The Wilds Celebrates Birth Of Giraffe Calf

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The Wilds is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai Giraffe calf on July 10. Guests taking an Open-Air Safari Tour witnessed the birth in the open pasture at The Wilds, creating an unforgettable experience. So far, the calf appears strong and healthy, staying close to his mother. The Giraffe care team monitors mom and baby as they make their daily rounds.

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Giraffe Calf 7303 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The calf’s father, Raha, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2006, and the calf’s mother, Lulu, was born at Cincinnati Zoo in October 2012. This calf is Lulu’s first, and he was born after a gestation period of about 15 months. Like all Giraffe births, Lulu delivered her calf while standing up. Within a few hours of his birth, the calf stood, nursed, and began walking.

The breeding of Raha and Lulu was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program designed to increase the genetic health and diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care.

“Welcoming a Giraffe calf to our herd is always an incredibly exciting time for our team,” said The Wilds Vice President Dr. Jan Ramer. “Not only is this birth a milestone here at The Wilds, but it also gives us great hope and a foothold to sustain declining populations of this species in their native ranges.”

Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to habitat degradation and poaching. In an effort to reduce threats to Giraffes, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds support several conservation projects in Giraffe range countries across Africa, including the Serengeti Giraffe Project based in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda.

Male Giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are 13 to 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animals and are the largest ruminants. Their native ranges are savannas, grasslands or open woodlands in central and southern African countries.

See more photos of the calf below.

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Rare Sri Lankan Leopards Get Their First Checkup

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Two endangered Sri Lankan Leopards born on May 26 at Burgers’ Zoo had their first veterinary checkup last week.

The cubs, a male and a female, were vaccinated, sexed, and microchipped for identification. Both were pronounced healthy and strong by the zoo’s veterinarian.

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Photo Credit: Burgers' Zoo

You can peek into the den where the cubs live with their mother on the zoo’s live stream. The cubs will remain with their mother for two years. After that time, they will be paired with unrelated mates at other accredited zoos that breed this species. Such moves help ensure genetic diversity and sustainability in the zoo-dwelling population.

Sri Lankan Leopards are one of nine Leopard subspecies. They are found only on the island of Sri Lanka, which lies off the southern tip of India. Fewer than 1,000 Sri Lankan Leopards remain in the wild, and they are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Poaching and loss of suitable habitat are the main threats to the subspecies.  The endangered status of the Sri Lankan Leopard makes the birth of these two cubs significant for the cats’ conservation.


‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ in the Taronga Troop

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Black-handed Spider Monkey babies are growing and developing rapidly. Born in October and December 2017, the two females have started to explore their island home away from their mothers. Isadora, the eldest of the two youngsters, is already becoming quite an influence on her younger half-sister. The younger female, Ariana is quite curious of Isadora, and often follows and copies her to pick-up items or practice climbing skills. As the old saying goes: “monkey see, monkey do”!

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Sasha Brook, Keeper, said, “The two babies have started playing with each other only very recently, and it is one of the cutest things I’ve seen in all my years as a keeper!”

Both the mothers, particularly Jai, are very relaxed and allow the keepers to interact with their babies. The babies love to climb and chew on the keeper’s hands and are now at an age where their confidence is rapidly increasing.

“Both babies are eating a fair amount of solid food now, but are still quite reliant on the nutrition of their mothers’ milk,” said Sasha.

The babies will be fully weaned and completely independent by the age of two, but will still stay close to their mothers until they are approximately four years old.

“They can still be seen riding on their mothers back, and when they run amok their mums will chase after them and scoop them up. The two often copy their mothers, and other members of the troop, by picking up and mouthing carrots and other fruits and vegetables provided,” Sasha shared.

The Black-handed Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), also known as Geoffroy's Spider Monkey is a species of spider monkey native to Central America, parts of Mexico, and possibly a small portion of Colombia. As a result of habitat loss, hunting and the pet trade, the species is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

Their body color varies by subspecies and population: buff, reddish, rust, brown or black. Hands and feet are dark or black, and the face usually has a pale mask and bare skin around the eyes and muzzle.

Unlike most primates whose males leave to find other troops for breeding, female Black-handed Spider Monkeys are generally the ones to seek a new troop upon becoming sexually mature. These females may eventually go to another zoo in the future, but for now they will continue to grow and develop under the watchful eye of their mothers and keepers.

A great time to see the Black-handed Spider Monkeys is at 12:50pm when keepers provide them with their lunch. Visitors to the zoo can also grab their own lunch or a coffee and watch the Spider Monkey antics any time during the day.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo had not bred Black-handed Spider Monkeys for 16 years, until the arrival of Isadora last year, followed by Ariana soon after.

For more information about the facility, visit www.zoofari.com.au .

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Porcupette First of His Kind Born at Brookfield Zoo

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The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is getting right to the “point” by announcing the birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine on July 2. The little male porcupette is the first of his kind to be born at Brookfield Zoo.

After monitoring the mother, 5-year-old Lucia, for an extended period of time, it became clear that she was not allowing the baby to nurse and would not be able to provide her offspring proper maternal care. At that time, animal care and veterinary staff made the decision to intervene and hand-rear the porcupette, who is now thriving.

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4_DSC_6726 (7-8)Photo Credits: Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society / (Images 4-7 feature Maggie Chardell, a lead animal care specialist for the CZS, assisting in hand-rearing) 

Following a gestation of about 203 days, the baby was born weighing just under a pound. The baby has soft quills that protect the mom during the birthing process, but after a few days, the quills harden with keratin, which gives them their sharpness.

Baby porcupines are relatively mature and mobile immediately following birth. Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are born with a rusty-brown colored coat that help them blend in with their environment. Similar to a young deer fawn, a porcupette hides and waits for its mother to come to it for nursing. A baby will typically continue to nurse until it is weaned at approximately 10 weeks of age.

Both Lucia and the porcupette’s dad, 4-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and can be seen in Hamill Family Play Zoo. Once the young porcupine is weaned from the bottle, he will also be a part of this program, which offers guests the opportunity to have up-close experiences with many of the animals.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are native to South America and live in high-elevation rain forests. Their long tail is used to wrap around branches while climbing.

Despite what some might think, porcupines do not shoot their quills, which are just modified hairs made out of the same substance found in human hair and fingernails. Porcupines have muscles at the base of each quill that allow the quills to stand up when the animal is excited or alarmed. Like all hairs, quills do shed, and when the porcupines shake, loose quills come out. The ends of Prehensile-tailed Porcupines’ quills have a small barb (like a fish hook) that snags the flesh, keeping the quill stuck.

More pics below the fold!

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Sea Lion Pups Double the Excitement at UK Zoo

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s keepers have a couple of exciting new additions to care for, with the arrival of two California Sea Lion pups.

Adventurous male pup, Hanno, was born to first-time mum, Lara, on June 10. Laid-back male, Oakley, was born to second-time mum, Bailey, on June 23.

After giving birth at the UK’s largest Zoo, ten-year-old, Lara, and eleven-year-old, Bailey, have taken to motherhood swimmingly and are already proving to be doting mums to the lively pups.

Team Leader, Tim Savage, is overjoyed at the new arrivals and said, “The first pup was immediately so curious and adventurous, we decided to name him Hanno, after the fifth century oceanic explorer. At night he goes on little missions and explores the sea lion house!”

“Lara’s always been the cheekiest member of the group, but she’s so attentive with Hanno, never letting him out of her sight. Every time Hanno tries to go near the water, she pulls him back. This isn’t Bailey’s first pup, so she’s much more confident and relaxed. She leaves Oakley to snooze while she goes off for a swim.”

Tim continued, “They’ve both had a little splash in the pool, but neither of the pups are strong swimmers yet. Over the next month they will learn to dive, and practice holding their breath, and soon visitors will see them confidently swimming around the pool with their mums, and dad Dominic.”

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Covered in fur, the pups will eventually grow to be over two meters long. The new pups are a valuable addition to the colony of California Sea Lions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and the European conservation breeding programme for the species.

Originating from the rocky coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, along the west coast of the USA, California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) live in large colonies, led by a dominant male and his harem of female mates.

Tim shared, “After a birth, male Sea Lions guard their harem of females, which means they do not leave to get food. Although Dominic has no competition and plenty of food available to him here, he acts in exactly the same way, fasting for a month and making a lot of noise to show this is his territory! Don’t feel too bad for him though, he prepared for his fast by eating lots before the births!”

Summer visitors to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will be able to see Hanno and Oakley learning to swim alongside the rest of the Sea Lion clan. Visit www.zsl.org to find out more.

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‘Four-Pack’ of Cuteness at Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hatched some delightful new additions last month. Two penguin chicks and two flamingo chicks are said to have waddled into the hearts of zoo staff.

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The darling pair of Magellanic Penguins hatched two days apart, on June 16 and 18 respectively. Their teeny little flippers, beaks, and everything else, have enchanted everyone who has met them. Both chicks are thriving under the care of each of their proud parents, and they will go on exhibit in the Zoo’s Tuxedo Coast at about three months of age.

The Greater Flamingo chicks got a later start, but they’re quickly giving the penguins a run for their money for title of ‘cutest birds in the zoo’. The first baby hatched on June 21, followed by the second on June 27.

The younger of the two flamingos can be seen on exhibit with its parents, while the older is being hand-reared. This means lots of up-close and personal time with keepers as it grows up and into those big feet. It will continue to be looked after by the attentive keepers until it is old enough to join the rest of the flock.

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ZooBorns Seeks Freelance Producer Editor

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Summary/Objective:

ZooBorns is looking for a creative producer/editor to work on 12 Facebook Watch episodes. (Job is for 3-4 months with the possibility for future episodes)

Essential Functions:

•Create, write, produce and edit high-end episodes on a tight deadline, reporting to ZooBorns co-founders

•Manage videographers, edit video, music and graphic content, working with show creators to develop episodes. We estimate the job requiring 30-40 hours per week.

•The candidate must have a flexible schedule and be able to work weekends, holidays and off-hour shifts if needed.

•Can work from home or wherever they want provided they are able to field calls with videographers in all three US Time Zones during the working day.

•This person will be working on the ZooBorns Facebook Watch Show show

•Thorough understanding of ZooBorns storylines -- including a proficient:

- Ability to edit video using Adobe Premier

- Ability to use After Effects software is preferred

- Knowledge of social media (Facebook) platforms, ideally FB Watch.

Preferred Education and Experience:

•3+ years previous experience working in post-production required

Other Key Attributes / Characteristics:

•Strong communication skills

•Collaborate and take direction from ZooBorns co-founders in a one-on-one environment and ability to work independently

Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Please send C.V. and an editing reel, or a link(s) to some content you have produced/edited to fbwatch@zooborns.com


Biggest Bush Dog Litter Ever Born at Chester Zoo Emerges From Den

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The biggest Bush Dog litter ever born at Chester Zoo has emerged from its den.

The six pups, born to mother Mana, age 7, and dad Franco, age 4, have made their public debuts after spending their first few weeks of life tucked away in their underground burrows.

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Puppy love! Biggest ever bush dog litter born at Chester Zoo emerges from den (21)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo


Keepers believe the first of the sextuplets arrived on May 13, which is when they first heard tiny cries coming from the dens as they performed their morning rounds.

The litter, which is above the average size for Bush Dogs and is made up of two boys and four girls, is the largest to be born at the zoo.

Now, the youngsters have come out to play and have begun exploring the outside world under the watchful eye of their parents.  

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said, “Mana is doing a wonderful job of caring for her new pups but with it being her biggest litter ever, she’s certainly got her paws full. We’ve seen fairly big litters of four or five pups born in the past, but never have we had a litter of six.

The zoo’s Bush Dog pack now contains 16 individuals. In the next few weeks, the newest pups will be weighed and sexed by the care team.

Bush Dogs belong to the canine family and live in small isolated populations in the wet forests and grasslands of Central and South America. They have evolved over thousands of years to have a web of skin between their toes, which makes them excellent swimmers.

Sightings of Bush Dogs in the wild are becoming increasingly rare with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listing the species as Near Threatened. Their wild numbers have dropped by more than 25% in just 12 years. This decline is caused by destruction of natural areas for farms and other human developments, poaching for their meat, and diseases contracted from domestic dogs.

Chester Zoo has supported partners in Misiones, Argentina, where conservationists helped to create a biological corridor of habitat for a range of carnivorous species to help improve the movement between different areas of fragmented forest.

See more photos of the sextuplets below.

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Naked Mole Rats Born at Bioparc Valencia

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A litter of Naked Mole Rats was born last week at Bioparc Valencia, highlighting this unusual and unique species.

Native to the dry grasslands of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Naked Mole Rats excavate extensive underground burrows. They are well adapted to their underground life, with tiny eyes and large teeth for digging. As the name suggests, Naked Mole Rats have very little hair and lack a fat layer under the skin.

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BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia



Naked Mole Rats are unusual among mammals in that they exhibit eusociality, a social structure similar to that of ants, termites and bees. The life of the colony is governed by chemical mechanisms, where there is only one breeding female (the queen), and one to three breeding males (the drones). The rest of the individuals in the colony are workers, which are sterile and are charged with maintaining the nest and gathering food.

Scientists are greatly interested in Naked Mole Rats because they are believed to be resistant to cancer, likely due to their genetic makeup. They are insensitive to pain because they lack a specific neurotransmitter. Naked Mole Rats are able to thrive in a low-oxygen environment (only about 2-9%, compared to 21% above ground). In addition, their relatively long lifespan of 32 years – unlike many rodents that live just a few years – is of great interest to scientists who study the aging process.

One of the objectives of BIOPARC Valencia is to make known the rich biodiversity of the planet and the need to conserve it, where all species are essential.


Saint Louis Zoo Primate House Welcomes a Princess

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A female Mongoose Lemur, born at the Saint Louis Zoo on March 19, can now be seen by visitors as she plays with her mom, Dahlia, and dad, Snuffy, in the Zoo’s Primate House.

This is the first successful birth and rearing of a Mongoose Lemur at the Zoo, a milestone for the critically endangered species and a credit to the hundreds of hours of work contributed by the entire animal care team at the Primate House.

Known as “Princess Buttercup”, the baby is healthy and very energetic. However, her first few months of life started off a bit rocky, requiring round-the-clock care and feeding by the Zoo’s primate care staff.

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Six-year-old Dahlia has previously been unsuccessful in raising her infants, so when this pregnancy was confirmed, primate keepers consulted with numerous colleagues and conservation organizations with extensive lemur experience for advice. After creating a comprehensive birth plan, a decision was made to intervene early after this birth.

From the beginning, Dahlia cared for the baby in every way except nursing. She groomed, kept her warm, and let Princess Buttercup hang onto her fur. The animal care staff hand fed formula to the 68.5-gram (about 2.4 ounces) newborn using a syringe and performed regular weigh-ins and check-ups to make sure she was gaining weight and progressing normally.

For the first three weeks, Princess Buttercup was fed every two hours and demanded almost constant attention. Through training and a trusting relationship between the keepers and the lemur parents, Dahlia and Snuffy allowed the keepers to feed, weigh and monitor their baby since her birth. At 3 ½ months old, she now receives three formula feedings a day and is trying out a variety of adult foods as well.

The entire team of dedicated primate keepers altered their schedules in order to provide 24-hour care for this new baby, making sure that she was healthy, comfortable and well fed.

“We are all thrilled that Princess Buttercup is thriving and that we were able to assist Dahlia in raising her baby,” said Mylisa Whipple, one of the primate unit keepers who was instrumental in preparing the birth plan. “It’s an exhausting process to raise a child – any parent can attest to this – but every Mongoose Lemur birth is extremely important for this endangered species and we wanted to do the absolute best for her. It’s an amazing feeling to see her doing so well after such a tough start.”

This birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mongoose Lemur Species Survival Plan, a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Mongoose Lemurs in North American zoos. With Princess Buttercup’s birth, there are now a total of 68 Mongoose Lemurs in all AZA zoos (38 female, 30 male).

The Mongoose Lemur (Eulemur mongoz) is a critically endangered species native to the dry forests of northwestern Madagascar, where it searches for its diet of nectar, fruit, flowers and leaves. The small lemur weighs only 3 to 4 pounds as an adult.

Like many other lemurs, the Mongoose Lemur is in danger of extinction in the wild, due to continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.

*The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat.