September 08, 2022 — Vancouver, B.C. - The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR) was pleased that after three months of rehabilitation the team was able to release harbour seal Timbit. Timbit was the first pup of the 2022 season and found at Blackie Spit in South Surrey. He was initially attended to by Surrey RCMP following a call from a concerned member of the public.
Vancouver, B.C. - The Vancouver Aquarium is excited to share that Steller sea lion Rogue recently gave birth to a healthy male pup, Natoa. Rogue is a first-time mother and doing well under the expert care of our marine mammal and veterinary teams at our private birthing and nursing facilities. Natoa is named after a rookery on Natoa Island in Alaska. Natoa will be living in Seal Cove at the Vancouver Aquarium now and guests are encouraged to come and say hello.
On July 15, a male South American Sea Lion pup was born at Schönbrunn Zoo after a gestation period of almost a year. Young South American Sea Lions can swim and dive from birth. The offspring have already made their first swimming attempts together with the group - always at the side of their mother, who takes good care of them. “Sea lions are excellent swimmers and can dive underwater for up to 15 minutes. For the little one, it's all still a bit exhausting, so they sleep a lot now. He is suckled by his mother for the first 6-8 months, only then do sea fish such as herring, mackerel or sprat appear on his menu. As an adult seal, it will eat around six kilos of fish or even more per day. However, it will be a few years before the young male has reached his father's impressive weight of over 300 kg," reports Zoological Department Head Folko Balfanz.
Stop by to say hi to Milwaukee County Zoo’s newest addition! A female harbor seal pup was born on May 24 to first-time mom, Cossette and Ringo. The pup was born on land and was swimming after 30 minutes.
Meet Emmy! The Louisville Zoo asked fans to help name its female harbor seal pup — and the people have voted “Emmy” as the winner. Emmy was one of three names that also included “Grammy” and “Nobel.” Keepers proposed the award-style names to align with mother, Tonie, and father, Oscar.
The Zoo welcomed Emmy to the world on Friday, April 29, at 1:33 a.m. She shares a birthday with her mother.
In March, Schönbrunn Zoo’s sea lion patriarch had to be euthanized at the age of 19. But the visitors’ favorite sea lion left one last offspring. On July 19th a sea lion pup came into the world. “Female sea lions have a gestation period of almost a year. The mother of the young animal is the female Nina, who gave birth to little Pedro in 2019 and therefore already has experience in raising young", explains zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. In the first few days, the mother and young animal were almost exclusively in the backstage area. Now the baby sea lion is waddling more and more often at the side of its mother in the outdoor area and can be seen by the visitors.
Nina and her offspring live in the mother and young animal area of the sea lion facility. Hering-Hagenbeck: “Maned sea lions live on the coasts of South America. They are able to swim from birth. So far, the young animal has not yet dared to go into the water. Once it is skillful enough on land and in the water, the two of them can join the group. ”Since yesterday the team of keepers has been certain that the young animal is a male. Now keepers are in search of a suitable name. In any case, the little one already knows exactly what he wants. If he is hungry, he loudly draws his mother's attention to himself. The young animal is suckled in the first six to eight months. Slowly he’ll start to nibble playfully at the fish that will later be on the menu.
There was a flurry of activity overnight at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as staff welcomed two little ones—an Asian elephant calf and a California sea lion pup! These exciting births are important milestones and offer hope for the future of these species that are at risk in their native range.
Photo credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Asian Elephant Calf
On Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 8:48 p.m., the Zoo welcomed the much-anticipated birth of a male Asian elephant calf in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region.
As an experienced mother, 33-year-old Phoebe is providing exceptional care to her big bundle of joy. The calf appears to be strong and was observed nursing shortly after birth. While he currently prefers to stand closely between Phoebe’s legs, the calf is also starting to be curious of his surroundings behind the scenes in the Zoo’s elephant and rhino building. He is rather vocal, sometimes emitting a low grumble, and he continues to test out his trunk though he hasn’t quite yet sure figured out how to use it to its fullest potential. Phoebe has remained patient with him and calmly responds to the care team as they observe her and her baby.
Throughout her 22-month pregnancy, the Zoo’s Animal Care team monitored Phoebe closely. Thanks to the incredible bond she shares with her care team Phoebe voluntarily participated in regular ultrasound imaging, which enabled staff to monitor the calf’s development.
The purchase of endocrine equipment in 2018 by donor, Johanna Destefano, allowed the Animal Health team to run daily progesterone tests for Phoebe so they could more accurately predict the birth. On Sunday, June 13, Phoebe’s bloodwork showed that her progesterone levels had dropped enough that the Animal Health and Animal Care teams knew that the birth would happen sometime within the next 72 hours. The Animal Care team shifted from checking Phoebe via remote camera every two hours to monitoring her around the clock and working overnight shifts in the building, where they could be ready to assist as necessary.
Phoebe’s delivery went smoothly, and the arrival of this recent calf is also offering hope for Asian elephant conservation efforts. The pairing of Phoebe and 33-year-old father, Hank, was recommended by the Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. While Phoebe and Hank had the opportunity to breed, this has been unsuccessful in the past and she was artificially inseminated. Artificial insemination is carefully coordinated by animal health experts and enables an elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While this is still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, most successful elephant artificial insemination attempts (approximately 20 in total) have occurred with African elephants. Artificial insemination is very uncommon with Asian elephants, with less than 10 successful outcomes. Two of these scientific achievements have occurred at the Columbus Zoo (with the first time occurring in Phoebe in 2016). Attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations continue to rapidly decline in their native range.
Phoebe came to the Columbus Zoo in January 2002 and resides alongside the other five Asian elephants in the Asia Quest region—males Hank (this calf’s father) and Beco (Phoebe’s son), and females Connie, Sunny and Rudy. This calf is Phoebe’s fourth calf born at the Columbus Zoo and her fifth calf overall. Her last calf, Ellie, sadly passed away a few weeks after her birth in 2018 due to a bacterial infection despite aggressive treatment by the Animal Health team and outside specialists. Just two other live Asian elephants have been born at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history–Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo, and Beco, who was born in 2009 and is still a part of the Columbus Zoo elephant herd.
To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area. When they show they are ready, they will also slowly be introduced to other members of the herd. The Zoo will announce viewing information—as well as more information about the calf’s name—for guests as it becomes available.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species,™ Asian elephants are listed as endangered in their native range across southern and southeastern Asia and are in decline due to various factors including habitat loss/degradation and poaching. The World Elephant Day organization estimates there are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants and less than 400,000 African elephants remaining worldwide.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a long-time supporter of several direct elephant conservation initiatives benefitting both African and Asian elephants, including annual donations to the International Elephant Foundation and several research projects and grants over the last 25 years. Many of these projects have focused on reducing human-elephant conflict and monitoring elephant populations in their native ranges. Additionally, Columbus Zoo staff leads AZA’s SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) Asian Elephant Program, an AZA initiative to leverage their large audiences and collective expertise to save animals from extinction. Zoo guests can also learn about elephant conservation and how they can contribute to the sustainability of this endangered species at the Zoo’s Elephant Conservation Station inside the “Vanishing Giants” building located in the Asia Quest region. Zoo veterinary staff also participate in a national Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) advisory group. The group aims to prevent, diagnose and treat this potentially fatal disease that affects elephants in their native range, and in human care.
Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
California Sea Lion Pup
During the early morning hours of June 17, 2017, the Zoo’s Pinniped team in the Adventure Cove region also had cause to celebrate with the arrival of a sea lion pup!
The pup was born to experienced mom, Lovell, who will be turning 6 years old in July. Lovell is being very attentive to her nursing pup, whose sex has not yet been determined. The pup is already quite active but won’t be ready for swim lessons with mom until Lovell determines her calf is ready. For now, they will continue to bond behind the scenes.
Lovell arrived at the Zoo along with nine other sea lions (six males, three females) and four harbor seals (one male, three females) on May 17, 2020. Because the sea lions all live together for most of the year in a strong social group and there are several males, the father of the pup is currently unknown and will be determined through a blood test.
This most recent pup is the third sea lion pup ever to be born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The first sea lion pup, a female named Sunshine, was also born to Lovell on June 25, 2020. Sunshine still resides at the Columbus Zoo and has become independent of Lovell, making friends with other sea lions. The second sea lion pup at the Columbus Zoo was born to mom, Baby. When the team noticed that male pup, Norval, was not gaining enough weight, they stepped in to assist Baby by providing Norval with supplemental tube feedings. He continues to thrive, and Columbus Zoo guests can sometime catch him with Sunshine and another sea lion, Banana.
Guests can find the sea lions at the Zoo’s newest region, Adventure Cove, which opened in 2020. Thanks to the support of voters who passed the last levy and contributions from generous donors, the Columbus Zoo began construction in October 2017 on this brand-new, state-of-the-art region. Adventure Cove features a Pacific Northwest-inspired rocky coast and harbor setting for the sea lions and seals; Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, a colorfully-themed and immersive village highlighting animals from all around the world; and updated existing attractions.
Adventure Cove also furthers the Zoo’s commitment to sea lion rehabilitation initiatives led by institutions accredited by the AZA. The Columbus Zoo has provided financial support for years for rescue and rehabilitation efforts by The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito, Calif., and the Zoo’s Animal Health staff have trained with the MMC to nurse stranded and injured marine mammals back to health while expanding their knowledge of sea lions and seals.
Although California sea lions are not listed as a species of concern, the situation for sea lions in their native range is increasingly dire because there are a rising number of pup strandings. As climate change forces the mothers to hunt further away from shore, more of them are not coming back, leaving pups orphaned and unable to care for themselves. The MMC takes in many of these animals and works to restore them to health.
While Lovell and her pup will likely stay in the behind-the-scenes area for the near future to continue to bond and so that Lovell and the sea lion care team can ensure that the baby meets all of the important growth and development milestones (including swimming) before graduating into the larger habitat, guests who reserve a Behind the Marina Sea Lion Tour will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the pair and learn more about this intelligent, playful species. The experience is one of several new offerings designed to further inspire guests to connect with wildlife and take action to help protect these species’ future. Additional information can be found on the Zoo’s website under the Tours and Virtual Experiences page
Some very lucky aquarium visitors were treated to an unusual surprise on Memorial Day this year. A California sea lion pup (Zalophus californianus) was born in full view of the morning crowd. The pup, which has yet to receive its name, is healthy and doing great.
“It is unusual for visitors to have the opportunity to witness the birth of an animal at the aquarium,” said Craig Piper, interim New York Aquarium Director and WCS Director of City Zoos. “Aquarium staff were on hand to answer questions from the guests, and our keepers and veterinarians continue to closely monitor the pup’s development. This is a special birth that has been a wonderful experience for everyone.”
The youngster is the first offspring for mother, Ariana. She is attentive and protective of the pup and is proving to be a great mom. As the two bond and the pup matures, the ability for guests to view the pair may be temporarily limited. Keepers have not yet been able to determine the pup’s gender.
California sea lions are the only species that are exhibited in all five WCS parks in New York City – the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium. Individuals are periodically moved between the parks for breeding to ensure the population is sustainable and genetically healthy.
The New York Aquarium’s sea lion breeding program has been very successful in recent years. This is the 5th pup born at the aquarium since its first in 2010.
Taronga Zoo Sydney’s three-month-old long-nosed fur seal pup Birubi made her official debut at Taronga’s Seal Bay this week, just in time for the Easter School Holidays.
Birubi was born on December 21, 2020, to first-time mum Keke and was the first long-nosed fur seal pup to be born at Taronga in over twenty years. Just over three months old, Birubi has gone from strength to strength, with her size more than doubling since birth. Guests will have the pleasure of watching her find her flippers and may even be lucky enough to witness her take her first swim as she is now officially on display at Taronga’s Seal Bay!
Although she may be pint-sized, the little pup has a very confident personality and always has, according to keepers. “She loves to follow all of us around and is so intrigued by new people and items,” says Keeper Lindsay Wright. “It has been such a pleasure to watch Keke become a mother to Birubi, it is so crucial that they continue to be advocates for their wild counterparts,” says Wright.
Before conquering the depths of Taronga’s Seal Bay, seal pups need to master a few natural behaviours, which includes learning how to swim. Thus, Birubi and mum Keke has been spending most of their time off display in Taronga’s purpose-built pupping nursery. This facility has an adjustable floor which allows keepers to lower or increase the depth of the water. This allows the pup to grow in confidence with swimming before they are exposed to deeper waters.
Like most babies, Birubi will require some downtime to rest and re-energise. The best time to see her exploring and investigating her new environment is between 9.30 am-12.30 pm at Taronga’s Seal Bay.
Birubi joins a number of new arrivals these Easter School Holidays including Humphrey the koala joey, a Tree Kangaroo joey, seven Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys and of course Amalie an Australian sea lion pup!
Guests can also take advantage of their “Dine and Discover” vouchers and receive $25 off the purchase of their Zoo ticket and animal encounters as well as $25 off any food and beverage purchase. To find out more and book your tickets, please head to www.taronga.org.au/buy-tickets
Taronga Zoo Sydney is celebrating the birth of an adorable female Long-nosed Fur Seal pup, who made her entrance into the world on 21 December 2020.
The pup, who is now three weeks old, was born to first-time mum Keke and is the first long-nosed fur seal pup to be born at Taronga Zoo in more than two decades.
Keepers report mum and pup are doing extremely well and are getting to know one another in the quiet surrounds of the a purpose-built seal nursery.
Seal pups are not born knowing how to swim, so Keke will spend the next little while giving some swimming lessons before the pair are ready to venture from the nursery.
The little pup was just 3.58kg when she was first born, but has been suckling well and now weighs in at just over 4kg.
Keke is a rescue seal and was bought to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital in 2012 after she was found in Sydney Harbour with injuries from a boat strike. After prolonged treatment she was deemed not to be a suitable candidate for release.
An inquisitive and curious seal, Keke has spent the last few years engaging guests at the Seals for the Wild, powered by Red Energy.
While this little pup is not yet on display, visitors to Taronga can still see Amalie, an adorable five-month-old Australia Sea-lion, who is full of fun antics.
Taronga Zoo is open every day of the school holidays with more than 4,000 animals too meet from around the Whole WILD World.