Berlin Zoo

Pudú Fawns Enjoy Spring at Zoo Berlin

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Visitors to Zoo Berlin can enjoy the spring weather, while watching the Southern Pudu fawns roam their exhibit with the rest of their group. The fawns, a male and female, were born in the early spring and are still sporting the spotted coats of their youth.

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Csm_Pudunachwuchs_Zoo_Berlin_April_2015_Karl_Broeseke_5c1c4fe6bdPhoto Credits: Zoo Berlin

“That Pudu live together in groups, at the Zoo, is quite unusual,” reveals Tobias Rahde, Curator for Deer, at Zoo Berlin. “In nature, more than two Pudu are never sighted together. The Pudu group in Zoo Berlin is apparently in unusual harmony.”

The Pudu is the world’s smallest deer. It consists of two subspecies of South American deer from the genus Pudu: the Northern Pudu (native to Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru) and the Southern Pudu (found in Chile and southwestern Argentina). They inhabit temperate rainforests, where the dense underbrush and bamboo thickets offer protection from predators.

The Pudu grows to a max height of 13 to 17 inches (32 to 44cm) at the shoulder and up to 33 inches (85cm) in length. They normally weigh up to 26 lbs (12 kg).  Males have short, spiked antlers that are not forked. The antlers, which shed annually, can extend from 2.6 to 3 inches (6.5 to 7.5 cm) in length. Coat coloration varies with season, gender, and individual genes. The fur is long, stiff and reddish-brown to dark-brown in hue.

Pudus are solitary and do not, normally, interact with one another, unless during mating season. Easily frightened, they bark when in fear, and their fur bristles when angered.

Wild predators include: the Horned Owl, Andean Fox, Magellan Fox, Cougar, and other small cats. The Pudu is often slow-moving, but they are quite proficient climbers, jumpers, and sprinters when being pursued. Their lifespan, in the wild, ranges from 8 to 10 years.

Pudus are herbivorous and can survive without drinking water for long periods due to the high water content of the foliage they consume.

In their native habitat, their mating season occurs in the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn, from April to May. Gestation ranges from 202 to 223 days (about 7 months), with the average being 210 days. A single offspring or sometimes twins are born in austral spring, from November to January. Fawns have a reddish-born fur, and Southern Pudu fawns have white spots running the length of their backs. Young are weaned after 2 months and are considered fully-grown at 3 months, but may stay with their mothers for 8 to 12 months.

Both species of Pudus are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due mainly to overhunting and habitat loss. Efforts to preserve the species are being taken before they become extinct. An international captive-breeding program for the Southern Pudu, led by Concepcion University, in Chile, has been started. Deer have been successfully bred in captivity and reintroduced into Nahuel Huapi National Park, in Argentina. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has banned the international trading of Pudus. 


Rare Tiger Cub Makes Her Debut

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An Amur Tiger cub at Germany’s Zoo Berlin made her media debut last week.  The cub, named Alisha, is the only member of her litter to survive.

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10418420_10153011653910149_5941699341082301307_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Berlin

In December, three cubs were born to female Aurora and her mate, Darius, the third litter for this pair.  Unfortunately, two of the cubs did not survive.  When keepers observed that the remaining cub was in poor condition, they decided to hand-raise her.

Little Alisha is thriving under the keepers’ care.  For now, she spends much of her time sleeping, but zoo officials expect Alisha to move onto exhibit within a few weeks.

Amur Tigers, also known as Siberian Tigers, are the largest of the six surviving Tiger subspecies.  Native to far eastern Russia, the population of Amur Tigers dropped to fewer than 50 cats in the 1940s.  Today, thanks to improved law enforcement against illegal hunting, there are now nearly 400 Amur Tigers in the wild.  While Amur Tigers are still listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, scientists are hopeful that the upward trend will continue for these magnificent cats.


Baby Orangutan Thriving Under Keepers' Care

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A baby Sumatran Orangutan at Germany’s Zoo Berlin is being raised by zoo keepers after her mother failed to care for her.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin

The baby was born early in the morning on January 12 to first-time mother Djasinga, age 11.  Despite attempts by zoo keepers to get mother and baby together, the two did not bond.  Keepers decided to hand-rear the infant, who is healthy and strong.

Every two to three hours, the baby is bottle-fed with infant formula.  For now, she resides behind the scenes, where she cannot be seen by zoo guests.  The zoo’s animal care team, in cooperation with the European Endangered Species Programme, will begin the process of determining the next steps for the baby.  Zoo Berlin houses eight Orangutans in two groups.

Sumatran Orangutans are native only to the island of Sumatra, where they inhabit rain forests.  Like their close relatives the Bornean Orangutans, these apes are perilously close to extinction due to extreme habitat loss as forests are converted to palm oil plantations.  By purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil, consumers can help preserve important Orangutan habitat.

See more photos of the baby Orangutan below.

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Rumble of Little Rhino Feet at Zoo Berlin

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On October 2nd, Zoo Berlin’s Black Rhino, ‘Maburi’, gave birth to a healthy baby boy!

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ZooBerlin_BlackRhino_4Photo Credits: Zoo Berlin (1,2,3); Peter Griesbach (4,5)

The yet-to-be named bull calf is, according to keepers, doing exceedingly well.  Even without a horn, he can confidently stand on his short, sturdy legs and survey his surroundings. Soon after birth, the calf nursed for a short while and was soon standing on all fours. Protective mother, Maburi, is keeping watch over him in the safe confines of the rhino barn, at the zoo.

Zoo Berlin Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem, said, “The Zoo Berlin is world famous for its successful Black Rhino breeding. The small bull is already the 18th born in Berlin. We are very excited about the new breeding success of the highly endangered species.”

The Black Rhinoceros is native to eastern and central Africa. Although it is referred to as ‘black’, its colors vary from brown to grey. Overall, the species is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

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Gettin’ Schooled in Swimming at Zoo Berlin

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The young Asian Small-Clawed Otters, at Zoo Berlin, have been entertaining visitors with their undeniable cuteness and their playful antics. Recently, swimming lessons were the preferred activity, and their parents were close by to supervise.

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ZooBerlin_Small Clawed Otter_4Photo Credits: Zoo Berlin

The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is the smallest otter species in the world.  They are native to the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Their paws and claws are a distinctive feature and give the animal a high degree of manual dexterity for feeding on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic creatures.

The Asian Small-Clawed Otter is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The threat to the Small-Clawed Otter is similar to that of Smooth-Coated and Eurasian Otters. Throughout Asia the potential threat to its continued survival is destruction of its habitats due to changing land use pattern in the form of developmental activities. In many parts of Asia, the habitats have been reduced due to reclamation of peat swamp forests and mangroves, aquaculture activities along the intertidal wetlands, and loss of hill streams. In India, the primary threats are loss of habitats due to tea and coffee plantations along the hills, loss of mangroves due to aquaculture, increased human settlements, and siltation of smaller hill streams due to deforestation. Increased influx of pesticides into the streams from the plantations reduces the quality of the habitats. 

Learn more about the otter, below the fold!

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Five Baby Capybaras Born at Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin recently welcomed five baby Capybaras to their South American exhibit!  Born just several weeks ago, the five pups, along with mother, Lucia, explored their enclosure for the first time!  Careful to stay close to mother and each other, they enjoyed their time investigating various aspects of their home at the zoo.

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Capybara_Zoo Berlin_4Photo credits: Zoo Berlin

Native to South America, the Capybara is classified as the largest rodent in the world.  They have a distinctly large, blunt head and a pig-like appearance. Capybaras are capable of running as fast as a horse.  However, they enjoy a semi–aquatic lifestyle and prefer habitats in lowlands, close to water.  They can be found in greater numbers on flooded grasslands, where water, dry ground, and pasture are readily available.  Capybaras possess physical traits that aid their love of swimming.  Their ears, eyes and nostrils are positioned high on their heads, enabling those features to remain above water as they swim.  Their bodies contain large amounts of fatty tissue, which provides buoyancy.  Also, they have partially webbed feet.

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Palawan Bengal Cats Are First of Berlin Zoo's Breeding Program

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One year after their arrival at Zoo Berlin in Germany, a pair of Palawan Bengal Cats has had a litter of two! The two kittens, a male and a female, have been named Ilian and Taytay, after two places on the island of Palawan, the island in the Philippines where this subspecies of the Leopard Cat originates. 

Ilian and Taytay are very special cats: they are the first offspring of Zoo Berlin's breeding program for this subspecies, which is listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the Interantional Union for Conservation of Nature. Zoo Berlin is currently one of only two zoos outside of the Philippines to house Palawan Bengal Cats. The zoo is working to establish a breeding program that will build up a healthy population of Palawan Bengal Cats across zoos. Members of this captive-bred population can eventually be reintroduced on Palawan, to help the wild population recover. In the fall, once they are mature, Ilian and Taytay will move to Prague Zoo and Pilsen Zoo in the Czech Republic. 

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4 catPhoto credit: Zoo Berlin


Hyena Cub Will Earn His Spots at Berlin Zoo

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On July 27, a Spotted Hyena named Malindi gave birth to a healthy male cub at Berlin Zoo. The cub, named Toki, was born with a beautiful black coat, which will start to lighten over the next few weeks to resemble his parent's speckled fur. 

The cub's father, Kara, also lives at Berlin Zoo. But as in the wild, he won't play a role in rearing his offspring. In Hyena packs, females are dominant over males, and raise their pups on their own, so it's understandable that Kara keeps a bit of distance from the rest of the family.

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Spotted Hyena are common on the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. They were long seen as scavengers, but they are in fact persistent hunters, capturing up to 70% of their own food themselves, including large like gazelles, wildebeest and zebras. 


Meet Zoo Berlin’s Blue-eyed Baby Caracal Quadruplets

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Four fluffy Caracal kittens were born on July 21 at Germany’s Zoo Berlin.  The two male and two female cubs, with their rusty-colored coats, bright blue eyes, and long black ear-tips, are now out of the nest box and charming zoo visitors.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

Parents Sarek and Amanda came to the zoo from South Africa in 2004, and have reliably produced offspring nearly every year since. Quadruplets are rare in Caracals, making this litter of kittens unique.  The subspecies living at Zoo Berlin has an intense cinnamon-red coat color.

The name Caracal is derived from the Turkish “kara kulak,” which means “black ear,” referring to the black ear tufts, which can be nearly half the length of the ear itself.  These tufts probably aid in sound detection.

Caracals, also known as Desert Lynx, are widely distributed throughout Africa, Central Asia, and parts of India.  They inhabit dry steppes and rocky terrain.  Caracals are becoming rare in parts of their range, particularly in North Africa, Central Asia, and India.