Heartwarming Moment at Twycross Zoo: Maxine the Vicuña Welcomes Her 10th Offspring

On July 22, 2023, an incredible and heartwarming moment was captured on film at Twycross Zoo when their 17-year-old vicuña, Maxine, gave birth. Maxine, an experienced and nurturing mother, welcomed her 10th offspring into the world, a charming cria (the term for baby llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas). The birthing process was witnessed with awe by both zookeepers and fortunate visitors, as well as the other vicuñas sharing the habitat. Shortly after entering the world, the adorable cria was already on its feet, eagerly suckling from its mother and bravely exploring its new surroundings. Exclusive photos taken during the week of the birth revealed a joyful and healthy cria, often staying close to its mother's side, while also mustering the courage to venture out and discover the enclosure. It was a truly special and unforgettable moment at Twycross Zoo.


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Belfast Zoo Welcomes Baby Vicuna Born During Storm Arwen

Born during storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, this baby Vicuna can be seen exploring it’s new home under the close eye of mum and dad.

Vicuñas are the smallest members of the camel family.

A baby vicuna was born at Ireland’s Belfast Zoo during Storm Arwen, a powerful extratropical cyclone.

The Zoo’s fluffy little new addition was born to mother Áine and father Ozark.

The now three-week-old was born overnight during the storm, with zookeepers making the wonderful discovery the following morning. The baby’s gender is currently unknown but keepers are hopeful they’ll be able to confirm it in the coming weeks.

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Belfast Zoo Sees Spring Baby Boom

1_Belfast Zoo has successfully bred this endangered species for many years. Visitors can see the new baby in its mountain-top habitat with stunning views across Belfast Lough.

With the start of spring, Belfast Zoo welcomed a Vicuña calf, a Red-backed Bearded Saki, and two White-belted Ruffed Lemur babies.

An adorable baby Vicuña was born on March 27 to mother, Gretchen, and her new mate, Ozzy. The zoo is now home to five Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), which is a camelid species that originates from mountain and grassland areas of South America. The number of Vicuña living in the wild has decreased due to hunting and habitat destruction, and the species is dependent on breeding programmes to ensure population growth. Belfast Zoo has successfully bred this endangered species for many years. Visitors can see the new baby in its mountaintop habitat, with stunning views across Belfast Lough.

2_The zoo welcomed an adorable baby vicuña on 27 March to mother  Gretchen  and new male  Ozzy

3_Belfast Zoo is one of only two zoos in the UK to care for red-backed sakis  which originate from South America Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

Zoo primates have also had recent breeding success. A Red-backed Bearded Saki (Chiropotes chiropotes) and two White-belted Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta) babies were born during April. Belfast Zoo is one of only two zoos in the UK to care for Red-backed Sakis, which originate from South America, and it was the first zoo in Europe to breed the species.

White-belted Ruffed Lemurs, from Madagascar, are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild due to habitat loss. Unlike other Lemur species, the baby doesn’t cling to their mother but instead is left to rest in a nearby tree or carried in its mother’s mouth.

Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said, “We are absolutely thrilled with our recent baby boom at Belfast Zoo and hope our visitors will enjoy seeing our newest arrivals.”

Vienna Zoo is Booming with ZooBorns!


A new arrival is delighting keepers at Austria's Zoo Vienna. On Sunday, the 27th of November, a baby Giant Anteater was born and dubbed 'Hombrecito' by zoo veterinarians. Immediately following the birth, mother and child were allowed much needed rest and privacy. Visitors are now able to see the little one clinging tightly to his mother's back.

Little Hombrecito weighs around 3 pounds and measures about 14 inches in length. His mother will nurse the pup for about six months. His coloration is so similar to his mothers that it provides an almost perfect camouflage for him when he is positioned on her back.


Giant Anteaters are among the most endangered animal species in Central and South America. This uncommon captive birth is a testament to the success of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), of which Vienna Zoo is key participant.


Hombrecito's birth was followed closely by the birth of a Vicuna calf, just three days later. Keepers believe this calf, the second Vicuna to be born at Vienna this year, is a female.

Photo credits: Norbert Potensky