Toronto Zoo

Orangutans Sekali and Budi Are Expecting

TORONTO, ON, Thursday, October 7, 2021: Twenty-nine-year-old Sumatran orangutan Sekali is going to be a mother again! She and father-to-be Budi (a fifteen-year-old male Sumatran orangutan) were paired at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), and the Toronto Zoo is thrilled to further contribute to the future of this critically endangered species. Sekali has had one previous offspring (male Kembali, who still lives at the Toronto Zoo); Budi is a first-time father.

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Endangered Baby Zebra at Toronto Zoo Has a Name

The Toronto Zoo announced last month that Tori, a ten-year-old female endangered Grevy's zebra (Equus grevyi), gave birth to a healthy foal in the early morning hours on Tuesday December 1, 2020 weighing 52.1 kilograms… and it’s a boy! This is the fourth foal for mom Tori and the fifth for dad Jake, a thirteen-year-old male. This foal, born as part of the Grevy's Zebra Species Survival Plan (SSP), will help to increase Jake’s underrepresented genetics within the population. Both mom and foal are doing well.

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“We are so pleased to welcome this healthy and energetic foal to your Toronto Zoo and be contributing to the population of this endangered species,” says Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo. “With only 3000 individuals remaining in the wild, this is a great example of the critical work done by our world class wildlife care team at the Toronto Zoo to protect this species,” he added.

The Grevy’s zebra has been listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for decades. Habitat loss, competition with livestock, and poaching are their primary threats. The Toronto Zoo is part of the AZA Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan (SSP), building our understanding of these incredible animals and supporting field conservation efforts for the species.

Now Toronto Zoo has announced the Grevy’s zebra foal, affectionately known as #BBZeeBee, has a name! With over 8,500 people voting in the “Help Us Name #BBZeeBee" promotion, one name has emerged as the favorite… introducing, Poe! Poe was chosen through online voting from a list of four preselected names, in keeping with the tradition of naming their Grevy’s zebra offspring after Star Wars inspired names, previous zebra babies were named Luke, Leia, Rey and Obi. The naming promotion was launched on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 and ran through Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 11:59 pm.


Cast Your Vote For "Baby Red's" Name!

 

In the late afternoon of Tuesday, July 14, 2020 The Toronto Zoo welcomed an endangered female red panda cub, affectionately known as #BabyRed, and they need YOUR help to give her a name! Beginning Saturday, September 19, 2020 – in celebration of International Red Panda Day - through Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm vote at torontozoo.com for your favorite from the selected names below:

Ada - meaning first daughter, happy, prosperous, adored
Adira - meaning strong
Apple - mom's favorite treat
Kenna - meaning born from fire

ZooBorns will cast a vote on your behalf as well! Watch this behind-the-scenes "A Day In The Life Of A Keeper" video and vote in the comments. We'll tally up the votes and submit the most popular name to Toronto Zoo.


Red River Hoglets Born at Toronto Zoo

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Photo Credit: The Toronto Zoo

A pair of Red River Hogs was born at The Toronto Zoo on February 17, and the zoo announced their arrival on National Pig Day, March 1.

The two hoglets were born to mom Tisa and dad Sir Philip Pigglesworth III. The care team says Tisa is providing expert care for her babies. This is the first litter for both parents, and the third litter of Red River Hogs born in the zoo’s history.

Tisa and her hoglets are behind the scenes in a maternity den, so they can’t yet be seen by zoo visitors. The hoglets spend the day nursing and exploring the den.

Red River Hogs are one of the most colorful members of the Pig family. They are native to western and central Africa, where they search for roots and tubers on the forest floor. As their name suggests, these Hogs often live near lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Red River Hogs live in small harems, with a single adult male and a few females with their young.

At this time, Red River Hogs are not under threat and populations are stable.


Toronto Zoo’s Pygmy Hippo Calf Needs a Name

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The Toronto Zoo’s endangered Pygmy Hippopotamus calf made her public debut on September 19 in the Zoo’s African Rainforest Pavilion!

Twelve-year-old mom, Kindia, gave birth to the female calf on August 10. The pair will be on exhibit daily from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. However, this schedule is subject to change as there may be times when she is brought inside the Pygmy Hippo Maternity Area for feeding and to enable our Veterinary and Wildlife Care teams to closely monitor her progress.

The Toronto Zoo launched their “Name Our Pygmy Hippopotamus Calf” promotion on Friday, September 21, 2018! The Zoo is asking the public to vote for their favourite name from a group of four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her Wildlife Care keeping staff.

You can cast your vote here: https://woobox.com/rhd5qk Voting ends Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 11:59 pm, and the name receiving the most votes will be announced as the winner on Thursday, October 4, 2018.

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Please cast your vote here: https://woobox.com/rhd5qk   / Photo Credits: Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is celebrating this recent birth as very important for Pygmy Hippopotamus conservation. The species (Choeropsis liberiensis) is currently listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and there are approximately only 2,000 to 3,000 left in the wild in West Africa, with Liberia having the majority of the population. Small numbers are also found in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. Over the past 100 years, the Pygmy Hippo’s habitat has declined dramatically as a result of logging, farming and human settlement. As deforestation continues and their habitat becomes more fragmented, newly accessible populations are coming under increasing pressure from hunters.

The Toronto Zoo is part of the Pygmy Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. One of the Toronto Zoo's mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet.

The Toronto Zoo is in a great position to bring forward the plight of the Pygmy Hippopotamus and supports Hippopotamus conservation efforts in the wild through keeper awareness events and the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.


Rub-a-dub-dub, A Pygmy Hippo In The Tub

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A Pygmy Hippo calf born at The Toronto Zoo on August 10 is already hugely popular thanks to videos shared by her care team that show her climbing, snuggling, taking a bath, and being generally adorable.

Born to mom Kindia and dad Harvey, the female calf is the first to be born at the zoo in more than 20 years. Pygmy Hippos are pregnant for 180-210 days. So far, Kindia is being an excellent mom and the calf nurses from her regularly. Pygmy Hippo calves nurse for six to eight months, and they begin eating solid foods around two to four months of age.

The calf has not yet been named.

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 1Photo Credit: The Toronto Zoo




 

At birth, Pygmy Hippos weigh about 10 – 14 pounds. This little calf is gaining weight steadily, and already weighed more than 25 pounds at three weeks of age. Adults weigh 400-600 pounds.

Each morning, the baby gets a bath so she can get clean and become acclimated to water, which is where adult hippos spend much of their time. Her care team notes that she rolls over in the tub and even blows bubbles. Even when it’s not officially bathtime, the calf sneaks in a little soak by climbing into her water dish for a quick dip.

Kindia and her calf are currently living in a private maternity habitat and are not visible to the public. This allows mother and baby time to bond and for the care team to maintain a close eye on the new arrival.

This birth is very important for Pygmy Hippopotamus conservation as the species is currently listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Only 2,000-3,000 remain in West Africa’s forests, with most of that population in Liberia. Small numbers are also found in Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. 

Over the past 100 years, Pygmy Hippo habitat has declined dramatically as a result of logging, farming, and human settlement. As deforestation continues and their habitat becomes more fragmented, newly accessible populations are coming under increasing pressure from hunters.

Kindia arrived at the Toronto Zoo from Parc Zoologique de La Fleche in Sarthe, France in 2016 as part of a global breeding program. The Toronto Zoo is part of the Pygmy Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population, and to support conservation efforts to save this incredible species.

“Partnering with our colleagues by bringing Kindia over from France to mate with our male Hippo has allowed us to strengthen the genetics of the global population,” said Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo.  


Clouded Leopard Cubs Climb to New Heights

21231255_1427079080661866_5978684021896106567_nToronto Zoo’s four-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs are transitioning to a new play space and zoo guests can now see the sisters during limited times on most days.

Their new den has climbing logs positioned just right for the growing cubs to develop their skills.  Right now, the logs are low (at “toddler” level) but they can be repositioned for more challenging exercise as the cubs grow. Clouded Leopards are extremely agile and can even climb on the underside of tree branches, as one of the cubs demonstrates in the photos.

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21106750_1427079150661859_7101477329161299372_nPhoto Credit: Toronto Zoo

Born May 13, the cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns readers here. They’ve been under human care ever since they were a few days old because their mother did not care for them properly. By the time the two female cubs were two months old, they were thriving, as reported on ZooBorns.

Keepers report that one of the cubs is more adventurous than her sister and is often the first to dive in to new experiences. They often play wrestle together and seem to enjoy ripping apart banana leaves.

Each cub weighs about eight pounds, and they now eat solid foods – nearly a pound per day each!

Clouded Leopards live in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, where their numbers are decreasing. About 10,000 Clouded Leopards remain in the wild, but the population is fragmented into groups no larger than 1,000 animals. The forested areas are not large enough to sustain the populations in the long term. Clouded Leopards are poached for the commercial wildlife trade, and body parts are sold on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, which are proven to have no actual health benefits. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

See more photos below.

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UPDATE: Toronto Zoo’s Clouded Leopard Cubs Growing

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The Clouded Leopard cubs at Toronto Zoo are growing! ZooBorns introduced readers to the pair when they were almost one-month-old: “Clouded Leopard Cubs a First for Toronto Zoo”.

The two-month old cubs were born May 13 to mom, Pavarti, and dad, Mingma. Toronto Zoo staff recently reported that the siblings are progressing and growing stronger. The cubs are now very close in size and currently weigh about 1.78 kgs (3.9 lbs) and 1.81 kgs (4 lbs), respectively.

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4_20247650_1391123080924133_231200329107239544_oPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo 

Pavarti is a first time mom. Immediately after the cubs’ birth, she showed signs of having all the necessary maternal instincts. However, as the first day progressed, staff observed that she started spending less time with her cubs and was not seen nursing or mothering them. Toronto Zoo’s Wildlife Care staff continued to monitor the new family by camera, and a veterinarian checked the cubs the day after they were born. The veterinarian provided the cubs with supplemental fluids to help them through the critical first 24 hours. Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the cubs, hoping for a change in the new mom’s behavior toward her cubs. Finally, a decision was made to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre to provide them with the neonatal care they required and give them the best chance at survival.

Both cubs are currently fed a diet that includes formula (consisting of Esbilac and chicken baby food) and feline meat offered to them separately. As they continue to grow in size, they are beginning to transition from being fed from a bottle to eating out of a dish. Right now the cubs are fed four times a day by Wildlife Health and Wildlife Care staff and have been living in the new Wildlife Health Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

This is an exciting time for Wildlife Health Care staff and Wildlife Care staff as they begin to see the Clouded Leopard cub’s different personalities. One cub is slightly darker in color, and is more energetic and ‘sassy’, always taking the bottle very quickly when offered. The second cub is slightly lighter in color, and although also energetic, is not as bold as its sibling.

Both cubs are said to vocalize in a bird-like ‘chirping’ sound and love to leap, run, explore and climb anything and everything they can find. Wrestling with each other is another favorite thing for these siblings to do. Both Clouded Leopard cubs have very long tails, and their teeth are getting to be quite big in size, which is bringing out their teething behaviors.

The Toronto Zoo is a participant in the Clouded Leopard conservation breeding program through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. The Clouded Leopard has been listed as “Vulnerable”, on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, since 2008.

*Please note: the Clouded Leopard cubs are not visible to the public at this time.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs a First for Toronto Zoo

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For the first time in the Toronto Zoo’s history, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born on the afternoon of Saturday, May 13 to mom Pavarti and dad Mingma.

Pavarti is a first-time mother and she initially showed maternal instincts. However, Pavarti started spending less time with her cubs and was not observed nursing or mothering them. Wildlife Care staff monitored the new family by camera throughout the night and the cubs were checked by a veterinarian on Sunday. Fluids were given to the cubs to help them through the critical first 24 hours.

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Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the tiny cubs and on Monday morning, they decided to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the zoo’s new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre. After receiving neonatal care, the cubs’ health stabilized.

Fortunately, when they discovered Pavarti was pregnant the zoo developed a Clouded Leopard hand-rearing protocol just in case Pavarti failed to care for her cubs. The protocol is based on best practices shared by other zoos with experience hand-rearing these cats.

The two cubs are thriving under their keepers’ care.  They have gone from weighing around six ounces each at birth to nearly 14 ounces each at about three weeks of age. The two cubs have fully opened their eyes, have discovered their 'meow,’ and are even starting to walk. 

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Toronto Zoo Hatching a Plan to Save African Penguins

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Toronto Zoo is proud to announce the successful hatching of four African Penguin chicks!

The yet-to-be-named chicks will be viewable in their Indoor Viewing Area beginning Friday, April 14 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daily.

It was determined after hatching that three of the four chicks were female, which is good news for the North American zoo population, which is predominantly male. Male and female penguins look similar, so a DNA test was required to determine their sex.

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3_IMG_7785 (3)Photo Credits: Toronto Zoo

A new breeding pair, Thandiwe and Matata, laid the first two chicks. The couple was recommended to breed by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), and although they bonded very quickly, they didn’t do well at incubating their eggs.

Their first egg was laid on January 5, 2017 and the Keeper team swiftly intervened and swapped the egg to be raised by surrogate parents Ziggy and DJ, who have been great penguin parents in the past. Thandiwe laid the second egg a few days later on January 8, 2017, and Keepers were initially delighted to see her sitting on the egg very tightly, however she had to sit on the egg for seven days in a row. In the wild, penguin parents trade off egg-sitting duties as they both need to hunt and drink, however, Matata was a first-time parent and did not participate in sitting on the egg. As a result, the second egg was also given to another set of surrogates and proven parents, Shaker and Flap.

The last two chicks hatched from eggs that were laid by another brand new SSP pair, Eldon and Chupa, who are viewed as genetically important. This pair got along very well, however, given their genetic importance, it was decided to also use surrogates for their first egg. In fact, since DJ and Ziggy were viewed as the most reliable parents, this egg replaced the first egg from the other pair, which in turn went to another proven pair: Squeak and Pedro. A few days later on January 25, 2017, Eldon laid a second egg, which was left with the new pair to raise on their own and they did a great job. Needless-to-say, managing penguin chicks is tricky business! The chicks hatched on February 12, February 15, February 27 and March 4, respectively.

Incubation by the parents occurs for just over a month, then the hatched chicks stay with their parents in the nest for another 3 weeks. By this point the chicks are large and mobile enough for the Penguin Keepers to hand-raise them.

Currently, Toronto Zoo Keepers are teaching the chicks to be hand-fed fish and to get on a scale for daily weigh-ins. Recently, the Keepers gave them their first swimming lesson. The Zoo’s hope is for them to be ready to “fledge” and join their colony at around 80 days.

The arrival of the four chicks signifies a great achievement for these new penguin parents and the Zoo’s African Savanna Wildlife Care staff. This breeding season the Zoo was able to reach 100% of their SSP pairing and breeding goals.

The Toronto Zoo penguins help draw attention to this imperiled species. Of the 18 penguin species around the world, the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is one of the most endangered. They are officially classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The current population size in the wild for the African Penguin is less than half of what it was 40 years ago, which equals only about 3 generations for penguins. Factors still affecting their decline include lack of food (due to climate change and over-fishing), disease, predation, and pollution (mainly oil spills). Today, there are fewer than 20,000 breeding pairs left in South Africa.