Zoo Vienna

Owl Chick Hatched At Schönbrunn Zoo in Austria Resettled Into the Wild

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.

Meerkat Singleton Born at Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria

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

A Baby Sloth For Zoo Vienna!

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. "

Sea Lion Pup for Vienna Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo

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.  

Smuggled Chameleons Hatch Babies at Vienna Zoo

 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:

A Trio of Baby Emperor Tamarin Monkeys at Zoo Vienna

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

Meet Pauline, Zoo Vienna’s Sloth Baby

Zoo Vienna has introduced Pauline, their lockdown baby! She is the offspring of sloths Alberta and Einstein. Little Pauline was born on April 24th during the Zoo’s first closure due to the lockdown. Now Zoo Vienna has charmed us with video of the baby. The little one already weighs three kilograms and has been holding onto rope for short distances. Usually, though, she lies on Mama Alberta like she’s in a hammock.

📸: Daniel Zupanc

Austrian Tennis Star Dominic Thiem Has Become The Godfather of a Baby Koala at Zoo Vienna

When tennis star Dominic Thiem visits Schönbrunn Zoo, even the baby koala has to get a good look! An animal lover, Thiem was even godfather to Ilse the Anteater since 2016. Since Ilse’s passing in July, he’d been looking for a new godchild. One day after Thiem's ​​sensational victory at the US Open, the Zoo also announced a sensation: the first koala cub in its history. During the break in training in mid October, the tennis pro found time to visit the zoo.

“It was an incredible experience to see the little koala for the first time,” said Thiem.

Zoo director Stephen Hering-Hagenbeck: “The young animal is now showing up more and more often. Once you see an arm, once a foot, then the head. It was great that it looked out exactly when its prominent godfather visited."

In order not to disturb the mother-child duo, koala dad Wirri Wirri posed for a photo with the proud godfather. Thiem has a great backhand in tennis, but he also shows a knack for animals. Thiem fed the giraffes with branches and paid a visit to the giant tortoise Schurli with his brother Moritz. Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck was pleased about the tennis star's interest and thanked him warmly for the support.

Thiem: “The time at the zoo was a great regeneration for me. It's just something completely different and I made great use of the short break.”

Rare Leopard Cubs Born in Vienna


With fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the wild, Amur Leopards are the world’s rarest big Cats. That’s why the birth of two cubs at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn is cause for celebration.

X31855149_1626993224022643_6275272391429980160_oPhoto Credits: Daniel Zupanc Fotographie and Norbert Potensky

Born on March 27 to first-time parents Ida and Piotr, the cubs are the first ever to be born at Zoo Vienna.  For the past month, the cubs have been in the maternity den with Ida. But last week, they began making their first visits to the zoo’s indoor Leopard habitat, where they can be seen by zoo guests – but only for a few minutes before they scurry back to the den or are carried off by their mother.

At birth, the little cubs were blind and helpless. After about two weeks, they opened their eyes. Their genders are not yet known, so the cubs have not yet been named.

The staff reports that first-time mother Ida is doing a good job of nurturing her cubs.

Amur Leopards are Critically Endangered and live in remote forests of the Russian Far East, with a few individuals roaming over the Chinese border. They possess thick fur as an adaptation for the bitterly cold winters in the area. Poaching for body parts is the main threat to their survival, as is the poaching of the Leopards’ prey. Forest fires, the building of roads and settlements, and disease are additional threats to the Cats’ survival.

Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn participates in the European conservation breeding program to create a sustainable, genetically diverse population of these magnificent Cats.

See more adorable photos below!

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Endangered Penguins Hatch at Zoo Vienna


Since mid-April, Zoo Vienna Tiergarten Schönbrunn has welcomed eleven Northern Rockhopper Penguin chicks!

After about 33 days of incubation, the hatchlings were greeted by caring penguin parents that have since been providing all the food and warmth they need.

The species is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Therefore, conservation efforts in zoos around the world are important for their survival.

"The Northern Rockhopper Penguin breeds on the island group around Tristan da Cunha, in the southern Atlantic, and is strongly endangered. The main causes of its threat are the overfishing and pollution of the seas, as well as climate change," explains Animal Garden Director, Dagmar Schratter.


3_PA_Felsenpinguin3Photo Credits: Daniel Zupanc

Currently, only 96 Northern Rockhopper Penguins live in European zoos. The largest colony, with 45 adults, can be found in Schönbrunn. The Tiergarten also runs the European Conservation Program (EEP) for this endangered and distinctive penguin. Since 2004, the Tiergarten has delivered 41 Rockhopper Penguins to other zoos.

Schratter continued, "Through our many years of experience in breeding, we would like to help build up colonies in other zoos..."

The Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi) is also known as “Moseley's Rockhopper Penguin”, or “Moseley's Penguin”.

More than 99% of them breed on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Rockhopper Penguins have been considered to consist of two species: Northern and Southern Rockhopper (research published in 2006 demonstrated morphological, vocal, and genetic differences between the two populations).

In the wild, the Northern Rockhopper Penguin feeds on krill and other sea life such as crustaceans, squid, octopus and fish.

The species prefers to breed in colonies in a range of locations from sea level or on cliff sides, to sometimes inland. An interesting difference between the two subspecies is their mating ritual. They both use different songs and head ornaments in their mating signals. The reproductive isolation has led to not only physical difference but also behavioral. Adults feed their chicks lower trophic level prey than they themselves consume.

A study published in 2009 showed that the world population of the Northern Rockhopper had declined by 90% since the 1950s, possibly because of climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing for squid and octopus by humans. Other possible factors in the decline include: disturbance and pollution from ecotourism and fishing, egg harvesting, and predation and competition from sub Antarctic fur seals. Surveys show that the birds are also at risk of infection by goose barnacles. House mice (Mus musculus) have also been introduced into their environment by human sea expeditions, and the mice have proven to be invasive, consuming Northern Rockhopper eggs, as well as hunting their young.