Buffalo Zoo

Isn't She Lovely?

A female Reticulated Giraffe born at the Buffalo Zoo has been named Zuri, which means “lovely” or “beautiful” in Swahili.

IMG_8348Photo Credit:  Buffalo Zoo

Zuri was born on February 21 to 20-year-old Agnes and 3-year-old Moke.  Giraffe mothers deliver their babies standing up, and the babies typically stand on their own within an hour of birth.

Giraffes are pregnant for around 15 months, and calves usually stay with their mothers for nearly two years. 

On Africa’s plains and grasslands, Giraffe populations have fallen by nearly half since 1999 to about 80,000 animals today. (This figure includes all nine subspecies of Giraffes.)  However, as a species, Giraffes are not listed as Endangered – rather, they are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Reticulated Giraffes, native to Kenya, number less than 5,000.   The world’s tallest animals face threats from disease, human encroachment, and illegal hunting.  

See more photos of Zuri below.


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Buffalo Zoo's Endangered Indian Rhino Calf Is a World First

Tashi and baby Monica

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) and the Buffalo Zoo are excited to announce the birth of a female Indian Rhino calf produced by artificial insemination (AI), and born on June 5. This is the first offspring for a male Rhino who never contributed to the genetics of the Indian Rhino population during his lifetime – a major victory for endangered species around the world and a lifetime of work in the making.

Rhino calf Monica,  Lead  Rhino Keeper Joe Hauser, CREW Reproductive Physiologist Dr. Monica Stoops
Rhino calf Monica and Cryo-Bio Bank
Rhino calf Monica
Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown of the Buffalo Zoo

The father, “Jimmy,” died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2004 and was dead for a decade before becoming a father for the very first time.  During those ten years, Jimmy’s sperm was stored at -320°F in CREW’s CryoBioBank™ (the white tank shown in these photos) in Cincinnati, before it was taken to Buffalo, thawed and used in the AI. 

“We are excited to share the news of Tashi's calf with the world as it demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork among the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) organizations are making fundamental contributions to Rhino conservation,” said Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo’s CREW. “It is deeply heartening to know that the Cincinnati Zoo's beloved male Indian Rhino Jimmy will live on through this calf and we are proud that CREW's CryoBioBank™ continues to contribute to this endangered species’ survival.”

Tashi, the Buffalo Zoo’s 17-year-old female has previously conceived and successfully given birth through natural breeding in both 2004 and 2008.  Unfortunately, her mate passed away and the Buffalo Zoo’s new male Indian Rhino has not yet reached sexual maturity. Because long intervals between pregnancies in female Rhinos can result in long-term infertility, keepers at the Buffalo Zoo knew it was critical to get Tashi pregnant again and reached out to Dr. Stoops for her expertise.   

In February of 2013, Dr. Stoops worked closely with Buffalo Zoo's Rhino keeper Joe Hauser and veterinarian Dr. Kurt Volle to perform a standing sedation AI procedure on Tashi. Scientifically speaking, by producing offspring from non or under-represented individuals, CREW is helping to ensure a genetically healthy captive population of Indian Rhinos exists in the future.  This is a science that could be necessary for thousands of species across the globe as habitat loss, poaching, and population fragmentation (among other reasons) threaten many with extinction.

Read more about the Rhino calf's amazing story below.

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Otter Pups Are a First for Buffalo Zoo

IMG_1644Two separate litters of North American River Otters were born at the Buffalo Zoo in early March – the first Otters ever born at the zoo.

1503938_10152082093433995_1894135302_nPhoto Credit:  Melissa King

Nine-year-old sisters Daisy and Ellie are first-time mothers.  The father of both litters is a seven-year-old North American River Otter named Rascal, who arrived at the Buffalo Zoo in 2012 from the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY.

Both Daisy and Ellie are proving to be attentive mothers and are behind the scenes in their dens. The pups are still too small to be on exhibit, but zoo officials expect them to be outdoors within a few weeks.

Agile swimmers, North American River Otters are native to rivers and streams throughout the eastern and western United States and Canada.  In the 20th century, River Otters were extirpated from parts of their range due to habitat loss. In other areas, Otters are plentiful enough to allow trapping.   Reintroduction programs have relocated otters and reestablished populations in areas where Otters had been eliminated.

See more photos below.

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Buffalo Zoo Welcomes Baby Gorilla

The Buffalo Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby Western Lowland Gorilla! 

The baby was born on Wednesday, September 4 to first-time mother Lily, age 12 and father, Koga, age 26. Lily has displayed strong maternal instincts and is taking great care of the troop’s latest addition. Keepers have not been able to get close enough to the baby to determine its gender, though they believe it is a girl. Both mother and baby are doing well. 


Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown

During Lily’s pregnancy, the keeper staff was able to monitor the baby’s growth using ultrasound technology. Lily had been trained to present her abdomen to keepers and remain calm during the ultrasound process, so she did not need to be anesthetized in order to obtain images of the fetus. The measurement of the baby in utero is important to the study and husbandry of Gorillas. 

The gestation period of Gorillas is eight and a half months. Gorillas begin walking when they are between three and six months of age, and are weaned around three years of age. Western Lowland Gorillas are found in the lowland tropical forests of central Africa. The species is Critically Endangered due to loss of habitat as well as the bush meat trade.

Alex: Not Your Average Porcupette


Alex, a female Prehensile-tailed Porcupine born at the Buffalo Zoo in April, is not your average porcupette.  For example, she is awake most of the day (Porcupines are typically nocturnal) and she spends a lot of time with keepers (Porcupines are not always so friendly).

Alex PTP


Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown

Alex is being hand-reared by her keepers due to concerns about the health of her mother, Taco Belle, also known as Belle.  Belle has reliably had babies every six to eight months for the last several years.  But before Alex was born, keepers noticed that Belle was losing weight.  It was determined that she had a problem with her teeth and had trouble eating.  Even though Belle’s problem has been resolved, keepers felt that nursing a porcupette would cause Belle to lose more weight, so the baby was removed for hand-rearing.

Zoo keepers plan to utilize Alex as an animal ambassador in keeper talks and demonstrations.  They’ll soon have to start using gloves to handle Alex:  the soft red fur of her babyhood is being supplemented with sharp quills as she grows.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are native to Central and South America.  They are skilled climbers and feed on fruits, leaves, shoots, and other plant material.

Rare Southern Tamandua Born at Buffalo Zoo


A group of Southern Tamanduas was imported to the United States last August as part of an effort to bolster the population in US zoos.  A pair named Olive and Brutus were placed at the Buffalo Zoo.

Not much is known about the reproductive behaviors of this species, but Olive and Brutus had their first pup on April 7.  The male baby, named Otis, is strong, alert and very vocal.  

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Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown

Zoo keepers report that Olive is a very attentive mother and though she is protective of her baby, she is calm around her keepers.  Every morning, the baby can be seen clinging onto his mom’s back as she makes her way down to the feeding pans for her breakfast. He has no problem letting mom know when she is not by his side!

Southern Tamanduas are native to much of South America, but they are becoming rare.  These ant- and termite-eating mammals are expert diggers, and are able to extract insects with their long tongues.


Bear Fight!

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Kali sizes up her opponent...

On March 12, an Inuit hunter shot and killed a female Polar Bear near Point Lay, Alaska. When he realized it was a female, he searched for the den and found young Kali, a 3 - 4 month cub. The hunter then carried the cub to the Department of Wildlife Management who then passed the healthy 18.4lb cub to the Alaska Zoo who was equipped to care for the orphan.

Thankfully the cub has so far thrived under the care of keepers and veterinarians, exhibiting the trademark playfulness of his age and species. In these photos, taken by volunteer photographer John Gomes at the Alaska Zoo, the cub takes on a similarly sized opponent. Plans are in the works to relocate the cub to the Buffalo Zoo in New York, which recently welcomed another cub, Luna. 

Kali makes the first move


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Brown Bear gets the upper paw! 

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Exhausted, they agree to disagree

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Photos courtesy of Alaska Zoo / John Gomes

Polar Bears are one of the most recognizable animals threatened by melting polar ice. The Alaska Zoo works with Polar Bears International (PBI) to try to reverse this troubling trend. The Alaska Zoo is a PBI Arctic Ambassador Center, which means they:

* Strive for bear friendly exhibits with enrichment activities to stimulate the bears to be active and content

* Provide leadership for carbon emission reduction in their communities

* Support PBI research projects to help conserve wild polar bears

* Play a key role in the PBI Sustainability Alliance, a front-line team helping to save polar bears in a rapidly warming Arctic

Thanks to Jaymie Wahlen for her help on this post.

UPDATE! Buffalo Zoo's Baby Polar Bear Romps In First Snow and Takes a Dip In the Pool

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You may have first read about Buffalo Zoo's fuzzy white Polar Bear cub HERE on ZooBorns. Born on November 27 to Mom Anana and father, Nanuq, the female cub has been hand-raised by zoo staff. The results of a recent naming contest recently gave her the nickname Luna. It's expected that this little ball of fur will grow to be close to 600 pounds at adulthood.


Photo Credit: Buffalo Zoo

The zoo is currently raising funds for their Bear Necessities Campaign. They're hoping to raise $18 million dollars to facilitate building a brand new polar bear habitat.

She is too young to stay in the habitat full time, but got her first chance to play and explore in the snow just last week. Watch below as the little one scampers around with her keepers just last week. 

Introducing a Fuzzy White Snowball Baby at Buffalo Zoo!


New York's Buffalo Zoo has a lot to celebrate these days. Not only did their new Polar Bear cub meet the public for the first time Friday, the zoo has entered a new phase of fundraising for an exhibit that will help keep Polar Bears in Buffalo. The Western New York zoo is one of only two zoos in North America to have Polar Bear births this year. The cub was born on November 27th to mother Anana, sired by Nanuq, and has been hand raised by the zoo’s veterinary technician and keeper staff.

The Buffalo Zoo has spent the past two years raising over $14 million of the $18 million needed to build a new entrance and Polar Bear exhibit. They are now asking residents of Western New York and the surrounding community to help raise the remaining $4 million required to build the exhibit and keep Polar Bears in Buffalo.



Photo credits: Kelly Brown / Buffalo Zoo 

Though the cub is currently too small to go on exhibit for the public, she will be visible on a closed-circuit television in the Zoo’s M&T Bank Rainforest Falls Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. until 3.p.m. The Zoo will also post regular updates to their website and Facebook page.

 Many more pics below the fold!

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Three Wee Tree Monitors

New York's Buffalo Zoo has announced the latest additions to their Reptile House -- three baby Black Tree monitors (Varanus beccarii). Their birthdays are October 28, 30 and November 2. This is the first time since 2006 that the species have hatched at the zoo.

Black tree monitors are native to the Aru Islands off the coast of New Guinea, and little is known about their natural ecology in the wild. They are highly adapted to life in the trees due to their long, curved claws, streamlined body and long, prehensile tail They can grow to be approximately 3 feet (.914 meters) long. They're carniverous, eating things like insects, scorpions, eggs, and small mammals.

The Black Tree monitor is considered to be a CITES AppendixII (threatened) species due to deforestation. Buffalo Zoo is one of only 13 zoos in North America (and 22 in the world) to house this species and the only zoo in the world reported to have hatched Black Tree monitors this year.