The Turtle Back Zoo, in West Orange, NJ has some exciting news to announce! Mommy Porcupine Becky has given birth to a baby Porcupine- otherwise known as a porcupette! Born on April 16, 2015 both mother and baby are now officially on exhibit, just in time for Mother's Day.
Photo credits: 1 & 3 Jeff Stiefbold, 2 The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo
While their Latin name technically means “quill pig,” Porcupines are actually rodents. These sharp dressed mammals are covered with soft hair as well as quills, which are really modified hairs that stand up when a Porcupine feels threatened. Not only does this make the Porcupine look larger, but it also delivers a prickly poke to a predator who gets too close. Sharp, strong teeth allow these herbivores to crack open nuts and eat barks, roots, fruits and leaves. There are about 12 different porcupine species, and they can be found in North, Central and South America; Southern Europe; Asia; and regions of Africa.
The Honolulu Zoo recently celebrated their first newborn Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth!
The new baby was born April 21st, to mom ‘Harriet’. Mother and baby are doing well, and they are both on exhibit. However, Harriet is quite protective of her new offspring, and visitors will need to have patience if they want to catch a glimpse of the new family.
Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth (also known as the Southern Two-Toed Sloth or Unau) is a species of sloth from South America. They are found in Venezuela, the Guyanas, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil north of the Amazon River.
It is a solitary, nocturnal and arboreal animal, found predominately in rainforests. Linnie’s Two-Toed Sloth is able to swim, which enables their travel across rivers and creeks, but they are seemingly built for life in treetops. They spend nearly all of their lifetime hanging from branches. Sloths will often sleep 15 to 20 hours, in trees. At night, they will search for food, generally leaves, shoots and fruits.
Two-Toed Sloth’s mate and give birth while hanging from branches. Gestation length is approximately 10 months. Newborns will cling, solely, to their mother for about five weeks after birth.
Modern Sloths are divided into two families, based on the number of toes on their front feet. Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth and Hoffman’s Two-Toed Sloth are larger than their three-toed counterparts. They also possess longer hair, bigger eyes and their back and front legs are more equal in length.
The Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threat is loss of habitat due to deforestation of the South American rainforests for farming, residential areas and ranching.
The first Humboldt Penguin chicks of 2015 have emerged from their eggs at Chester Zoo.
Weighing only two ounces, baby chick Panay – named after an exotic island in the Philippines – was the first of eight to hatch at the zoo. The next seven hatchlings were named after other islands: Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Sumba, Java, and Tuma.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo
Since the chicks hatched, zookeepers have been carefully observing their nutrition, weight, and development in the nest. The chicks are weighed daily, and their parents receive extra fish so they can feed their new babies. It’s working – some of the chicks weigh seven times their hatch weight after only a few weeks.
Each pair of the South American species, which come from the coastal areas of Peru and Chile, lays two eggs and incubates them for 40 days. Both parents help rear the young until they are fully fledged, before making their tentative first splash in the pool with the rest of the colony. Humboldt Penguins are named after the chilly Humboldt current that parallels South America's west coast and carries abundant marine life.
Of the world’s 17 Penguin species, Humboldt Penguins are among the most at risk, being classified as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Their decline is due in part to extensive mining of guano beds. The guano beds, consisting of hundreds of years of accumulated bird droppings, make excellent fertilizer. But the Penguins need the guano beds as nesting grounds, so when the guano is removed, the Penguins have nowhere to nest. Overfishing of the Penguins’ prey species, climate change, and rising acidity levels in the ocean also contribute to their decline.
Head to facebook and share pictures of your family's animal-themed Mother's Day cards in the comments of this post and enter to win a copy of our new book, ZooBorns: Motherly Love! On sale now: http://amzn.to/1EZoGPw. (Submission period ends Sunday May 3 at Midnight EST)
Auckland Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its 32nd Giraffe calf! The six foot female was born to 13-year-old ‘Rukiya’, on April 23rd.
Photo Credits: Auckland Zoo
The new calf is the sixth offspring for 'Rukiya' and 17-year-old dad, ‘Zabulu’.
"Rukiya took about an hour and half to deliver this little one, which is on a par with most Giraffe deliveries. She's such a fantastic mum, we really couldn't ask for better. Her calf was walking within half an hour, and has been suckling well," says Auckland Zoo's Pridelands team leader, Nat Sullivan, who witnessed the birth.
"It was so great to see the birth. Even though I’ve seen many here over the years, to me, it’s still one of the coolest things you can ever experience,” says Nat.
A recent health check by vets confirmed the newborn is in great health.
Keepers will soon be selecting a name for the girl, and mother and calf will be gradually integrated with the rest of their herd in the Giraffe paddocks of the Pridelands area, within the next month.
The Pridelands exhibit, at the Auckland Zoo, is a walk through area that allows visitors to experience the sights and sounds of native African animals.
A very fluffy Lesser Sooty Owl chick has recently joined the Free Flight Bird Show team, at Taronga Zoo. At the moment, he looks more like a ball of fluff than an owl, but soon the nine-week-old male will be fully fledged and ready to fly.
Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo
The chick, named ‘Griffin’, arrived at Taronga from Featherdale Wildlife Park and is being hand-raised by Bird Show Supervisor, Matt Kettle, who says that the chick was a big hit when he started taking him home.
“As soon as I walked in the door with him and set him down in his box, my four year old daughter came up and started telling him a story. At home he stretches out in my lap while I watch TV and I give him a bit of a scratch. While nice for us, this is actually part of his training. This human interaction is important as he’ll be doing encounters and flying in the show one day, so it’s essential that he’s prepared for anything,” said Matt.
Griffin is growing up fast and is already starting to lose his fluffy down feathers. Matt continued, “Like most babies, he spends most of his time sleeping, but he’s starting to explore his surroundings more, and he’s jumping off things getting ready to fly.”
Sooty Owls are Australia’s most nocturnal species of owl, preferring very dark and dense rainforest habitat. Lesser Sooty Owls, like Griffin, are found in Northern Queensland; however, the more common Greater Sooty Owl ranges from Sydney, Victoria and into Papua New Guinea. Despite their wide range of habitat, it is very rare to actually see one of these birds in the wild.
Matt said, “They are very, very secretive birds. They aren’t very common to see. Even people who go out searching for Sooty Owls in Sydney find them very hard to find.”
“That’s why it’s so special for Griffin to be here with us as an ambassador for his species, so people can come in and learn about these stunning owls, which also hunt rats and mice.”
Matt plans to start taking Griffin for walks around the Zoo, to continue his training getting used to people, and the youngster will soon be practicing flying in the Bird Show amphitheater.
Taronga’s birds have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife conservation through encounters at the Bird Show.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden holds the largest collection of Kea (Nestor notabilis) in North America. The facility is home to 19 of the 45 total birds in Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. Locally, nationally, and internationally, Cincinnati Zoo staff has worked to improve captive Kea husbandry standards and reproductive success. They also aim to increase public awareness of Kea reproduction research.
Photo Credits: Cincinnati Zoo/ Cassandre Crawford
The Cincinnati Zoo’s determination and hard work was rewarded, recently, when it was announced that the facility had received the Plume Award for Noteworthy Achievement in Avian Husbandry, from the Avian Scientific Advisory Group.
The award recognizes excellence in a single facet of husbandry, such as: first-time breeding, reintroduction programs, breeding consortiums, reproduction of a difficult species or taking a leading role in population sustainability. Robert Webster, the Zoo’s Curator of Birds, and the Cincinnati Zoo Bird Department (Kimberly Klosterman, Jennifer Gainer, Cody Sowers, Dan Burns, Aimee Owen, Rickey Kinley, Steve Malowski and Jackie Bray) have worked tirelessly to achieve breeding success with a species known to have reproductive challenges. The Cincinnati Zoo’s Kea program consists of a breeding flock, an interactive exhibit and a partnership with Kea Conservation Trust in New Zealand.
The bird staff credits flocking and free mate choice as key contributors to the success of its breeding program, as well as assistance from many other Zoo departments and devoted volunteers. “Best of all, we are able to share the insights we are learning with captive Kea-holders throughout the world and with the conservationists whose work we support in the birds’ native New Zealand,” said Webster.
During the last three years, the Cincinnati Zoo has successfully hatched 13 chicks, more than any other zoo in North America. 2014 was especially bountiful, with the fledging of six chicks. During the summer, the Kea flock shares the exhibit with several other avian species, including Nicobar Pigeons, Pied Imperial Pigeons, Magpie Geese, and Cape Barren Geese. Most recently the Aviculture department formed a partnership with the Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) to start a foundation in Kea reproduction research.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Cincinnati Zoo’s success with breeding Kea this year! This flock includes a number of genetically important birds and the population has been struggling with breeding in recent years, so these chicks represent a great move in the right direction. Cincinnati’s unique way of housing and managing Kea in a large flock has proven to be a great combination of guest experience and breeding opportunity for this species,” said Jessica Meehan, AZA Kea SSP Coordinator.
“The international community has great interest in Kea because of their unique ecology, amazing intelligence, and charismatic personalities. There is no other avian species on Earth quite like them,” said Webster. “The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden recognizes that Kea are a wildlife gem and that their loss would be tragic. We have attempted to do everything in our power to ensure that Kea are around for future generations.”
On April 29, 2013, it's doubtful anyone, at Greensboro Science Center, knew how much of an impact the tiny Javan Gibbon, born that day, would have on the facility or the community. The rare, endangered male was born to mom, ‘Isabella’, in the Center’s indoor Gibbon habitat.
In both the wild and in zoos, it’s not unusual for first-time mother Gibbons to abandon their first child, and that’s exactly what happened to the fragile newborn, who was discovered alone in the Gibbon habitat. Thanks to the expert care of zoo keepers, veterinarians, and the staff of a local hospital, the baby, named ‘Duke’, was revived and stabilized. To give Duke the best chance of survival, zoo staffers decided to hand-rear the baby for the next six months, and then try to reintroduce him to his parents, Isabella and Leon, in the exhibit.
We have since learned there is more to Duke’s touching story. The University of North Carolina Center for Public Television recently produced a short segment for the program “North Carolina Weekend”, that aired on their local PBS station.
The segment chronicles Duke’s dramatic entrance into the world, his reintroduction to his family, and his traumatic ordeal with a broken arm.
Two-year-old Duke has become a symbol of perseverance, and his story also reiterates how important man is to the equation of conservation and stewardship of the animal kingdom.
A Cheetah cub, being hand-raised by staff at Wildlife Safari, was recently introduced to a companion that will, hopefully, change her life for the better!
Photo Credits: Wildlife Safari; Video Credits: The News-Review / Kate Stringer
Wildlife Safari, in Oregon, excitedly welcomed the birth of the new Cheetah cub, on February 28th. She was born to dad, ‘Roble’ and mom, ‘Sage’.
Unfortunately, Sage was unable to produce enough milk to sustain the newborn. Safari staff explained that a mother Cheetah will sometimes abandon a single-born cub, for one of two reasons: the greater possibility of birthing a larger litter in the near future or inadequate lactation. Safari staff took Sage’s cub into their care, at a week old, and have been hand raising her, round the clock.
Because Cheetahs have a propensity to completely flatten themselves, while lying down, staff decided to honor this endearing quality by naming the new cub ‘Pancake’! Pancake lived at the Safari’s nursery for the first few weeks of her life. After receiving her vaccinations, she was able to spend several weeks in the nursery of one of her keeper’s homes, where she worked on her socialization skills.
There have been plenty of humans to love and care for the cub, but Pancake needed a more comparable and permanent companion. So, on April 15th, ‘Dayo’ (which means “joy arrives”), a Rhodesian Ridgeback, made a trip from the San Francisco Bay area to Wildlife Safari, where the canine was introduced to his new foster sister, Pancake.
Dayo and Pancake share the same birthday, and they will be raised together, providing companionship for each other. They will also be partners in helping to spread the conservation message so vital to the animal community.
Three Tiger cubs born April 21 at theColumbus Zoo & Aquarium bring hope to the critically endangered Amur Tiger population.
Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
The trio, all males, each weighed about 2.5 pounds at birth. They are the first litter for female Irisa. Zoo staff spent the first day closely monitoring Irisa and her newborns via a remote camera system. When it became clear that Irisa was not nursing her cubs, the zoo staff decided to hand-rear these important youngsters.
There are only about 400 Amur Tigers (formerly called Siberian Tigers) remaining in Russia’s Far East, making each zoo-born cub extremely important to the genetic diversity of the species. The wild population once dipped as low as 40 animals in the 1940s, but improved law enforcement and conservation programs have boosted the population in recent decades. Poaching continues to be the number one threat to these magnificent cats, which are the largest of the six surviving Tiger subspecies. Three Tiger subspecies have gone extinct in the last 100 years.
The Columbus Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan for Amur Tigers, which aims to sustain a genetically healthy population of these rare cats.