There are offspring among the king penguins again this year. A chick hatched in Schönbrunn Zoo at the end of July. So far, the young animal has cleverly hidden between the protective parents, but now it is easy for visitors to see in the polarium. “However, the penguin chick cannot swim yet. King penguins don't get water-repellent plumage until they are about 10 months old. Until then, they wear a warm, brown dune dress. The sex of the chick is only determined at a later point in time by genetic testing of feather samples,” reports animal keeper Bettina Schragner.
For the third time in a row, Schönbrunn Zoo can look forward to two offspring of white-nosed coatis this year. In mid-May, the two cubs were born blind and deaf and were nursed and cared for by their mother in the nest for the first few weeks. “Meanwhile, the approximately six-week-old twins, a male and a female, have left their safe nest and are out and about throughout the indoor facility. The two currently spend most of the day sleeping snuggled up to their mother," reports animal keeper Michaela Hoffmann.
The female orangutan born on June 19th at Schönbrunn Zoo has been named “Kendari”. After internal considerations, they finally decided together on the name of an Indonesian city. Indonesia is the original home of the orangutans, where these special animals have now been almost wiped out due to deforestation and illegal trade. “We are very happy that the young animal is developing so well and that we have found a name. Kendari is getting bigger and stronger every day. She is already raising her head and slowly starting to perceive her surroundings with wide eyes. Everything is always in the protective arms of mother animal Sari”, says animal keeper Sandra Keiblinger.
At the beginning of June, a Burchell zebra was born in Schönbrunn Zoo. The colt weighs around 30 kilograms and is suckled by its mother for about eight months. "The birth of zebras is usually very fast, after about a quarter of an hour it is over. With our current offspring, everything went very well and the young animal is well. It is now exploring the plant and nibbling on the hay with the rest of the herd from time to time. But everything is still close to his mother," reports animal keeper Gregor Hirsch.
Long awaited, finally here: Yesterday at 1.30 p.m. in Schönbrunn Zoo, a young orangutan was born in front of the eyes of the visitors. The last successful offspring of orangutans was almost 20 years ago. The Tiergarten team is very happy. “It is the first cub for 13-year-old Sari, who came to us from Dublin Zoo in 2020. She takes good care of her little one, who spends most of the day sleeping in her arms,” reports the responsible zoological curator, Folko Balfanz.
After a seven-year break, Schönbrunn Zoo can once again look forward to successfully breeding Arctic wolves. At the end of April, four young animals were born in a deep burrow and were initially raised there by their mother. “In the beginning, wolf cubs still have their eyes closed and are completely helpless. They need the protection of the den and the care of the mother. The four little ones can now often be seen playing, drinking and exploring. They also gain their first social experiences with the pack,” reports animal keeper Paul Wagner. They rarely retreat to the burrow to sleep. Wolf cubs are nursed for about three months. Gradually, they also begin to eat meat.
About two weeks ago, four capybaras were born at Schönbrunn Zoo in Austria. For the two parents, it is the first joint offspring. "The young capybaras still spend the day mainly sleeping and drinking milk – but they also eat some hay. They are precocial, which means that the young animals are already so developed at birth that they can follow the parents independently. Above all, they enjoy the warm weather and from time to time dare to bathe in the water together with the adult animals," reports animal keeper Alexander Keller.
The kid season has already begun for the pied goats called Tauernscheckenziegen and it is almost over. Only one goat is still expecting. The kids are all well and very agile. They already try to climb rocks and tree trunks and savor the first rays of sun.
This goat breed serves multiple purposes. Their claws are very sturdy which is ideal for alpine landscape management. Their udders are very high to minimize the risk of injury. They are very long-living and robust and please with their unique and attractive coat which makes them easily recognizable on alpine pastures during the summer and fall.
"We raise waldrapp chicks by hand to imprint them on us. This imprinting is important for reintroducing them to Europe and leading them to the places where they hibernate. My colleague Lisa Kern and I sit in an ultra-light plane and fly to Tuscany in front of them. To further imprint them on us we spend a lot of time with them all day. We smooch them, we cuddle them and of course we feed them. We always wear the identification color yellow. The plane's umbrella is yellow as well."
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About a year ago, at the end of January 2021, there was a lot of excitement in Schönbrunn Zoo. More than 70 smuggled, strictly protected chameleons from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania were confiscated at Schwechat Airport. Among them were the highly endangered prickly-nosed, two-horned and dwarf chameleons. Schönbrunn Zoo took on the emergency care of the exotic animals and housed them in special terrariums. “Chameleons are solitary animals and therefore have to be kept and fed individually, they only come together to mate. Caring for these demanding animals is a particular challenge for us, but it pays off,” says district manager Inez Walter. "In the meantime, all of the rare chameleon species have laid eggs, and the young of three species have already hatched."
There were even more than 80 offspring of the Nguru dwarf chameleons last year. Adult animals are just under six centimeters tall - the tiny young animals measure just one centimeter plus half a centimeter tail. “The Nguru dwarf chameleon is bred in only one other zoo in the world besides ours. We are therefore particularly proud that the work of our team of specialists was rewarded so quickly with these breeding successes," says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. "We hope to be able to build up reserve populations outside of the threatened natural habitat with our offspring in order to counteract the extinction of these species." In the wild, all of the rescued chameleon species are endangered or even threatened with extinction due to habitat destruction and smuggling.
Photo credit: Daniel Zupanc
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