Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Red Panda Duo Debuts at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, is pleased to announce the birth of two Red Pandas. The male cubs, named Pumori and Rohan, were born on June 25. The zoo estimates that the cubs weighed around two to three ounces at birth, as staff was hands-off for the first 10 days of life. Rohan currently weighs a little over one pound and Pumori a little under.

Their mother, Tabei, is a two-year-old first-time mom. Their father, Ketu, is a four-year-old first-time dad. He came to Syracuse from Hamilton Zoo, in New Zealand, and is valuable to the genetic pool of the North American Red Panda population. 

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4_RGZ red panda 5_Pumori_MariaSimmonsPhoto Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Like his father Ketu, little Pumori is named after a Himalayan mountain. Rohan means  “ascend” in Sanskrit. Their mother, Tabei, is named after Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. These Red Panda cubs are important to the North American population and a testament to the hard work of our zoo staff. I commend the dedicated keepers and veterinarians for their continued success,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very proud of our Red Panda parents, Tabei and Ketu, and the work of our animal staff. We continue to have a successful Red Panda breeding program here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of the Species Survival Plan. The births of Pumori and Rohan will help ensure the survival of this endangered species,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox.

Red Pandas are born blind. Their mother cares for them for the first two to three months of life, until they are weaned. They typically open their eyes around two to three weeks of age. Pumori and Rohan are currently being weaned and will be on exhibit during the day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the zoo’s former birthday party room, located near the Jungle Café seating area. (Schedule subject to change.)

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Baby Elephant Is Third Generation At Rosamond Gifford Zoo

DSC_0041_CassieGuerraWhat kind of baby weighs 281 pounds and stands three feet tall at birth?  The newest member of Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s Asian Elephant herd!

DSC_0018_JaimeAlvarezPhoto Credits:  Jaime Alvarez (3,7,8,9); Cassie Guerra (1,2,4,5,6)

Eighteen-year-old Mali gave birth to the male calf on Tuesday, May 12.  The calf’s father is 17-year-old Doc.  The calf hasn’t been named yet.

The calf represents the third generation of his family to live at the zoo.  His grandmother Targa gave birth to Mali in 1997.  This calf is Mali’s second offspring.  Another female is expecting a baby later this summer, which will bring to total number of Elephants in the herd to eight.

Asian Elephants are highly social animals, so the calves will thrive in the herd with their mother, grandmother, and “aunties” to look after them. 

The calf’s birth was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Asian Elephants to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in the North American population of this endangered species.  Only about 35,000 of these magnificent beasts remain in the wild. 

See more photos of the Elephant calf below.

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Rosamond Gifford Zoo ‘Feeling Cheesy’ about Otter Duo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to two new North American River Otters. The adorable male pups were born March 8th to six-year-old mom, ‘Brie’, and nine-year-old dad, ‘Johann’, and the cheese-tastic newborns have been named ‘Monterey’ and ‘Jack’. 



RGZotters_5_JaimeAlvarezPhoto Credits: Jaime Alvarez (Images:1,2,4,5,6,7,8); Maria Simmons (Images:3,9)

The pups weighed about four ounces at birth and were born blind. Newborn otters don’t open their eyes till about four to five weeks of age, and they require significant care by their mother in order to survive. Due to this fact, and Brie’s previously unsuccessful attempts at rearing offspring, zoo staff installed cameras in the otter’s nest box. This has allowed keepers to monitor her pregnancy, and due to their observations, staff made the decision to pull her pups for hand-rearing.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. Our animal staff has had remarkable success over the years in hand-rearing animals. I wish them continued success with these new otter pups and commend them for their hard work,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very pleased to welcome Monterey and Jack and look forward to their growth and development over the next few months,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox. “Their father, Johann, is extremely energetic and a guest favorite. The eventual introduction of the pups to the otter exhibit will prove to be a very exciting time for our guests and staff.”

Monterey and Jack will be introduced to the otter exhibit at a later date. For now, the zoo intends for guests to observe feedings. While the pups are being raised behind the scenes, parents Brie and Johann can still be seen daily in the otter habitat, located in the social animal area of the zoo. 

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Good Things Come in Threes


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, recently announced that three new Humboldt Penguin chicks had hatched in the last three weeks.



IMG_6985Photo Credits: Maria Simmons/Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The zoo’s 40th chick hatched on January 9 to ‘Mario’ and ‘Montaña’ and weighed 79 grams. The 41st chick hatched on January 17 to ‘Frederico’ and ‘Poquita’ and weighed 65 grams. The 42nd chick hatched on January 21 to ‘Frederico’ and ‘Poquita’ and weighed 61 grams.

Zoo staff were able to determine a gender for the 41st chick, and it’s a girl! Staff asked local County Executive, Joanie Mahoney, to help name the chick. She chose ‘Lucia’, which means “light.”

Ted Fox, zoo director, said, “The Rosamond Gifford Zoo continues to play an important role in conserving Humboldt Penguins. Penguins from our colony will travel to other zoos and aquariums to ensure efforts to continue populating the species.”

Humboldt Penguins live along the coast of Peru and Chile in the Humboldt Current. They are endangered, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 surviving in the wild.The three chicks will remain under the care of their parents until they are weaned.  They will join the rest of the colony on exhibit at the zoo’s Penguin Coast, later this spring.

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Hand-raised Sloth Thrives at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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A little Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth is being hand-raised at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in New York. The young Sloth, a female, has named named Araña, the Spanish word for spider.

Says Zoo Director Ted Fox, “It is extremely rare for Sloths to be hand-reared, especially from such a very early age. The dynamic of our Sloth group led us to make the decision to hand-raise her, and we could not be more pleased with the remarkable success we have had.”

Born on August 1, Araña is the 49th Sloth baby to be born at the zoo, but the first to be hand-raised. Hand-raising a baby Sloth is not an easy task; zoos seldom choose to hand-raise Sloths, as past attempts have rarely been successful. But little Araña is thriving under very dedicated and careful attention, making the Rosamond Gifford Zoo the first known zoo in the United States to successfully hand-raise a Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth. 

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6 slothPhoto credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo / Jaime Alvarez

Hand-raised Sloth babies are typically habituated through hands-on contact with their keepers and supplemental feedings, but remain with their mothers. Other U.S. zoos have hand-reared the Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, and the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica has had success in hand-raising the Hoffmann’s. 

“Our zoo has a long history with Hoffmann’s Two-toed sloths; the species first arrived here in 1983. I commend the animal staff for their excellent work in caring for Araña, particularly given her unique situation,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Sloths are adapted for life in the tree canopy in lowland and upland tropical forests, and are native to Central America and northern South America, including portions of Peru and central Brazil. They are nocturnal and the world's slowest mammal, typically sleeping 15 hours or more each day. They travel hand-over-hand through the tree tops up to 120 feet (36 m) off the ground, and only venture to the ground about once a week.

Hoffman's Two-toed Sloths have long and well-developed limbs with two long, curved claws on their front feet and three on their hind, which enable them to hang upside down from tree limbs. They have difficulty with mobility on the ground because they are physically incapable of truly walking, but are actually good swimmers using a type of overhand stroke.

Sloths are not on the endangered species list. However, their habitat is quickly being destroyed, leaving them homeless and vulnerable to a decrease in their population size. They are part of a Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. These programs coordinate breeding between zoos, so that populations in captivity can retain healthy genetic diversity. 

Baby Reindeer Enjoys the Sunshine at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the birth of a female Reindeer, the first born to parents Tundra (mother) and Klondike (father). They welcomed the calf in the early morning hours on May 4. The newborn was immediately given the name Derby by her keepers, in honor of her birth on Derby Day (the running of the Kentucky Derby). She weighed approximately 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg) -- the largest Reindeer calf to be born at the zoo to date. Derby currently weighs 55 pounds (25 kg) and has recently been enjoying forays out in the sunny yard with the herd.

Although called by different names in North America, wild Caribou and domestic Reindeer are considered to be the same species throughout the world. They are native to the Arctic and Subarctic regions, living in the tundra and taiga, and boreal forests of North America and northern Eurasia.

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Deer herd

Photo Credit: Amelia Beamish / Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Reindeer migrate over great distances throughout the year, moving between calving and wintering grounds. Their migratory patterns shift according to the season and help minimize overgrazing and ensure ample food supply for the herd. Unlike others of the Deer family, both male and female Reindeer grow antlers. The antlers have a distinctive “velvet” appearance, comprised of skin, blood vessels, and soft brown fur. Each year, antlers are shed: bulls lose their antlers after the rut and females lose theirs after giving birth in the spring.

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Meet Little Moose, Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Newest Fennec Fox Kit

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County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo staff to introduce their newest Fennec Fox kit. Born on the afternoon of March 23 to parents Rhiona and Copper, he weighed approximately 40 grams (that's less than a hard-boiled egg). Regardless of his diminutive size, he was named Moose! Today, at just about two months old, he's half-grown at 455 grams. Mahoney said, “It’s great to see yet another testament of the zoo staffs’ dedication to furthering animal conservation and protecting endangered species.”

Ted Fox, Curator and Zoo Director siad, “Fennec Fox parents are very cautious and elusive during the kit rearing process. Due to their acute hearing and sensitivity, reproduction of Fennec Foxes in a zoological setting is a challenge. Hand-raising this kit will habituate him to close contact with humans, helping him to become a confident and well-adjusted adult.”

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Fen port

Photo Credit: Photos 1,2: Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Photo 3: CNY News

Fennec Foxes are found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. One of the smallest of canines, Fennec Foxes are well built for their natural habitat. Their nocturnal habits help them survive in the searing heat of the desert environment, and some physical adaptations help, as well. Their distinctive bat-like ears act like natural air conditioners, radiating heat away from their bodies, and allowing them to hear the movements of predators and prey over long distances. They have long, thick hair that insulates them during cold nights and protects them from the hot sun during the day. Even the bottoms of their feet are hairy, which acts as a barrier against the extremely hot sand in their native desert environment.

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UPDATE! Baby Patas Monkey Gets Her Name

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”We are pleased to announce that our youngest Patas Monkey is a girl,” said Ted Fox, Director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. “She has been named Zarina.” And so the result of the naming contest for the New York Zoo's newest baby monkey was known.  

After the birth of the baby on November 30, the public was asked to vote on names. Since the baby is female, the choices were: Cheche, Kenya and Zarina. After nearly a week of voting, Zarina rose to the top with 54.5 percent of the votes. Marishka Biela, age 7, of Bernhard’s Bay, had submitted the winning name in 2011. It is an African word meaning “golden.”

Zarina is the second offspring to parents Sara and M.J.  Her brother Ty was born earlier in the year, on January 17. She also has two half sisters, D.J. and Kibibi. You can read all about the baby, see several great pictures and watch another video of her HERE on ZooBorns.

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Patas CU

Photo Credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo  

Watch below as she practices a few wobbly steps to catch up with Mom.

Help Name this Baby Patas Monkey!


New York’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of its fourth Patas Monkey in just under two years. Parents Sara and M.J. welcomed the new baby early in the evening on November 30. You can get a peek at the new baby via web cam.

Though the baby’s gender is not yet known, you are invited to help the staff choose a name so they’ll have a moniker ready when the sex is determined.  Cast your vote here by 4 PM EST December 19.

Girl                               Boy                                        

Cheche                        Harry Patas
Kenya                          Jabari
Zarina                          Jabu




The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is one of only 15 American zoos to house Patas Monkeys. “The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is working diligently to increase the Patas Monkey population,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. They are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) - a collaborative effort between AZA zoos to help ensure their survival. 

Patas Monkeys are members of the Guenon family, a diverse group of African monkeys found from the rain forests of Western Africa to the savannahs of Kenya. Patas Monkeys are one of the fastest primates, capable of reaching speeds of 30 mph. Patas are recognized by a black brow ridge and nose, as well as by a distinctive white area surrounding their mouths that resembles a mustache.

Photo credit:  Terri Redhead

Name These New Snow Leopard Cubs!


Syracuse, New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo is proud to announce the birth of its first Snow Leopard cubs in 14 years! Born June 14th to parents Zena and Senge, the cubs are set to be on exhibit daily from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. To mark the rare occasion, Rosamond Gifford Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a contest for the cubs.

Guidelines for the Snow Leopard cub naming contest:

  • Entrants may submit name suggestions via the zoo website at
  • Suggestions must be received by 4:00 p.m. on August 22.
  • Preference will be given to names that originate from languages of the Snow Leopards’ native countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar).
  • Entrants must complete all fields on the entry form; incomplete entries will not be considered.
  • The contest is open to those 5 and older.
  • Each entrant may submit two name suggestions – one per cub.
  • A committee at the zoo will select the top names of those suggested.
  • The top names will be posted on the zoo’s web site from August 27 through August 30 and the public will vote on their favorites.
  • The winning names will be announced at the zoo on September 4.



Photo credits: Amelia Beamish

Snow Leopards are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP)—a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. Snow Leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. It is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,500 Snow Leopards left in the wild. There are currently 137 Snow Leopards in 63 zoos in the United States.  As first time parents, Zena and Senge are genetically valuable within the captive population and will likely have the opportunity to breed again in the future.

Snow Leopards are found in the mountains of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar (Burma). They prefer steep, rugged terrain with cliffs, ridges, gullies and slopes interspersed with rocky outcrops. The cat’s habitat is among the least productive of the world’s rangelands due to low temperatures, high aridity and harsh climatic conditions. Very little is known about the social behavior of Snow Leopards in the wild.