St. Louis Zoo

The New Year Brings Insect Baby Bounty

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The Insectarium at the St. Louis Zoo rang in the New Year with numerous hatchings on January 1. The hatchlings are being cared for behind the scenes, but many of the adults can be seen on exhibit.

A total of 39 walking sticks of varying species came into the world, starting with eight giant spiny walking sticks, whose natural habitat is the forests of Papua New Guinea. The babies are not so giant though -- they measure only about one inch (2.54 cm) compared to 5-6 inches (12-15 cm) for adults, which can be easily seen when the baby catches a ride on the back of an adult. Males have huge spines on their back legs which are like built-in weapons to help defend themselves if attacked by other males or potential predators. The total hatchlings that day also included 30 Northern walking stick babies, a species native to forests and woodlands across the U.S., and one lone Vietnamese walking stick, native to tropical forests of Vietnam.

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In addition, there were 67 baby white-spotted assassin bugs, 3 of which are pictured above, whose natural habitat is forests of Africa. When hatched, this venomous bug is a tiny yellow, red and brown carnivore -- an opportunistic feeder that eats crickets but has been known to eat small lizards! As an adult, the assassin has two white or two red spots on its back and lives from 18 months to two years.  

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Photo Credits: St. Louis Zoo

Also hatched: Three greater angle-winged katydids, one of whom is pictured above, whose natural habitat is Missouri. Their light green color easily helps them hide among leafy environments.

Ozark Hellbender Salamander Success!

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The Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Department of Conservation today announced that Ozark hellbenders have been successfully bred in captivity - a first for either of the two subspecies of hellbender. This decade-long collaboration has yielded 63 baby hellbenders so far. Both parents are wild bred: the male has been at the zoo for the past two years and the female arrived this past September.

The first hatched on November 15, and approximately 120 additional eggs are expected to hatch within the next week. Behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Herpetarium, the eggs are maintained in climate and water quality-controlled trays. For 45 to 60 days after emerging, the tiny larvae will retain their yolk sack for nutrients and move very little as they continue developing. They will begin to grow legs, and eventually lose their external gills by the time they reach 1.5 to 2 years of age. 

Once the captive-bred larvae are 3 to 8-years-old, they can then be released into their natural habitat the Ozark aquatic ecosystem. They are kept in elaborate facilities that recreate the ideal environment in which they can thrive in during that time. 

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Photo Credit: MarkWanner/SaintLouisZoo

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Miniature Burro Makes An Entrance!

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Nina may be a Miniature Burro, but she made a pretty big entrance into the world at the St. Louis' Children's Zoo this week. Her mom, Miss Barney, gave birth to the little foal on Tuesday morning, October 4, 2011, in full view of on-looking visitors, Zoo staff and volunteers.

Almost immediately mom began to clean her. Soon after Nina wobbled onto all four legs, she started nursing. Nina weighs 31 pounds and stands 23 inches tall. She can be seen with her mother and "Aunt Patches" at the Children's Zoo. Miss Barney and Patches came to the Saint Louis Zoo this summer.

Donkeys are the smallest member of the horse family and are herbivores. Ancestors of the mini burro, or miniature donkey, come from the island of Sicily near the Mediterranean Sea.

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Photo Credit: Michael Abbene

Little Lioness Born at St. Louis Zoo

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A litter of two African lion cubs was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on July 17. While one of the two females was stillborn, the mother lion, Cabara, age 5, seemed to be interested in caring for her surviving cub. After about six days, however, the little cub appeared dehydrated and so was removed for hand-rearing at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital. As a result she appears to be quite healthy after three weeks of hand-feeding! Her name is Imani, which means “faith” in Swahili

“What happens sometimes with a big cat nursing a single cub is that she doesn’t have enough stimulation for lactation and may not produce enough milk,” according to Steve Bircher, curator of mammals/carnivores at the Saint Louis Zoo. “In the future, we hope that Cabara will give birth to a larger litter and raise them successfully.” Several hours each day, keepers return her to a den next to her mother. The staff hopes to reintroduce the cub and mother sometime in the future. 


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Photo Credit: Rachael Macy/Saint Louis Zoo

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It's A Girl! Baby Asian Elephant Born at St. Louis Zoo

The Saint Louis Zoo announced the birth of a female Asian elephant on June 24, 2011, to mom Rani, who is 15 years old.

"Mother and baby are bonding very well," says Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around." The elephant care staff hasn't yet confirmed the weight or height, because Rani is being very protective of her newborn.

This is Rani's second baby and the third for Raja, the baby's father. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Now, at age 18, he has his own family, with daughter Maliha, born on August 2, 2006, and Rani's first daughter, Jade, born February 25, 2007.

"The River's Edge staff has been busy preparing for this particular baby for the past two years, says Fischer. "It's so rewarding to have made it to this day. We are all just overjoyed to have the baby with us and welcome a new member to our family."


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Photo Credit: Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo

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First Colobus Monkey Born in Eleven Years!

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On May 20, a male Colobus Monkey was born at the St.Louis Zoo in Missouri. His name is Mosi. This is the first Colobus to be born at the Zoo in 11 years. 

The Zoo said Tuesday that mom Roberta, 23 years old, has been an attentive mother, holding the baby with one arm when moving around and against her abdomen when at rest in the Zoo's Primate House. Mosi is very active; after only a few days in the world he was seen hopping from mom to the ground and back!

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Photo credits: Photos 1 & 2 Ethan Riepl, Photo 3 Robin Winkelman

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Little Leopard Cub Meets the Snow

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A critically endangered Amur Leopard cub, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on October 8, 2010 made her public debut last week and proved quite adventurous. The little female, Anastasia, has been with her mother, Mona, in a maternity den for the past three months. Now she can explore trees, rocks and even snow with her mother in her outdoor habitat. The Amur Leopard is considered one of the most endangered cats in the world.  It is believed fewer than 40 Amur Leopards remain in the coniferous forests of Primorye Province in far eastern Russia. Loss of habitat due to logging activities, human encroachment and poaching are some of the threats to their survival in the wild.

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Amur Leopard cub gets a tongue bath from mom 2Photo credits: Saint Louis Zoo

The Saint Louis Zoo’s Amur Leopards are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program responsible for maintaining a genetically healthy population of Amur Leopards in North American zoos. The birth of this rare cub is a valuable genetic contribution to the North American group. In all, the population of Amur Leopards in zoos all around the world numbers just about 300 individuals. This small number and their lack of genetic diversity is a serious threat to their future.

More about Anastasia and Mona below the fold

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First Baby Black Rhino in 20 Years for St. Louis

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On January 14th, the St. Louis Zoo welcomed its first Black Rhinoceros calf in 20 years to first-time parents, mother Kati Rain and father Ajabu. Weighing in at a dainty 120-1/2 pounds, the little male is nursing well and being cared for by his mother, according to Zoo staff. The Black Rhino has experienced the most drastic decline of any rhino species. In 1970, it was thought there were about 65,000 black rhinos in Africa. By 1993, there were only 2,300 survivors in the wild. Black rhinos are heavily poached, because it is thought in many Asian countries that the rhino horn has medicinal uses.

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Mom imparts important rhino wisdom to juniorPhoto credits: St. Louis Zoo

The Saint Louis Zoo’s black rhinos are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Black Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of black rhinos in North American zoos. Currently there are 60 black rhinos in 38 institutions.

More pictures below the fold

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"Joey" to the World!

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A little Zoo present has popped up just in time to give a pounce of holiday cheer! “Nokopo” (pronounced NOH-koh-poh), a female Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey, has begun poking her head out from within her mother’s pouch at their habitat in Emerson Children’s Zoo at the Saint Louis Zoo. Six months ago Nokopo, nicknamed Noko, was born the size of a lima bean. She immediately moved into her mother’s pouch to be nurtured and developed, and has since grown to be the size of a small cat. She is named after a village in Papua New Guinea.




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Little Camel Cuddles with Mom

Bactrian camels are critically endangered in the wild and the St. Louis Zoo is helping to preserve the species with their latest birth. This shaggy little male calf, born to parents Minnie and Elvis, will reach 1,600-1,800 lbs. in adulthood! Camels are famous for carrying people across the deserts of the Middle East and Africa but they actually originated in North America and migrated across the Bering Strait. 

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