There's something going on in the Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn’s monkey house! Within just a few weeks, several adorable young animals have seen the light of day in the squirrel monkeys. The little ones still claw their way through the dense fur of their mothers and let themselves be carried through the facility on their backs. In between, they climb on the mother's stomach to be suckled. After about four to five months, the monkeys will then go on a discovery tour alone and also eat independently. "About a year ago, a new bright group of monkeys with several females from England and a male from the Czech Republic moved in with us. That's why we are now particularly happy about the next generation. Our monkey house has become a real nursery," says animal keeper Melanie Tötzl.
Gray as an Indian rhinoceros and just as rare: There are “cool” offspring in the Schönbrunn Zoo. On September 9th, a Tyrolean gray cattle saw the light of day at the Tirolerhof. “The Tyrolean gray cattle is an old Austrian livestock breed. That's why a typical name had to be found. The father is called Sedinus and the name of the little bull should traditionally start with the same letter. So we called him Seppl ”, says district manager Gerold Vierbauch. Seppl currently weighs around 50 kilograms. When fully grown, it can weigh up to a ton. Until then he still has to eat a lot of hay. That is currently only nibbled. “Seppl is suckled up to the age of seven months. Lena is a great mother cow and takes great care of her first offspring. "
At the Tirolerhof, the zoo brings its visitors closer to old farm animal breeds. Since 2018, after a break for a few years, the Tyrolean gray cattle have been living here again. The breed is critically endangered. Making them known is also the concern of the Tyrolean Gray Cattle Breeding Association, which coordinates the breeding. Managing Director Raphael Kuen: “There are currently only 5,000 registered breeding cows in Austria. The gray cattle are a piece of Tyrolean cultural heritage that we want to preserve. ”It is a so-called dual-purpose breed that provides both a relatively large amount of milk and good meat. She often lives in the Tyrolean Oberland on small farms with few animals. Like at the Tirolerhof in Vienna, where Seppl prefers to dash through the facility with the two weeks younger bee, an original Brown Swiss.
Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo is happy to have offspring among the southern dwarf mongooses: three young animals were born in mid-September and are now making their first excursions out of their den. “The young animals are curious and they explore the facility, dig in the sand and play with each other. If one of the little ones moves too far, the adult animals carry it back into the protective burrow in their mouths,” says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. At first glance, dwarf mongooses are often confused with meerkats. No wonder, both species belong to the mongoose family. However, as the name suggests, dwarf mongooses are among the smallest species of mongoose. Even fully grown, they only weigh around 300 grams.
Southern dwarf mongooses are native to the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa. They like to colonize abandoned termite mounds, which give them protection at night and a good view of the surrounding area during the day. It is also insects that are mainly on the menu of the little hunters. Your social system is exciting. Hering-Hagenbeck: “Dwarf mongooses live socially in small groups and rely on teamwork when they live together. Only the highest-ranking female gets the offspring, but everyone helps with the rearing. ”The young animals, whose sex is not yet known, are suckled in the first seven weeks of life. But they already try grasshoppers, mealworms and minced meat.
Photos by: Daniel Zupanc
His defense strategy is extraordinary: in the event of danger, the armored belt tail bites its tail and curls up into a ring. This protects his vulnerable belly side. The South African mini kites have now had offspring in the Schönbrunn Zoo. “In Europe there are currently only five zoos in which armored belt tails live. The fact that the offspring are successful is something very special, ”says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck proudly. “There have been two young animals since September 27th. In these lizards, the eggs develop in the mother's body, where the young hatch and are born alive. ”The little ones are backstage, but six adult animals can be admired in the desert house in front of the zoo's gates. Atypical for reptiles, they live in social associations.
He grew up in Schönbrunn Zoo, but his future home will be the Lower Austrian forests. A small owl that hatched in the Vienna Zoo on March 25th has now embarked on a great adventure. In an aviary in the middle of the Dürrenstein wilderness area, he is being prepared for his life in the wild. “The Ural Owl was exterminated around 150 years ago in Austria. We have been poaching the offspring from zoos and bird stations since 2009. This is an extremely important cooperation. Together we keep this endangered owl in human care and ensure that the Ural Owl returns to our local forests in the long term, ”explains Richard Zink from the Austrian Ornithological Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Since the start of the project, 41 owls have been who hatched in the Schönbrunn Zoo, were relocated. There are now 30 breeding pairs in Austria's forests.
Iris Starnberger, research assistant at the zoo: “If we protect the Ural Owl and its forests, we also protect many other, lesser-known species, such as the white-backed woodpecker and the hazel grouse. The owl needs old trees to nest. In areas where these are rare, nest boxes are installed. We are proud to finance the production, assembly and annual inspection of 15 pieces. ”In Schönbrunn, a new aviary for owls was only opened in February. The young breeding pair that moved in here successfully raised offspring in the first year. In the next few weeks your young animal will be flying through the forest. Initially, it will remain near the release site and will be fed. By autumn the little owl will develop into a successful mouse hunter and then live independently. However, a ring on the foot ensures that the project team members can always be identified as “Schönbrunn” owls.
Zuzu has done it again: The head of the meerkat group at Schönbrunn Zoo had offspring for the third time on July 25th. This time it's just a cub. This is unusual because there are usually two to four young animals in a litter. For the little one, however, it is definitely an advantage. “The young animal is really round. It finally gets all of the milk. In addition, as an only child, it enjoys everyone's full attention. The older sister Chimara likes to look after the little one and is also a playmate, ”says zookeeper Nadine Bräuer. The young animal was born in a protective cave in the earth - only about 30 grams in weight, blind and completely helpless. It is now big enough to accompany the group of seven on their forays through the area.
Meerkats live in the savannas and semi-deserts in southern Africa. Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck researched African reptiles as part of his doctoral thesis in the Kalahari. He got to know meerkats as cheeky guys. “They kept sneaking into our tent to steal reptiles or our own food,” recalls Hering-Hagenbeck. Meerkats are small predators. The young animal, whose sex is not yet known, was suckled in the first few weeks. It is now eating insects. Meerkats are known for standing upright on their hind legs to keep an eye out for birds of prey and other dangers. Even the little one can do it like a big one with its four weeks.
Photos: Daniel Zupanc
There are three of the Schönbrunn sloths again. Alberta and Einstein became parents on June 3rd. For the first six months the young animal lies somewhat hidden in its mother's soft peritoneum. In the meantime, however, it has grown a lot and is easy to see. “The news of the offspring is sure to please the many sloth fans. Unfortunately, the last young animal, Pauline, was never seen by our visitors due to the corona protective measures. In the meantime, Pauline has moved to Loro Parque as part of the European Stud Book and hangs out there comfortably, ”says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. The zoo keeper team can only see whether the current offspring is a female or a male when they are no longer so closely attached to their mother.
Two-toed sloths are native to South America. With their comfortable way of life and a nose like a socket, they are among the visitors' favorites in Schönbrunn. If you can't make it to the zoo, you can admire the sloths in the new Family Planner 2022, which was published for the first time. Family life can be organized very well with five columns for personal entries. Sloth father Einstein would only have three things in the crevices: eat, doze and hang around. Alberta's undisturbed sloth existence is now history. District manager Petra Stefan: “Alberta takes care of its eleventh youngster. It is suckled for half a year. But it can also be carried to the food bowl on her stomach and nibbles on vegetables such as celery and lettuce. "
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.
In January customs handed over 70 chameleons to Schönbrunn Zoo, which were taken from a smuggler at Vienna Airport. The reptiles from Tanzania were hidden in socks, dehydrated and full of parasites. How well the animals have recovered from the exertions thanks to the professional care is now once again clear. “Almost every one of the ten chameleon species has now laid eggs with us. In the wild, every one is at risk from habitat degradation and smuggling. The first to hatch was the Nguru dwarf chameleon, which is even threatened with extinction due to its small distribution area,” reports zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck proudly. Adult Nguru dwarf chameleons are only six centimeters tall. The tiny young animals measure just one centimeter when they hatch. There is also half a centimeter of tail.
The Schönbrunn Zoo is always the first point of contact for customs in the case of rare, confiscated species. But the chameleons were a challenge even for the experts. “These chameleon species have hardly been kept in human care until now. We contacted the few owners and did meticulous research in order to meet the requirements of the animals, ”says zoological curator Anton Weissenbacher. The effort is enormous: a separate room was set up. A zoo keeper was kept busy just looking after the chameleons all day. The Nguru dwarf chameleon has never been bred in a zoo before. In the past two weeks, 12 young animals have hatched in Schönbrunn. It is now hoped to be able to build up reserve populations in human care with the existing animals and the offspring in order to counteract the extinction of these species.
Special thanks to Octavia Buschhaus for the video voice-over translation:
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Schönbrunn Zoo once again has some good news. Zoo Vienna has moustached baby monkeys! “Our Emperor Tamarins Tamaya and Purple have had triplets. The hallmark of this marmoset species is its long, white mustache, which both males and females wear. Even with the three tiny ones, the beard is easy to see,” says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. The last offspring among the Emperor Tamarins was five years ago. The new trio was born on December 1st. Not counting the tail, they are only an estimated five centimeters tall. The zookeepers have not yet been able to tell whether they are females or males.
These are the first offspring for Tamaya and Purple. The triplets keep dad Purple on the go. With Emperor Tamarins, the rearing of the young is up to the males. Hering-Hagenbeck says: “Most of the time, the father carries the young animals on his back. If the little ones get hungry, their mother takes over to suckle them.” The mini-monkeys are getting bolder every day and are already making first attempts at climbing. Clawed fingers and toes give them the necessary support. Emperor Tamarins are native to the rainforests of South America. Schönbrunn’s monkey family is in need of animal sponsors. If you want to support the currently closed zoo, you can become a sponsor for 80 euros per month.
You can find information about animal sponsorships at Schönbrunn Zoo at www.zoovienna.at/patenschaften
Photos copyright: Daniel Zupanc