Banham Zoo in Norfolk is today celebrating the birth of two Amur tiger cubs, an endangered species, following a successful genetically matched conservation programme pairing.
The announcement that Kuzma and Mishka are parents 2 weeks ago comes after two years of careful planning.
Mishka first moved to Banham Zoo in May 2021 from Woburn Safari Park, as part of the European Breeding Programme for the species – an incredibly important conservation programme in place to protect endangered animals from extinction.
The staff at Banham Zoo are ‘otterly' delighted with the birth of two Asian Small-clawed Otter pups. The babies have recently started coming out of the den to play with their one-year-old sibling Makati, mother Tilly, and father Sam.
Photo Credit: Banham Zoo
The two cubs were born on May 22 and are the second litter for Tilly and Sam. As experienced parents, Tilly and Sam share care of the pups are showing excellent parenting skills.
For the first eight to 10 weeks of life, Otter pups remain tucked away in the den with mom and dad. In fact, the keepers were only able to discern that Tilly had given birth when she stopped coming outside to be fed. Once the pups were heard squealing from within the nest box there was no doubt that babies had been born.
The pups are now beginning to venture out of their nest box to explore their outdoor habitat. They will soon undergo their first veterinary exam, where their genders will be determined.
In the coming weeks, Tilly and Sam will start giving swimming lessons and impart other essential skills to their offspring, just as they would in their native habitat.
The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of all Otter species. These Otters inhabit shallow, fast-flowing waters in southeast Asia and feed on crabs, snails, frogs, young birds, eggs, fish and small mammals. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction from farming, water pollution, hunting, and overfishing have led to a rapid decline in the Otters’ numbers in the wild. The IUCN estimates the global population of Asian Small-clawed Otters has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.
Keepers at Banham Zoo are thrilled to announce the latest addition to the zoo, a male Red Panda cub, an extremely valuable addition to the ongoing international efforts to protect this threatened species.
The cub, which is yet to be named, was born this summer to the zoo’s pair of Red Pandas, Jasper and Maggie. The two adult pandas have been together since 2015, producing a female cub in 2016.
In European zoos, Red panda’s usually mate in early spring and will give birth usually to one or two cubs after a gestation period of approximately four months.
Keepers at the zoo were convinced that Maggie was pregnant again this year and closely monitored her behaviour. They were proved correct when the cub was born in late July.
Maggie is doing an excellent job caring for her baby, staying in the nesting box for long periods of time. Red Panda cubs spend the first two to three months inside their nesting box, and although the keepers have decided to take a “hands-off” approach, they have managed to get an occasional glimpse of the infant to ensure that all is well.
The cub has started to explore its surroundings, occasionally venturing out of the nesting box with mum Maggie to the delight of keepers and visitors.
Animal Manager, Mike Woolham said, “We are delighted with our latest addition. The conservation of the animals in our care is of paramount importance to us and we hope that our latest arrival may throw the spotlight on the plight of this species and others under severe threat in South-east Asia”.
Red Pandas are listed as endangered and numbers in the wild are believed to have decreased by 50% in less than 20 years due to massive habitat loss and an increase in human poaching for their meat and beautiful red fur.
The cub will remain with his parents at the zoo for at least a year. Once he reaches maturity the European and International Studbook Coordinator for the species will recommend transferring him to another zoo, where he will most likely join a female to make up a new pair. They will hopefully then produce young of their own, helping to ensure the survival of the species.
The best things in life are worth
waiting for and at the United Kingdom’s Banham
Zoo, female Amur Tigress Sveta made her keepers wait longer than expected before giving birth to twins on June 14.
Photo Credit: Banham Zoo
Keepers had expected Sveta
to give birth up to 6 days prior to the day the cubs arrived and had been
monitoring closed circuit TV cameras day and night for signs that she might be
ready to give birth.
When the cubs finally
arrived, keepers were able to watch the birth via the live camera link, giving Sveta complete privacy.
The twins are making excellent progress. An external
monitor allows zoo guests to view the cubs without any intrusion whatsoever to the
The newborn cubs are very important additions to the European captive breeding program for Amur
Tigers. Kuzma, the cubs' father, was born at Banham Zoo in 2008 and was recently ranked as one of the most
important males in the breeding program. His genes are poorly represented
within the captive population so breeding him was considered a high priority. His
mate, Sveta, arrived from Portugal's Lisbon Zoo in 2011 and this is their first
successful litter together.
Amur Tigers are listed as Endangered by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature. Recent information
indicates that there are less than 400 Amur Tigers left in the wilds of far eastern
breeding could be a critical factor for the survival of the world’s
Christmas Eve 2012 at Banham Zoo, UK, brought two little Emperor Tamarin twins!
Emperor Tamarins are ususally born in pairs. In tamarins and their close relatives the marmosets, the mother nurses her offspring but it is the father who carries them. The pair's older offspring may also help. These twins enjoy riding on their father and an older brother.
The twins are beginning to explore and venture away from the family in short bursts. They were especially curious about the photographer, but soon ran back to cling to dad.
In September we brought you the sad but hopeful story of a little Lesser Bamboo Lemur that had been rejected by its mother and was being hand-reared by keeper Claire at the UK's Banham Zoo. Today we bring you wonderful news that the orphan lemur is doing quite well. Here is an update from the Banham Zoo's Facebook page. "As you can see from the photo [Hamish] is progressing really well and is now living in an offshow pen next to his family during the day. He loves having the extra space to leap and jump around and has a real fondness for bamboo shoots! He only gets four milk feeds a day now and no longer requires night feeds so main carer Claire can now actually get a decent nights sleep! We are introducing fruit and vegetables to him and his favourites so far seem to be peas, mini corn and banana! We are all very pleased with how well he is doing."
This tiny four week old Western Lesser Bamboo Lemur, also known as a Sambirano Gentle Lemur, was born at the UK's Banham Zoo. Sadly, the tiny lemur was rejected by its mother but luckily a zoo staffer was ready and willing to take up the 24 hour job of raising the baby. These lemurs live almost entirely on bamboo and spend most of their lives high up in the treetops.
Photo credits: Banham Zoo
Hopefully we'll all get more updates on the baby via the Banham Zoo's Facebook page.
This past weekend, the UK's Banham Zoo debuted their three 10 week old Snow Leopard cubs to the public. Up until now, the only glimpses most zoo staff had seen were grainy images from the remote den cam. The cubs appear happy and healthy and still have access to the secluded den area for when they want to avoid the limelight. The Banham Zoo has been part of the European Breeding Programme for this endangered species for over 25 years.