871529_7289679255120642048_nPhoto Credit: ZooParc de Beauval

So far, the baby and Sheila appear to be doing well. The infant’s gender has not been confirmed, although the staff suspects it is a male. For now, the care team feels no need to intervene or interrupt the bonding process between mother and baby.

Though the baby is nursing and Sheila is exhibiting appropriate maternal behavior, the staff remains cautious because, as with all babies, the first few days are always precarious.

The baby’s arrival created great interest among the other members of the Gorilla troop, who often gather around Shelia and her new baby. The baby’s father is Asato, the troop's large male silverback.

Western Lowland Gorillas are classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Threats include Gorillas being illegally hunted for bushmeat and the prevalence of infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus. Past Ebola outbreaks have resulted in a 95% mortality rate in some Gorilla populations. Conservationists estimate that it could take up to 130 years for the Gorilla population to recover completely. The current population is estimated at a few hundred thousand individuals.

Gorillas’ dire scenario in the wild makes the birth of this infant at ZooParc de Beauval even more important to the survival of the species.


Chester Zoo Shares Photos of One-Day-Old Baby Gibbon

1. Baby silvery gibbon (5)

A rare baby Gibbon is the latest addition to the “biggest baby boom of mammals” on record at Chester Zoo.

The Silvery Gibbon – one of the world’s most threatened primates – was born to mom Tilu, age 10, and 19-year-old dad Alven on October 10 after a gestation of around 210 days.

The tiny, pink-faced primate is much too small to be sexed and therefore has not yet been named.

1. Baby silvery gibbon (6)
1. Baby silvery gibbon (6)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo



Gibbons are built for life in the trees and use their extra-long arms to swing from branch to branch, a technique called brachiation. As mom travels in the treetops, her baby clings tightly to her chest using its long fingers.

As the baby matures, it will begin to venture away from mom for brief periods. Like most Apes, Gibbons grow relatively slowly and depend on their mothers for a long period. Females give birth approximately once every three years. Silvery Gibbons are uncommon in zoos.

Silvery Gibbons, also known as Javan Gibbons, are found only on the Indonesian island of Java. These Apes are restricted to mountainous areas with dense forest cover. Though habitat loss is an issue on heavily-populated Java, the areas where Gibbons are found are very remote and rugged, so Gibbon populations have stabilized. Nonetheless, Silvery Gibbons are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Fewer than 5,000 individuals remain in more than 15 locations on the island. Only about half of the Gibbons live in protected areas.  

See more photos of the baby Gibbon below.

Continue reading "Chester Zoo Shares Photos of One-Day-Old Baby Gibbon" »


Baby Talapoin Born to Rescued Parents

BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018Spain’s Bioparc Valencia welcomed a Northern Talapoin, the smallest of all Monkeys found in Africa, on August 21. The birth is significant because it occurred within a group of Talapoins that were confiscated from wildlife smugglers.

BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - talapoines - madre y cría - agosto 2018
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Baby Talapoins are born weighing almost one-quarter of their adult weight. That means a two-pound adult female could deliver a baby weighing one-half pound. (In humans, that would be akin to a 100-pound woman giving birth to a 25-pound baby.)  The baby Talapoins grow rapidly and are weaned by about six weeks of age. The youngsters are independent by the time they are three months old.

Northern Talapoins are not well studied, so this birth allows the zoo to share information on breeding and reproduction with the scientific community.

Because of their small size and unusual greenish coloration, Talapoins are captured and sold illegally as pets. As in most wildlife trafficking, the animals are kept in cruel conditions (such as being stuffed into PVC pipes), and many die in transport. The lucky group at Bioparc Valencia was spared that fate.

Wildlife trafficking remains a significant problem around the globe. Wild animals should never be kept as pets.