Primate

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

Baby Baboon born 20181103-4311

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. 

Baby Baboon born 20181103-3145
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.

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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_n
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.

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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.


Newborn Lemur Saved by Zoo Vets

White belted ruffed lemur baby - Wild Place Project (3)

Veterinarians and keepers carried out a rare procedure to save the life of a Critically Endangered newborn Lemur at Wild Place Project.

They stepped in just hours after the tiny White-belted Ruffed Lemur and his two siblings were born.  The babies’ mother, Ihosy, was not showing any interest in them. The little Lemurs, each smaller than a stick of butter, were getting cold and dehydrated.

White belted ruffed lemurs begin to suckle
White belted ruffed lemurs begin to sucklePhoto Credit: Wild Place Project

After the smallest of three died, the staff decided to take the unusual step of intervening to try to save the other two. Ihosy was given a mild anesthetic and taken with her babies to the animal care center at Wild Place Project, which is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society.

As Ihosy slept peacefully, the team placed the two babies on her belly so they could begin feeding. One of the babies was too weak and later died, but the third pulled through and is now feeding regularly and is being cared for by Ihosy.

Zoo veterinarian Sara Shopland said, “Ihosy reared two babies last year and was a good mum so we didn’t expect this complication. This is quite a rare procedure and it’s not something we commonly do but we decided we had to act.”

Ihosy and her surviving baby are now in their nest box at Wild Place Project where vets and keepers are keeping regular checks on them.

Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place project, said, “Ihosy is now looking after her surviving baby and all the signs are good. It was a great effort by my team and the vet team and we are so pleased that one of the triplets has survived.”

Every White-belted Ruffed Lemur is crucially important to the future of the subspecies which has undergone a population decline of 80 percent in just 21 years. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now considers them to be at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The main threats to the species in the wild are habitat loss due to slash-and-burn and commercial agriculture, logging and mining, as well as hunting for meat.

See more photos of the newborn Lemur below.

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Ring-tailed Lemur Twins Venture Outdoors

Lemur Baby with rope 2018-Carla Knapp

With the slow arrival of spring in the Midwest, visitors to the Indianapolis Zoo had to wait a few weeks before meeting two Ring-tailed Lemurs born on March 14. But the twins finally went outdoors for the first time on a warm, sunny day late last week.

Bree wBabies outside3 2018-Carla Knapp
Bree wBabies outside2 2018-Carla KnappPhoto Credit: Carla Knapp/Indianapolis Zoo

The babies were born to experienced mother Bree, who is attentive and nurturing with her newborns. The one-month-old twins are growing fast, and they have already transitioned from clinging to Bree’s belly to riding on her back.  They’ve begun to explore their surroundings, but never venture far from mom.

The babies’ genders are not yet known, so they have not been named. Twins are common in this species.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar, where they live in social groups of a dozen or more individuals. These primates feed, huddle, and sunbathe together.

The clearing of Madagascar’s forests for pasture and agricultural land has severely affected Ring-tailed Lemurs, which rely on trees for food and shelter. Recent studies estimate that only about 2,000 Ring-tailed Lemurs remain in the wild. The species is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

See more photos of the twin Lemurs below.

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Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch

14 de marzo 2018 - La gorila Fossey y su bebé recién nacido - BIOPARC Valencia (2)-min

Visitors to Spain’s Bioparc Valencia witnessed a special moment when Fossey, a Western Lowland Gorilla, gave birth in the exhibit habitat at about 4:00 pm on March 8.

The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is the fourth baby of this Critically Endangered species to be born at Bioparc Valencia in the last five years.

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8-marzo-nace-el-cuarto-gorila-valenciano-en-BIOPARCPhoto Credit: Bioparc Valencia

This is the first baby for 18-year-old Fossey, who is named for American primatologist Dian Fossey.  Silverback Mambie is the father of all four babies born at Bioparc Valencia.

The Gorilla family at Bioparc Valencia is large and stable, which contributes to a tranquil setting for newborns. The group consists of three adult females, one silverback, and youngsters Ebo, 5, Virunga, 19 months, and Mbeli, 5 months.

To prepare for the birth, the Gorilla team gave the entire group access to indoor and outdoor quarters all day and all night. This allowed the new mom to find a comfortable space to deliver her baby. Gorillas are naturally social, and the other members of the troop immediately came to meet the new baby. The young Gorillas in particular showed a great deal of interest in their new half-sibling.

The new baby will play a vital role in the European Gorilla Conservation Program, a cooperative effort of European zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and sustainable Gorilla population.

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the mountain forests of central Africa. The total population is around 150,000 – 250,000 individuals, but declines at a rate of 2.5% per year. The number one threat to this species is poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of Gorillas for body parts. Gorillas are hunted even in protected areas. Diseases, including Ebola virus, are another serious threat.   

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

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