Berlin Zoo

Shiva Gets Her Shots at Zoo Berlin

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Shiva, a rare Persian Leopard cub born at Zoo Berlin, was not shy about voicing her displeasure when she received her latest round of vaccinations. 

Despite Shiva's disapproval, it was important for the veterinary staff to vaccinate the cub against feline distemper and other diseases.  This was a challenging task because Shiva had to be separated from her mother, Yerevan.  Since her birth on July 1, Shiva and her mother have been inseparable.  Shiva made her public debut last week.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

Shiva is the fifth cub for Yerevan, age 11.  Shiva’s father Haakon is age 16 – quite an advanced age for a big cat.

Persian Leopards were once found throughout central Asia, but they now live only in fragmented populations in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and the Caucasus.  Iran holds the largest population of wild Persian Leopards, with about 700 remaining there.  These small, separate groups of Leopards are threatened by further loss of habitat, armed conflict, and reduction of prey species.  Currently, about 100 Persian Leopards live in zoos, where managed breeding programs could counteract the long-term decline of these cats in the wild.


The Adventures Begin for Zoo Berlin's Ocelot Kitten

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Kittens always seem to be crowd-pleasers, but sometimes it takes a little while for them to venture outside. Zoo Berlin welcomed an Ocelot kitten on July 16, and the little one has been nursing, sleeping and growing strong out of the public's sight, until recently. Keepers have noticed some stirrings now that the kitten is about nine weeks old. Even though these cats are mostly nocturnal, visitors have an increasing chance of catching a glimpse of the beautifully-patterned mother and baby.  As the zoo's press release noted, the elusive nature of these creatures might not be the best draw for the zoo— but it certainly is typical cat! The nine-year-old mother does a good job keeping her baby out of sight. 

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5 ocelotPhoto credits: Zoo Berlin

Ocelots live in a variety of ecosystems in Central and South America, from tropical forests of all types to grasslands, coastal mangroves and marshes, and thorny scrublands. Their range once included the Gulf Coast of the United States, but now only a very small number remain, mostly in south Texas and Arizona. These cats were heavily hunted for their spotted fur, but are now protected throughout most of their range. 

Because Ocelots are solitary and territorial cats, the father is living in a separate enclosure to ensure that mother and baby have the space and privacy that they need. Ocelots have a  fairly low reproductive rate, which poses a challenge to conservation. A litter size of one kitten is typical, and offspring develop slowly.  A kitten's eyes remain closed for up to 18 days, and juveniles often stay with their mother for up to two years before leaving to establish their own territory.


Prickly Porcupette Delights at Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin in Germany has its hands full with a baby Porcupine, or porcupette, born on July 24. The gender is still unknown, and therefore the porcupette remains nameless. Though only a week old, the porcupette has large spines. Unlike the spines of their parents, however, a porcupette's spines are soft and harmless to their mothers during birth.

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Mothers are protective of their babies. When danger is sensed, they puff up their spines, stamp their hind legs on the ground and rattle their hind legs. Because of their spines, nursing can be a challenge for Porcupines. Luckily, the mother's teets are located under her armpits.

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 Photo Credit Zoo Berlin


Meet the New Miniature Donkey Born at Berlin Zoo

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Born at Berlin Zoo in June, this Sardinian Miniature Donkey earns its name. When it stands next to its mom, Grisella, and sister, Pink, who are themselves only waist high, the new foal looks positively tiny. This is the second foal for 8-year-old Grisella, who has proven to be loving and experienced in looking after her baby.

The Sardinian Miniature Donkey is the smallest equine on earth. The breed originated in the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, but can be found all over the world now. Adults range in height from 26 to 36 inches (66-91cm) and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds (90-136 kg). The most common color is gray, like this foal, usually with a dark stripe on their back. Donkeys are herd animals and need to be given a companion. If another donkey is not available, they can easily bond with a pony, llama, goat, or cow. Sometimes they also make friends with the family dog!

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Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo


Giant Anteater Born at Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin welcomed a baby Giant Anteater on May 26. The baby, named Evita by her keepers, is a female. The name was chosen because "E" is the fifth letter in the alphabet, and this is mom Griseline's fifth surviving baby. Before Evita there were Adolpho, Benita, Carlos, and Danita, all born at Berlin Zoo. Evita is being hand-fed by keepers and receives three additional bottle meals per day.

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Evita was just 1,570 grams, or 3.5 pounds, when she was born, but has now increased her weight to 2.5 kg, or 5.5 pounds. She's strong enough to ride on her mother's back — a behavior that is common in Giant Anteaters. Keepers, however, must keep a close eye on Evita since her coloration makes it difficult to distinguish her from her mother's fur.

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Giant Anteaters are insectivores native to South America. As the name implies, their diets consist of ants as well as other small insects. They use their strong claws to tear open termite mounds and anthills. Since Giant Anteaters have no teeth, their two-foot-long tongues and sticky saliva help them to extract the insects.

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Photo Credit Zoo Berlin


White Canadian Wolf Parents Have a Play Day with Their Five Pups

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Whose little feet are those? They belong to one of the new White Canadian Wolf pups born at Berlin Zoo. On April 29, keepers noticed that the four-year-old Ava, who had been pregnant, emerged from the wolf cave looking considerably leaner. It was not long before five pups ventured out to be seen by staff and visitors alike. They sport their puppy coat of brownish spotted fur, but in time will come to have the magnificent white coat of their parents.

The Arctic or White Wolf inhabits the Canadian Arctic and the islands, parts of Alaska and northern parts of Greenland. All wolves in Canada are members of the species Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). Like those in the U.S., Canadian wolves can range from coal black to off-white in color, but most have a creamy white coat. The white hair shafts have more air pockets than those with pigmentation, therefore providing better insulation in a climate that at best is cool in mid-summer but can become absolutely frigid in the dark of their long winter.

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Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo

Canadian wolves are usually larger than their counterparts in the United States, an adaptation that came about because the north has much larger prey, like caribou and moose, compared to the US wolves who feed on smaller mammals. Wolf packs tend to be larger in Alaska and Canada - up to 10 or even 20 animals per pack.

Three Emu Chicks Take a Stroll with Dad at Berlin Zoo

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Three little Emu chicks recently hatched at the Berlin Zoo. Emu pairs breed from October to April, usually producing one emerald green egg every three days which hatches in about 48 to 52 days. Chicks can walk within hours and run within days. And they grow rapidly, gaining their full height by one year of age.

An interesting fact: after the mother hen lays and incubates the egg, she has nothing more to do with raising her chicks. All of those duties are taken up by the father, seen here out walking with them. They are hardy birds, flightless and strong runners. In time, they will be able to reach ground speeds of up to 40 miles per hour in short bursts and covering about nine feet in stride. 

The Emu is native to Australia, and is the country's national bird. They are the second largest bird in the world, the first being the Ostrich. The adult Emu measure 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs between 90 to 120 pounds. They hatch at about 10 inches tall, sporting black and white stripes. By 3 months old, the chicks turn an almost solid black. Finally, by the time they reach adulthood, their feathers have changed to an elegant, downy mix of tan, brown, and black (some have a bluish neck).

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Photo Credit: Berlin Zoo


Baby Springhares Hop Into Zoo Berlin

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Two South African Springhares hopped onto the scene at Zoo Berlin this winter:  One was born on December 14, and the other arrived on January 12. 

Because Springhares are nocturnal, they live their days in reverse at the zoo.  Daytime exhibit lights are dimmed to moonlight levels so zoo guests can see the Springhares when they are most active.  At night, when the rest of the zoo goes dark, the lights come up and the Springhares go to sleep. 

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In the wild, Springhares burrow into tunnels during the day, plugging the entrance with loose soil, and forage on leaves and tubers at night.   When threatened, Springhares retreat to their burrows for safety. 

With powerful back legs for jumping, Springhares can leap more than 15 feet (5m).  They are one of the largest of all rodents, and are hunted for food by indigenous peoples in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Despite being extensively hunted, Springhares are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

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Zoo Berlin Welcomes Baby Giraffe

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It’s been four years since a Giraffe was born at Zoo Berlin, so the arrival of a male baby to 10-year-old female Kibaya on February 26 was cause for celebration.

Zoo keepers estimate the baby’s height at 72 inches (1.85 meters) and its weight at 220 pounds (100 kg) – a relatively large newborn, even for a bull calf.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

The zoo’s historic Antelope and Giraffe house was closed for a few days to let the newborn gain strength and bond with his mother.  The baby’s arrival brings the total number of Giraffes in the zoo’s herd to four.

Though he’s already big compared to other zoo babies, this little Giraffe still has a lot of growing to do before he reaches maturity.  He’ll spend an entire year nursing from his mother, with tastes of hay and solid foods being introduced within the first few months.  


Tiny Mouse Deer Born at Berlin Zoo

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This tiny baby Mouse Deer was born on Valentines Day at the Berlin Zoo. It fits perfectly into a man's hand. These shy animals are actually are the smallest hoofed mammals in the world, and are members of the animal family that includes pigs, antelopes, sheep, goats, and hippos! This baby will grow to a maximum weight of only about 5 pounds (2.5 kg) in adulthood, and its legs will be no bigger than the circumference of a pencil!  

Mouse Deer reach sexual maturity very early - at age five to six months. A female may give birth to a single fawn at any time of year. As is the norm with hoofed animals, newborn fawns are precocial and stand within thirty minutes of being born. The does wean their fawns at around twelve weeks. In the wild they roam mostly at night within a certain home range amid forest undergrowth, feeding on the leaves, roots and tender shoots found there, aided by their long tongue!

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin and cfrey@alice.de

The birth of this baby at the Berlin Zoo was coordinated within the EEP (European Endangered Species Programs). In it's native home, Southeast Asia, the Mouse Deer is hunted, even though they are so small and have hardly any meat. With the good care found in a zoo, these animals can live for up to 10-12 years.

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