Ocelot Kitten Starts the New Week with a New Name

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The Buffalo Zoo recently announced the birth of their newest Brazilian Ocelot kitten. The adorable little male was born on November 17 to mom, Ayla (age 6), and dad, Pedro (age 12).

The Zoo has been sharing sweet videos, via social media, of the new guy at play, but one thing has been missing…a name! Keepers compiled a list of four potential names and recently asked the public to assist in the voting. The four possible monikers were: Javiar, Nico, Pablo, and Tacito.

The contest recently ended, and the final votes were tallied. The winning name, with 68% of the votes, is…Nico!

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1_15994525_10154350376678995_8544600553783491020_oPhoto Credits: Buffalo Zoo

Nico is the second kitten born to Ayla and Pedro. Their first offspring was born in 2013.

Learn more about Nico’s mom Ayla, and the work being done to help save this beautiful species, in this past ZooBorns article: “Brazilian Ocelot Births Help Conservation and Research” .

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Elephant Birth Caught on Camera at Chester Zoo

It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (19)
A rare Asian Elephant has been born at Chester Zoo, and the whole delivery - as well as the first moments between the baby and the herd - were caught on closed-circuit TV.

The male calf arrived to 20-year-old Sithami Hi Way on January 17 after a 22-month gestation and a 20-minute labor.  Keepers – who stayed up late to monitor the birth live on CCTV - say mom and her calf, who is yet to be named, are doing well.  The healthy new arrival was born onto soft sand and was on his feet and nursing within minutes.

In the video, you can see Sithami stimulating her newborn calf and encouraging him to get up by kicking up sand around him.  The rest of the herd then gathers around and helps the baby up.

It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (13)
It's a boy! Second rare Asian elephant born in a month sparks joy at Chester Zoo (3)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

The calf has been welcomed by the rest of the Elephant herd, including his future playmates:  one-month-old baby Indali Hi Way and one-year-old half-sister Nandita Hi Way.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Chester Zoo conservationists are working in India to protect the species from human-wildlife conflict. The new calf is an invaluable addition to the breeding program for this species.

Asian Elephants are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, agricultural and urban development; poaching for ivory, disease, and conflict with humans. As their natural habitat is lost, more animals are wandering into farmed areas causing crop damage. Increasing numbers of people have also died as a result of Elephant encounters, leading to retaliatory hunting by some communities.

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Red Panda Cub Gets a Helping Hand at Taronga Zoo

Red Panda Cub 9_Photo by Paul Fahy
A Red Panda cub is making a remarkable recovery at Taronga Zoo with the help of a surrogate mom and a cuddly soft toy.

The two-month-old female cub, named Maiya, gets round-the-clock care after sustaining a neck injury while being carried in her mother’s mouth.

Red Panda Cub 7_Photo by Paul Fahy
Red Panda Cub 6_Photo by Paul FahyPhoto Credit:  Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo

“She’s definitely a little survivor,” said Tamara Gillies, Maiya’s primary keeper. “She’s guzzling down her milk formula, she’s gaining weight every day and the wound on her neck has almost completely healed.”

The cub has also found a fluffy new friend in the form of a soft toy Red Panda, which she clings to while feeding and sleeping.

“The soft toy gives her something with a familiar scent to snuggle and play with. It’s the same color as a real Red Panda and she clings to it using her claws and teeth as she would do with her mum,” said Tamara.

Maiya, whose name means “little girl” in Nepali, was born at Taronga on November 20, 2016 to first-time parents Amala and Pabu. The cub spent her first five weeks in mother Amala’s care before keepers made the difficult decision to intervene.

“It was a hard choice as we’d always prefer for a cub to be raised by its mother. Amala was doing an amazing job for a first-time mum. She was very attentive and we observed all the right suckling and grooming behaviours, but unfortunately the injury to the cub’s neck required urgent veterinary care,” said Tamara.

Tamara said it’s not uncommon for Red Panda cubs to experience neck wounds as mothers often carry their young by the scruff of the neck.

Maiya will remain in Tamara’s constant care for at least another month, but keepers are already taking steps to gradually reintroduce the cub to her parents.

Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan Mountains, where they dwell in the forests.  They feed primarily on bamboo and are in decline due to shrinking habitat.

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Zoo Basel’s Zebra Filly Plays With Purpose

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A female Grant’s Zebra, named Niara, was born at Zoo Basel on December 16. Her name means ‘one with high purpose’, and this lively little girl can be found out-and-about, with purpose, in the Africa Enclosure.

This little mare is the first offspring for mom, Jua (age 5). Initially, the inexperienced mother was unsure of little Niara stretching her head under her mother’s stomach from the side to nurse. Hunger made Niara creative, and she eventually was successful in her attempts by reaching from the back.

Niara’s father, Tibor (age 7), is also a member of the Zoo’s herd. The Zebra herd also includes the foal’s grandmother Chambura (12), Lazima (3), and little Nyati (1/2).

Niara will soon be getting to know the little Ostriches, who share her herd’s exhibit. The Ostriches and Zebras are currently making alternate use of the Africa Enclosure, as Zebras are very inquisitive and like to play at hunting the smaller birds.

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4_za_170117_03Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The Zebras at Zoo Basel have become acclimated to the wintery temperatures and are not really bothered by the current cold weather. Heated stalls are currently available for animals that do not cope well with the cold.

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Zoo Antwerp Has a Brilliant Start to the New Year

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The New Year began at Antwerp Zoo with the birth of a Bluespotted Stingray. The Zoo participates in the breeding program for this endangered species, and they cannot be more proud of their new arrival.

"We noticed in November, a thickening in the female, which indicates a pregnancy. It is always exciting to wait and see. On January 5, we discovered the pup behind a coral wall of the reef aquarium. It's a boy and seemed to us one or two days old. With a first pregnancy, there is usually only one baby, but a ray can even give birth to up to seven little rays. That is a promise for the future,” Keeper Danny shared. 2_fotolink_rog1

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4_fotolink_rog4Photo Credits: ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst

The Bluespotted Stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii), also known as Bluespotted Maskray or Kuhl's Stingray, is a species of the Dasyatidae family. The body is rhomboidal and colored green with blue spots. Maximum disk width is estimated 46.5 centimeters (18.3 in).

The Bluespotted Stingray preys on many fish and small mollusks. They are generally found from Indonesia to Japan, and most of Australia. The Bluespotted Stingray is also targeted by many parasites such as tapeworms, flatworms, and flukes.

The species is ovoviviparous. Embryos are retained in eggs within the mother's body until they are ready to hatch. The embryos receive nourishment from the mothers' uterine fluid. Mothers give birth to up to seven pups per litter; these pups range from 6 inches (150 mm) to 13 inches (330 mm) long at birth.

The little male pup at Antwerp Zoo is large, about 17 cm, the size of a saucepan.

Since 2015, Antwerp Zoo has had a large reef aquarium in which a mix of fish swims in splendor. Now, both blue and gray stingrays roam for the first time between the corals. Caretakers at the Zoo can be seen diving into the aquarium to feed all the fish and clean the windows. The Stingrays get their individual meal of eel, and keepers use this time to also monitor their health.

Stingrays have a venomous spine with barbs on their tails. They are not aggressive and will not attack without provocation. They save their defense mechanism for unexpected or unfortunate movements.

Like the precious coral reefs and many other ocean dwellers, Stingrays are threatened. Their habitat is under pressure. Also overfishing reduces their number.

In Queensland, Australia there are many areas for high protection of the Bluespotted Stingray, three being the Shoalwater, Corio Bay's Area Ramsar Site, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The ray is commonly caught in the Java Sea by fishermen trawling and by Danish seine boats in large quantities. The Bluespotted Stingray is the second most significant species out of the sharks, rays, and skate family to be fished, contributing to about 700 kilograms (1,500 lb) per boat in 2006-2007.

Only recently, there have been international breeding programs initiated to help protect the species. Antwerp Zoo is now a proud and successful participant in the European breeding program for the Bluespotted Stingrays.


Potawatomi Zoo Happy to Be 'In a Pickle’

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On November 12, Potawatomi Zoo staff discovered their female Giant Anteater had given birth.  The new male pup was born to parents Corndog and Jo Hei and has been nicknamed “Pickle”.   

The healthy pup weighed in at just over 3lbs at birth, and at his latest veterinary check, on December 28, 2016, weighed over 12lbs. Pickle has been observed nursing, riding on mom, and most recently, being encouraged by mom to stand and play.  

Pickle will spend most of his time for the next year, clinging to mom. Keepers report that it would not be unheard of for the youngster to be half as big as mom and still be catching a ride at his first birthday!   

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Pickle’s mom, Corndog, was born at Fresno Zoo in January 2006, and first arrived at Potawatomi Zoo in June 2007. She left for Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI, in June 2011 on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, where she was introduced to Jo Hei.  Together, they produced two offspring: one female in 2012 and one male in 2014.

Still under recommendation from the AZA’s Species Survival Plan, Corndog returned to Potawatomi Zoo in December 2015 and brought her mate Jo Hei along with her.  

Jo Hei and Corndog were observed breeding in the Spring of 2016, and subsequent ultrasounds confirmed pregnancy.  Corndog successfully received numerous ultrasounds from veterinary staff during her pregnancy, to monitor both the health of mom and baby.   

As South American natives, Giant Anteaters prefer warmer weather and mom and baby may not be seen, in the outdoor exhibit at Potawatomi Zoo, until consistently warmer temperatures are reached.

However, the Zoo reports that their adult male anteaters, Jo Hei and Barques, are already acclimated to the cooler local climate, and will be available for outdoor viewing when outdoor temps near 50 degrees.   

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the ant bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. They can live between 15 to 20 years in protected conservation facilities.

The species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” to extinction by the IUCN. Shockingly, Giant Anteaters are among the top species killed on the roadways in their native environments in South America, and as a result, their population is listed as decreasing.  

The Potawatomi Zoo is a sponsor of the conservation project Anteaters & Highways (www.giantanteater.org) in support of research to address the threats to Giant Anteaters and help save this iconic species in the wild.   


Little Rock Zoo Welcomes Trio of Maned Wolf Pups

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Three Maned Wolf pups are the newest additions at the Little Rock Zoo. The trio was born December 21 to parents Gabby and Diego. The two females and their brother currently weigh around two pounds each.

Zoo visitors to the Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost may have recently noticed “Quiet Please” signs on one of the observation decks. Gabby’s den is beneath the deck, and keepers want to help the new family enjoy their bonding time.

“We don’t want to stress her out,” said Debbie Thompson, Carnivores Curator at the Zoo. “For example, if there were too much noise on the deck, we wouldn’t want her to bring the pups out in the cold.”

Thompson said it would likely be six more weeks before Zoo guests can hope to see the pups in the exhibit. However, she notes that a lucky few may catch a glimpse of them before then.

“Gabby has already moved all three out into one of the huts. She stayed there all day then moved them all back to the den,” Thompson said.

Those who catch sight of the pups now might think they look like a different species from the parents. At birth they’re covered in black fur with white-tipped tails, while their parents resemble foxes on stilts.

The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is not a fox, nor is it a wolf, as it is not closely related to other canids. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "golden dog").

Adults have the thick red coat, tall erect ears, pointed muzzle and white-tipped tails of foxes, but long slender black legs.  

Native to South America’s forests, grasslands, savannas, marshes and wetlands, these omnivorous animals eat fruits*, vegetables, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as birds and insects.

*(According to Little Rock Zoo keepers, Gabby and Diego’s favorite fruit is bananas!)


San Diego Cheetah Sisters Ready to Be Weaned

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The two Cheetah cub sisters, being raised by animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, are almost two-months-old.

The sisters were born November 19. Unfortunately, their mother wasn’t caring for them after their birth, so the Zoo’s animal care staff had to intervene.

Although the girls are yet-to-be-named, keepers have been calling them “Yellow” and “Purple” (due to the colors of the temporary ID markings put on their tails).

Nursery staff reports that the cubs are very active and playing almost constantly, with only short catnaps during the day. They are eating ground meat, with some formula supplement, but keepers say they will be weaned very soon.

The two growing Cheetahs have also been given more play area. Previously, the sisters were cared for in the nursery’s large playpen. However, now that they are bigger, they have been given access to their entire nursery room.

To prepare the nursery for the cubs, animal care staff had to “kitten-proof” the room, much the same way that parents would prepare a house for a toddler: electrical sockets were blocked, electrical cords were taken away, and any small spaces or sharp corners were filled or covered with towels and blankets.

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3_32118339302_a4475573c8_oPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Guests visiting the Safari Park can see the Cheetahs, currently known as Purple and Yellow, in their nursery at Nairobi Station between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. However, the cubs will eventually be transferred to the San Diego Zoo to serve as animal ambassadors for their species. To prepare the cubs for this, animal care staff at the Park are working with Zoo staff to crate train the cubs, as crate travel will be the primary way the Cheetahs will be transported for their animal ambassador appearances. Keepers attempt to make the crates comfortable and a rewarding place for the cubs to relax, and they encourage the young Cheetahs to retreat to their crates for naps and sleeping.

A recent survey shows that Cheetah populations in their historic range are much lower than previously thought. According to a study published in December 2016, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there are only 7,100 Cheetahs remaining within the species’ native habitat. The last comprehensive survey of African cheetah populations was conducted in 1975, when it was estimated there were 14,000 Cheetahs.

San Diego Zoo Global, which has been breeding Cheetahs for more than 40 years, is working to create an assurance population of Cheetahs by participating in the national Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition (BCC). By building a sustainable cheetah population, San Diego Zoo Global and the other eight members of the Cheetah BCC are working to prevent extinction of the world’s fastest land animal. The Cheetah BCC was formed in late 2012 as part of the Cheetah Sustainability Program, a partnership between the Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program.


Rare and Tiny Deer Born at Chester Zoo

Endangered Philippine spotted deer born at Chester Zoo (14)
An extremely rare Philippine Spotted Deer was born on December 26 at Chester Zoo. The tiny male fawn, which keepers say appears healthy and strong, was shown off for the first time by its proud parents this week.  

Endangered Philippine spotted deer born at Chester Zoo (19)
Endangered Philippine spotted deer born at Chester Zoo (12)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

 

Philippine Spotted Deer are one of the world’s most threatened Deer species.  Zookeepers have hailed the arrival as “a big boost for the species” with fewer than 2,500 of the animals – listed as endangered on Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species - now estimated to remain in the wild.

Experts say a combination of factors including illegal hunting and large-scale habitat loss have contributed to the demise of the species.

As they breed a back-up population in Europe at the request of the Philippine government, Chester Zoo staff support efforts to protect and restore Deer habitat in the Philippines and build breeding centers for the species.

Like many island nations, the Philippines are home to many unique species.  But a rapidly expanding human population, along with the loss of 90% of the islands’ original forest cover, has brought many species under threat.

In the wild, the Deer can be found in the rainforests of the Philippines’ Visayan islands of Panay and Negros. It once roamed across other Visayan islands such as Cebu, Guimaras, Leyte, Masbate and Samar – but is now regionally extinct on those islands.

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Rhino Calf is 35th for Basel Zoo

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When Quetta the Indian Rhinoceros, who is normally calm and relaxed, began nervously pacing at the Basel Zoo on Saturday, January 7, keepers suspected that she might be in labor.  Quetta remained in her stall all night, alternately standing and lying down. Around 11:45 PM, she delivered a healthy male calf after a 492-day pregnancy.

Born while his mother was standing up, the calf, named Orys, landed on his back but soon rolled onto his stomach. Within an hour he was standing on wobbly legs.  Though he is tiny compared to his mother, Orys weighed an impressive 150 pounds a few days after birth.  

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Panzernashorn_jungtier_orys_und_quetta_ZOB3252Photo Credit:  Basel Zoo

Basel Zoo has a long history of breeding Rhinos.  Orys is Quetta’s fourth calf and the 35th Indian Rhinoceros to be reared at Basel Zoo.  The first Indian Rhino birth in a European Zoo occurred at Basel Zoo in 1956.

Every Rhino birth is significant.  Once ranging across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Indian Rhinos are now found only in a few protected areas in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Indian Rhinos are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with about 3,500 individuals remaining in the wild. Indian Rhinos are one of five Rhino species in the world, and all are under threat.

Basel Zoo coordinates the International Studbook and the European Endangered Species Programme for Indian Rhinos and is active in the ‘Indian Rhino Vision 2020’ project to conserve wild Rhinos in India. Globally, about 220 Indian Rhinos live in zoos.

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