On Tuesday, February 6th, “Zinnia,” a 5 year old North American river otter gave birth to three pups at the Florida: Mission Everglades exhibit at Zoo Miami! This is Zinnia’s second litter of babies and they underwent a quick neonatal exam this morning to determine the gender, get their weights and do a quick overall physical exam. We are happy to report that they all appear healthy!
After a pregnancy of approximately 2 months, the pups, one female and two males, weighing between 147 and 167 grams, were born in a secluded den where all initial indications are that they are being well cared for by Zinnia. She arrived at Zoo Miami in April of 2019 from the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island where she was born. Zinnia and the pups will remain isolated behind the scenes for a still to be determined amount of time to ensure that mother and her babies have minimal disturbances while they bond and grow.
Yesterday, Zoo Miami’s newborn giraffe made her exhibit debut where she cautiously explored her new surroundings. Her mom, Sabra, was attentive but allowed the calf to venture towards the other individuals in the herd and was greeted by curiosity, along with smells and licks from most of them. The yet unnamed calf is nursing and appears to be doing well as she is now fully integrated into the herd of 9. It is expected that she and her mother will now remain with the herd and be on exhibit with them moving forward.
At approximately 6:30PM yesterday, Sabra, a nearly 12 year old giraffe, gave birth to a female calf. This morning, Zoo Miami staff members were able to quickly separate mother and calf so that a neonatal exam could be performed. Neonatal exams are part of a preventative medicine program directed by the zoo’s Animal Health Department in conjunction with the Animal Science Department. These procedures allow the staff to perform close, hands-on examinations of the newborn to confirm the sex, get a weight, collect blood, inspect and clean the umbilicus, do general eye and ear exams, inject vitamins and insert an identification transponder in addition to an overall assessment of general body condition. The calf stood over 5 feet tall and weighed approximately 120 pounds.
While Zoo Miami prepares for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Sea Turtle Hospital scheduled for July 6th, a huge female loggerhead sea turtle that was likely injured by a shark, has necessitated emergency care to help save the life of this threatened species.
On May 22nd, Zoo Miami received a call from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), that a large female loggerhead turtle had been rescued from the Port St. Lucie Power Plant with a severe wound to its left front flipper, leaving only exposed bone and torn flesh, the apparent victim of a shark attack.
It is with great excitement that Zoo Miami, in collaboration with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, announces that after an incubation period of 37 days, the wild pair of bald eagles, named “Rita” and “Ron,” have successfully hatched their first egg!!! What an amazing way to bring in the New Year!!!
For over two months, Rita and Ron have worked together to build a new nest on an artificial platform constructed through the combined efforts of Lloyd Brown from Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and Ron Magill from the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation. The platform was constructed to provide a more stable foundation after the pair had their original nest at that location destroyed during a storm.
Yesterday, Zoo Miami's newest baby giraffe made his exhibit debut!
For the first time, a yet unnamed male calf that was born on April 2nd, walked out onto the exhibit with his mother and other members of the herd, curiously exploring his new surroundings. Until yesterday, the newborn had been held inside a holding area with his mother to give them time to bond.
On Sunday, the calf received a neonatal exam where in addition to a general physical, he was weighed, had his blood collected and received a microchip for identification. He weighed a whopping 181 pounds and is the seventh baby born to Mia, his 14 year old mother. The first-time father is a 4 year old named Malcolm. This is the 54th giraffe born in the zoo's history!
As this newborn was making his exhibit debut, Zuri, a 6 ½ year old female was giving birth behind the scenes to the 55th giraffe born in the zoo’s history! The baby, Zuri’s second, was born yesterday at approximately 10:30AM, and has been observed nursing very well. Malcolm is also the father making this his second calf. A neonatal exam was performed this morning and it is confirmed to be a healthy female weighing 119 pounds. Should everything continue to go well, this baby and mother will join the herd on exhibit tomorrow.
Giraffe have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor where it receives quite an abrupt introduction to the world! Newborns stand nearly 6 feet tall at birth.
The status of giraffe in the wild has recently been elevated from a “species of least concern” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to significant reductions in their populations over the last several years.
Sometime during the early morning hours of December 8th, Laura, a 7 year old female giant anteater whose birthday happens to fall on the same day, gave birth to what is believed to be a male baby. Unfortunately, this happened to be one of the coldest nights of the year in Miami and the newborn was found abandoned in the corner of its holding area, weak and cold. Upon discovery, it was immediately transported to the zoo hospital where the animal health team placed it into intensive care.
Though there was significant doubt that the newborn would survive, it slowly started to become more responsive after being heated up and receiving fluids. Zoo keepers were able to collect natural milk from the mom which was supplemented with a formula substitute and was initially administered directly into the infant’s stomach through a tube that was carefully inserted through the mouth.
Once the baby regained some strength over the first 48 hours, an attempt was made to reintroduce it to its mother. Though the mother initially allowed the baby to be placed on her back, she soon became intolerant of it and her behavior indicated that she was not going to care for it and that it would need to be returned to the hospital for hand-rearing.
Photos and video: Ron Magill
After being initially tube fed, the animal has become stronger and more active. It is now regularly accepting a bottle and drinking on its own. The staff continues work around the clock to feed the infant every 3 hours. At the time of this writing, it continues to gain strength and its distinct black and white coat is beginning to grow in. Zoo veterinarians are cautiously optimistic that the baby has overcome the most serious challenges of its first few days and are hoping that the improvements continue though there are still obstacles ahead as there would be for any infant in this situation.
Giant anteaters are the largest of the four species of anteaters and can reach a length of 6-8 feet. They are found in Central and South America and are listed as vulnerable with their greatest threat being habitat loss. Commonly called an “ant bear,” they have a 2 foot long tongue that can lick up 150 ants and termites per minute. Though they have no teeth, they have powerful front claws which can be used to fend off many threats, including jaguars.
We missed this one back in June, and thought you'd like to see it! WARNING – beginning portions of the video which show the actual birth may be considered too graphic for some!
June 15, 2020 -Zoo Miami is very happy to announce the birth of a Bactrian camel! After a pregnancy of approximately 14 months, “Sunny,” a 3 year old female that arrived at Zoo Miami in November of 2017 from her birthplace at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, gave birth to what appears to be a healthy baby girl! The newborn weighed just over 96 pounds! The father is 9 year old “Bubba,” and he arrived from his birthplace at the Minnesota Zoo in 2012. This is the first offspring for both parents.
Bactrian camels are critically endangered in the wild where it is believed that less than a thousand remain. They are found in isolated pockets of the Gobi desert in Mongolia and China and are distinguished from the Dromedary camel by having two humps as opposed to one. They can live up to 50 years and weigh over 1,500 pounds.
Contrary to popular belief, their humps are not full of water, but rather fat, which can enable them to go for long periods of time without any food. They rarely sweat and are extremely adept at conserving water which enables them to get much of the water they need from the vegetation they eat. When they do drink, they have the ability to drink up to 30 gallons at a time. They are also well adapted for living in extreme temperatures, growing a very thick coat to withstand winter temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit which they will shed in the summer when temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mom and baby will remain off exhibit until the staff feels that the two have bonded well and that the as yet unnamed newborn’s development is progressing well.
Amidst the tragic news coming out of Australia due to the catastrophic fires that have caused great harm and death to many thousands of people and nearly half a billion animals, Zoo Miami is elated to announce some good news that is directly connected to the ravished continent.
For the third time in the zoo’s history and the first time in over 28 years, a surviving koala has been born at the zoo!! Though the actual “birth” took place on May 30th of last year, it was only yesterday that the joey (baby koala) first came completely out of the pouch! Because koalas are marsupials, they have a very short pregnancy (around 30 days) and when the baby is born, it is practically in an embryonic state, totally hairless, with non-developed eyes, tiny limbs, and the size of a bumblebee. Immediately after being born, the joey makes a difficult journey as it instinctively crawls into the mother’s pouch where it remains for approximately 6 months, continuing to develop, before emerging when it actually looks like a baby koala. Those 6 months are the most precarious of the infant’s life (Zoo Miami lost several joeys during this period in the past) so it is not until it finally emerges from the pouch and is strong and healthy that zoo staff can breathe a sigh of relief and truly celebrate!!!
The joey’s mother is “Rinny,” which is short for “Merindah koolawong” which are the Dharug aboriginal words for “beautiful” and “koala.” She is 4 years old and was born at the Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina on October 21st, 2015. She arrived at Zoo Miami on September 21st, 2018 and this is her first baby!
The father is “Milo,” and he 8 years old and was born at the San Diego Zoo on July 2, 2011. He arrived at Zoo Miami on May 3rd, 2016 and this is also his first baby!
Though Zoo Miami are still not certain of the sex of the joey, because of what is happening in Australia, zoo staff, in collaboration with the Gail S. Posner Trust, and Sanford J. Schlesinger, Trustee, principal patrons of the Koala Exhibit, have decided to name the infant, “Hope.” It is Miami's desire that this baby koala will help to bring a small ray of hope to all that are suffering in Australia and be a symbol for a positive future for the priceless wildlife that lives there. In addition, Zoo Miami will be making a $10,000 donation to the Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund in support of the herculean efforts being undertaken to safe the countless animals being affected by this disaster. Others interested in supporting this effort can make donations by clicking on https://www.zoo.org.au/fire-fund/or directly to the Zoo Miami Foundation at www.zoomiami.org/donateand stipulate “Australia” in the memo section. Those funds will be added to the initial $10,000 donation made through the Zoo Miami Conservation Fund.
On Wednesday, September 25th, a Caribbean flamingo hatched at Zoo Miami! This is the first hatching of this iconic species since 2011 and is the first time that a chick has hatched since the flock was moved to their new exhibit in the zoo’s entry plaza.