Nashville Zoo

Bottle-fed Baby Binturong at Nashville Zoo

Born the 1st of October, a Palawan Binturong kit, now just over 2 weeks old, is visible in the window of Nashville Zoo’s Veterinary Center.

The reason the kit is being bottle-fed is that it’s mom couldn’t produce enough milk.

Binturongs are large nocturnal mammals native to the forests of Southeast Asia.

Binturongs are sometimes called bearcats, even though they are not related to bears or cats.


Four Furry Featurettes — Cheetah, Tapir, Leopard & Civet Babies

 
Vinnie the Banded Palm Civet
 
Vinnie the Banded Palm Civet was born to a pair of civets living behind the scenes at the Zoo and is just about a month old. Nashville Zoo’s veterinary team is hand-rearing Vinnie. The hope for Vinnie is that he will become an ambassador animal. Civets are nocturnal so Vinnie spends the majority of his day napping. He will be hand-reared until he is fully weaned, and the vet team estimates that it will be in about a month. Full-grown Civets can weigh around 6 pounds. You can come see Vinnie in the window of the neonatal room at Nashville Zoo's HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.
 
Amur Leopard Cub
 
On August 6th at 4:05 am, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Amur leopard, Ajax, gave birth to her first cub, and the two are doing well and currently bonding behind the scenes. The cub is a female and has been given the name Marta by her Premier Foster Feeder sponsors, Marta Holsman Babson and Henrietta Holsman Fore. The cub weighed in at 517 gms (1.1 lbs) at its first medical examination on August 6.
This is the first Amur leopard birth at the Santa Barbara Zoo in more than 20 years. Ajax is the most genetically valuable female Amur leopard in North America currently, so this first cub from her will contribute valuable genetics to the population in human care. Amur leopards are the most endangered of all the big cats, with less than 100 remaining in the wild, and the Zoo has been attempting to breed the species for several years now as part of the conservation efforts for this species. This is the fourth litter for Kasha, who arrived at the Zoo in March 2020, just prior to the first coronavirus closure. The pairing of Ajax and Kasha was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as part of the Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care.
Animal care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) are hand-raising a male cheetah cub for several weeks before placing the cub with a foster cheetah mother at another zoo. The cub was one of a litter of three born to 7-year-old female Sukiri Sept. 16; the other two cubs were stillborn. Keepers report the cub is strong, active, vocal and eating well. The Cheetah Cub Cam is offline as the cub is no longer in the den.
While Sukiri nursed the surviving cub overnight, providing critical warmth, colostrum and hydration, she started to ignore the cub the morning of Sept. 17. She did not appear agitated when the cub was removed by keepers from her yard later that day and continues to behave and eat normally. Sukiri ate the two stillborn cubs, which is not unusual for a carnivore and in line with wild female cheetah behavior as a dead cub invites predators.
Animal care staff are staying around the clock to feed the cub every 2 to 3 1/2 hours in SCBI’s veterinary hospital. The cub is being fed a formula used successfully to hand-raise cheetah cubs at other zoos. In the coming weeks, a female cheetah at another AZA-accredited zoo is set to give birth. At the recommendation of the SSP, this cub will be introduced to that litter pending any other developments.
SCBI spearheads research programs in Virginia, the Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.
 
Tapir Calf
 
On Thursday 19th August, Linton Zoo’s female Tapir Tiana gave birth to a healthy female calf after a normal 13-month gestation. We are pleased to say that Mum, Dad and new baby, as yet un-named, are all doing well.
The Brazilian tapir is a large heavily built mammal of a strange prehistoric appearance. The tapir is in fact so well adapted to its environment that it has remained unchanged for about 30 million years. It lives deep in the Brazilian rainforest where, because of the destruction of its habitat and illegal hunting it is has already become extinct in part of its range. The tapir is a shy creature taking to water when threatened where it is able to stay submerged for hours using its long nose to snorkel until such time it feels it is safe to surface. They feed on roots and vegetation but never strip a bush bare of its leaves, zigzagging their way through the undergrowth, conserving the habitat.
Although tapir have survived for millions of years, living in harmony with nature, their future in the wild is by no means secure. A European breeding programme will provide a safeguard against extinction for these wonderful creatures.

Baby Babirusa Born at Nashville Zoo

A babirusa piglet was born on July 21, 2021, at Nashville Zoo and her name is Garland. She spent her first few weeks with Tinsel (mom) behind-the-scenes and made her exhibit debut in early August. The piglet had a successful neonatal exam and she is a healthy little girl! 

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The day before the piglet was born, Tinsel wanted to be out on exhibit but did not want to be around Dobby (dad). Tinsel spent her entire day staying busy and readying the space for the baby that was on the way. "She was wallowing in the mud repetitively throughout the day," said Lead Hoofstock Keeper, Nikole Edmunds. "And was building herself a nest."

Although Tinsel was reluctant to go off exhibit that day, she came in for the night and her keepers brought the nest inside with her. Keepers arrived the next morning and found one happy, healthy piglet. Tinsel has been very protective of her baby and keeper staff are giving her plenty of space to bond and grow comfortable with the piglet.

Tinsel has had piglets at previous zoos and has proven to be an excellent mother yet again. This baby babirusa was the first to be born at Nashville Zoo which brings the total number of babirusa in Nashville Zoo’s care to three (Tinsel, Dobby, piglet). Nashville Zoo has had babirusa since December of 2020. 

North Sulawesi babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis) are considered a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are native to the forests and wetlands of Indonesia. In efforts to spread awareness about babirusa and other endemic species, keepers are joining the Action Indonesia Global Species Management Plan for World Indonesia Day this August.


Three Prickly Surprises

Just in time for World Porcupine Day, June 1, Nashville Zoo revealed THREE PRICKLY SURPRISES!

Three cape porcupines were born at the Zoo on Sunday morning, the 27th of June! This is Mkali & Jake's second litter of porcupettes and they're doing a great job.

The porcupettes had their first wellness check yesterday and all weighed in around 1 lb.

These three will remain behind the scenes for now but Nashville Zoo will be sure to share when you can see them! Make sure to follow the Zoo on their Social Media Channels.

Photo credit: Kate Johns


Time for a ZooBorns Triple-Header!

 

Klipspringer at Brevard Zoo

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A klipspringer was born at Brevard Zoo on Sunday, August 23 to four-year-old mother Deborah. Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on the newborn, who appeared to be in good health and was determined to be a male.

The calf, who does not yet have a name and weighed roughly 1.5 pounds at birth, was sired by five-year-old Ajabu. The youngster will spend several weeks bonding with his mother behind the scenes before transitioning to public view.

Klipspringer typically give birth to one calf following a gestation period of six to seven months. These tiny antelope—which weigh between 18 and 40 pounds as adults—live in rocky areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where their sure-footedness helps them elude predators like leopards, caracals and eagles.

Although this species does not face any major threats, it is sometimes hunted by humans for its meat and hide.

Two-toed Sloth at ZSL London Zoo

Truffle and Marilyn (c) Sheila Smith 3

ZSL London Zoo has shared the first footage taken by keepers of its newest arrival - a baby two-toed sloth named Truffle, born to parents Marilyn and Leander at the iconic zoo last month. 

The cute clip was taken as Marilyn took her young cub to explore its lush new surroundings for the first time earlier this week - after spending their initial days together snuggled high in the leafy treetops of the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit.  

Eagle-eyed keepers first spotted the newborn on Thursday 13 August on their early morning rounds, when they were overjoyed to find the tiny baby clinging to slow-moving mum Marilyn, who had delivered the healthy youngster the night before – a few weeks earlier than expected.  

ZSL sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said: “We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, but thought she had a little longer to go as we’d not seen any of her usual tell-tale signs – such as heading to a cosy corner or off-show area for privacy. 

“But this is Marilyn and Leander’s fifth baby, so she had clearly taken it all in her stride, giving us a lovely surprise to wake up to.  

“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are physically well-developed when they’re born and able to eat solid food right away,” explained Marcel. “At three-weeks-old Marilyn’s little one is already very inquisitive, constantly using its nose to sniff around for snacks - which is why we gave it the name Truffle.” 

Lucky visitors to London’s famous zoo will now be able to see Truffle and Marilyn in the only living rainforest in the city - a lush, tropical paradise, heated to 28C all year round, which the family shares with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, emperor tamarin monkeys and red-footed tortoises.  

Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until confirmed by vets after hair DNA is analysed. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.  

Nocturnal mammals native to South America, two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) may be famously slow but they are impressive climbers: clinging tightly to mum for up to six months will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily from branch to branch, while its characteristically impressive claws - which will grow up to four inches in length - will also help when the youngster is ready to move through the trees on its own. 

Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo

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Baby kangaroos (called joeys) are starting to emerge from their mother's pouches just in time for the Zoo's poupular Kangaroo Kickabout to reopen for guests tomorrow, September 4.
 
“We are so happy to be able to reopen the kangaroo habitat and offer this unique experience to our guests and members,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo’s Contact Area Supervisor. “Marsupials, including kangaroos, are so different than most other mammals. To be able to have our guests see and learn about them is why we are here.”
 
After just 30 days of gestation, red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) are born about the size of a jellybean. They crawl up through the mother’s fur from the birth canal into the pouch where they continue developing for six months before poking their heads out to see the world. Nashville Zoo currently has 10 joeys in various stages of development including a few that can be seen hopping around their habitat.
 
Red kangaroos are native to Australia and are the largest of their species. Males can grow to six feet or more and weigh nearly 200 pounds. Females are smaller, growing to about 5 feet and 100 pounds. Kangaroos are not endangered and their populations are considered stable though their wild population and habitat were severely damaged during widespread brush fires in late 2019 and early 2020. In January, Nashville Zoo committed $30,000 to support Australia’s efforts to rescue and protect wildlife affected by the wildfires. Additionally, the Zoo will donate all funds from the 2020 Round Up initiative, a program offering guests the option to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount to donate to conservation.

Baby Boom at Nashville Zoo!

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Nashville Zoo Has has quite a summer! Learn all about the new babies arriving there over the last few months and weeks by watching the video below!

 

Caracal Kittens
Born May 10, 2020

Very close to midnight on May 10, 2020, (Mother’s Day) a caracal delivered kittens inside her nest box. They are the first caracals ever to be born at Nashville Zoo, and the animal care team was keeping a close eye on them and wishing their Mom a very special Mother’s Day.

Like human mothers, caracals need time to bond with their new offspring. No need for a “do not disturb” sign. The staff stays clear to give the new family their privacy but monitors them using a small camera placed in the nest box. An online link to the camera allows keepers and the veterinary team to watch from virtually anywhere.

The new mom and kittens did fine and remained together for 7 to 10 days. After that, the animal care team removed the cubs and continued to raise them in the Zoo’s nursery. The mother returned to an area away from the public view where she could relax with her mate and another caracal pair.

Raising the kittens by hand is a necessary and important step in socializing them to people. As they grow, the kittens will become ambassador animals for another zoo. The black tufts of their ears will capture the attention of onlookers who will wonder how a cat less than two feet at the shoulders can jump vertically up to 12 feet high. Guests will also learn that these cats developed this ability to catch birds as they fly by.

This species is important to conservation because they will help us interpret the woodland, savanna and acacia scrub habitats of Africa, the caracal’s native habitat. Guests will learn about the conservation challenges we must address on behalf of caracals. Challenges like habitat loss and trapping due to human conflict.

Cassowary Chick
Hatched June 5, 2020

On June 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed its first cassowary chick into the world. After 54 days of incubation and a few harrowing nights of severe weather, the female chick hatched and was cared for in the Zoo’s HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.

“The males are the ones that sit on the eggs and protect them from harm,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo’s Avian Area Supervisor. “He sat through several bad storms in April and May including the big storm that took down over 60 trees at the Zoo. Two of those were very close to the nest and he never moved!”

During times that the male moved away from the nest, keepers were able to monitor and actually see inside the two, large, pea-green eggs using a portable x-ray machine. Several weeks of observation passed with no development detected in either egg. The keepers made a decision to move the eggs to an incubator at the Veterinary Center giving the cassowary couple another chance to breed and lay viable eggs. Surprise! The veterinary team discovered that one of the eggs was fertile. The chick was born a few weeks later.

Neo weighed 418 grams (just shy of one pound) at birth. She will grow steadily for the next three years until she is fully mature at about five feet high and 130 pounds. Before then, Neo will be sent to another conservation organization to meet her mate.

Double-wattled or Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia and are not considered endangered though their habitat is threatened by commercial development and agriculture. Nashville Zoo helps to protect the cassowary by supporting Australian organizations that preserve this species’ native habitats. The Zoo also participates in the cassowary Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Kangaroo Joey
Appeared June, 2020

On June 30, Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of Kangaroo Joeys. Less than a month later, the zoo’s three oldest joeys (Proodence, Gertroode, and Roothie) were out of the pouch and began interacting with each other. The baby boom continues as there are even more Joeys on the way!


Nashville Zoo Hatches First Chilean Flamingo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the successful hatching of a Chilean Flamingo. The Flamingo egg came from Memphis Zoo on July 16 and had been kept in an incubator to develop until it hatched in the early morning hours of Monday, July 29. 

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48430629212_65f739d7a0_bPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

This is the first time Nashville Zoo has housed a Chilean Flamingo. It will be hand-reared by keeper and veterinary staff, so it can be a part of the Ambassador Animal program. The goal of the Ambassador Animal program is to encourage guests to learn more about animals and have up-close experiences through animal encounters, animal shows and outreach programs.

“We’re excited to welcome this Chilean Flamingo to Nashville Zoo and as an ambassador for its species,” said Jac Menish, Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry Curator. “Our goal is to eventually build a flock of ambassador Flamingos, which will help us educate the public about how threatened this species is in the wild and ways humans can help them survive.”

The sex of the chick will be determined within the next couple of weeks. Gender determination is based on the biological materials that remain in the egg post-hatch. Those materials are sent to a lab for genomic analysis and they provide the information on the gender. This process eliminates the need to draw blood samples to determine gender when the chick is older.

The Chilean Flamingo is considered Near Threatened by the International Union For Conservation of Nature. Populations are in decline due to energy production and mining, biological resource use, human intrusions and disturbance and natural system modifications.

Through the Zoo's Wild Works Global Conservation program an avian keeper traveled to Bolivia to help research and band three species of Flamingos, including St. James, Andean and Chilean. The keeper was able to work with the Flamingos directly and gain knowledge about what is impacting them in the wild.

Unlike the bright pink hue of the Caribbean Flamingo found in the parts of the United States, the Chilean Flamingo has a pale pink plumage with black and gray secondary feathers. These Flamingos are found in warm, tropical environments at high altitudes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. Because the waters and soils in their native habitats are alkaline, most of the surrounding areas are arid and barren of vegetation.




Nashville Zoo Announces Birth of Binturong Kits

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that one of their behind-the-scenes Palawan Binturongs gave birth to two kits. New mom, Lucy, welcomed one male and one female on May 13.

“The kits are doing fantastic,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “However, Lucy was not able to produce milk for her babies, so we will be hand-raising the kits in one of our Veterinary Center Neonatal Care rooms, which includes a public viewing window."

The kits weighed between 299-312 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to eight Binturongs. Nashville Zoo has welcomed a total of 10 kits since 2015. There are currently 14 Binturongs in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) care and 11 in facilities globally.

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3_46954425695_6ec37bf09d_bPhoto Credits: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn/Nashville Zoo

Four-year-old Lucy and the four-year-old father, Gru, are currently behind the scenes. For now, the new kits will stay at Nashville Zoo, with plans to eventually include them in ambassador animal programs at other zoos.

Nashville Zoo is the only zoo to have a breeding pair of Palawan Binturongs in its animal collection. In 2015, the Zoo welcomed the first two Palawan Binturongs born in the United States.

While five adult Binturongs at Nashville are currently not on exhibit, one of them, Wilbur, was hand raised by the Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry team and can be seen along the Zoo's trails as part of the Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Program.

The Palawan Binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of Binturong (also known as bearcat) only reaching around 40 pounds. While they aren’t considered endangered, the mammal is officially classified by the IUCN as “Vulnerable” due to destruction of habitat and the illegal pet trade.

Nashville Zoo contributes to the protection of this species by being a part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan® and providing species information to the Binturong Studbook.


Clouded Leopard Birth Includes Two Much-Needed Males

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that a Clouded Leopard named River gave birth to three cubs, two males and one female, on April 29. 

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan® in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The species is under threat in its native habitat.

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47798037611_c5de765218_kPhoto Credit: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn

“These three cubs are important because they will go on to pair with other Clouded Leopards and increase this species' captive population," said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “The two males are particularly important because there were no males born at AZA facilities last year, which means there were few, if any, cub pairings."

Clouded Leopards are paired with unrelated mates born at other zoos within the first year so the couple will grow up together. This process lowers aggression from the males and increases the chance of successful mating and birth in the future.

After the care team noticed that three-year-old River appeared to be neglecting her cubs, the veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. Clouded Leopard cubs are often hand-reared in zoos because females often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers stress for future hands-on care and helps with introductions to mates in the future.

The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

The cubs weigh between 220-265 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to 13 Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1992 and has welcomed 38 cubs since 2009. There are currently 74 Clouded Leopards in the AZA facilities and 295 in accredited facilities globally.  

Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand. 

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Though they are protected by law in most range countries, enforcement of these laws is weak in many places. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo

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The first Clouded Leopard to be born from artificial insemination using frozen/thawed semen has given birth to two cubs at the Nashville Zoo.

The two-year-old female, Niran, gave birth with no complications. “We’ve really made history with Niran,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services.

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47434272392_4bbf2d317c_kPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

The newest cubs weigh about 187 and 192 grams each. After two-year-old Niran gave birth, the zoo's veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. The veterinary staff typically hand raises Clouded Leopard cubs because the mothers often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers animal stress for future hands-on care.

With the addition of these cubs, the zoo is now home to eight Clouded Leopards.

Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1987 and has welcomed 34 cubs since 2009. There are currently 69 Clouded Leopards in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ care and 292 in facilities globally. 

Niran and one-year-old Ron, the father, are living behind the scenes, and the cubs will be placed in the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center neonatal animal care room within a week. The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®. Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They are protected in much of their range, which spans from the Himalayan foothills to Southeast Asia, but enforcement of those protections is weak. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.

See more photos of Niran's cubs below.

Continue reading "Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo" »