Cincinnati Zoo

UPPDATE! Santos the Ocelot Makes Friends with Blakely the Dog

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Do you remember Santos, Cincinnati Zoo's little Ocelot kitten? Since we last saw him in November, he has grown up from a tiny ball of fuzz into a healthy and playful young hunter. Here he is having a great time with his canine playmate, Blakely. 

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5 ocelotPhoto credit: Cassandre Crawford / Cincinnati Zoo

See more playtime photos after the fold.

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Elvis the Beagle Sniffs Out Pregnant Polar Bears

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What do a two-year-old Beagle named Elvis and pregnant Polar Bears have in common?  Scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) have brought them together to detect pregnancy in Polar Bears living in zoos.

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Traditional pregnancy detection methods like hormone monitoring and ultrasounds don’t work well in Polar Bears.  With climate change threatening wild Polar Bear populations, CREW’s staff is getting creative to help save this important species, and they’ve found a possible helper in Elvis the Beagle. 

Working with professional dog trainer Matt Skogen, CREW is trying to determine if the sensitive noses of canines like Elvis can distinguish a pregnant Polar Bear from a non-pregnant Bear simply by smelling fecal samples.

“This is the first time sniffer dogs have been used in biomedical research as it relates to any wildlife species, making this project truly one-of-a-kind,” said CREW’s Dr. Erin Curry. Currently, Elvis is demonstrating 97% accuracy in positive identification of samples from pregnant females – which is not only incredible but nearly as accurate as over-the-counter human pregnancy tests.

Since January, Matt has used more than 200 training samples collected from Polar Bears of known pregnancy status to help Elvis refine his detection technique. 

Last month, Elvis’s skills were put to the test.  He tested samples from 17 female Polar Bears whose pregnancy status is unknown.  The zoos are eager to know if these females are pregnant so they can monitor these Polar Bears and make preparations.  Pregnant Bears could be isolated with minimal disruption while being closely monitored by camera 24/7 in anticipation of a birth, whereas non-pregnant females would remain swimming and socializing all winter with their exhibitmates.

Read more about Elvis and Polar Bears below the fold.

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Don't Wake Little Santos, The Ocelot Kitten!

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The nursery in Cincinnati Zoo's Children's Zoo has a brand new addition! Santos, the baby Ocelot, was born November 2 at the Abilene Zoo in Texas. He'll become a part of the Cincinnati Zoo's Cheetah Encounter Show in the summer of 2014.

Ocelots are native to much of South America and Mexico. They are expert hunters, and are fiercely territorial. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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Gladys Goes Outside! Baby Gorilla and Her Human Surrogate Made Public Debut

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The Cincinnati Zoo's 3-month-old Western Lowland Gorilla named Gladys made her public debut in the outdoor yard on April 30. Over the next month, Gladys will be doing this with her human surrogates as part of Phase III of her “gorillification.” The surrogates will allow her to explore all areas of the outdoor yard, climb trees and duck into caves. Besides being enriching, this process will ensure Gladys is familiar with the yard and comfortable when she goes out again with her gorilla surrogate in the future.

Gladys was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo on January 29. The mother, 14 -year-old Kiazi, didn't respond well to the infant and ultimately rejected her. This behavior, which occasionally happens in first-time mothers, resulted in keepers from the Gladys Porter Zoo stepping in to hand-rear the infant until they had a plan in place. Unfortunately, all of the viable surrogates there already had young gorillas, so they began to look elsewhere.  After countless phone calls with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Ape Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) Maternal Management Committee and the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) Committee, the Cincinnati Zoo was determined to be the best home for the baby. Gladys is currently being hand raised by a group of approximately 10 human surrogates, until she can transition to a gorilla surrogate in the coming months.

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Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Western Lowland Gorillas are Critically Endangered, with less than 175,000 individuals in the wild. Due primarily to habitat destruction caused by logging, mineral mining and agricultural expansion, wild gorilla numbers continue to shrink.  The bushmeat trade – the killing of wild animals to be used as human food – is also a major threat to the Western Lowland Gorilla population throughout the Central African rainforests.  Over 1,000 gorillas are illegally poached for the bushmeat trade each year.

See more picturess of Gladys and her surrogates on their first outing below the fold:

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Update! Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Gets Fuzzy Surrogates

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Recently we reported HERE on a little baby Gorilla who made a journey across the country from Texas to the Cincinnati Zoo to be hand reared after her birth mother wasn't able to provide her with proper care. We are happy to report that the little girl, who has since been named Gladys in honor of the zoo at which she was born, is doing well and has taken quite fondly to her surrogates. With a little help from some special attire that is. 

Keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo had faux fur company, Fabulous Furs, manufacture an artificial gorilla vest for surrogates to wear when taking care of little Gladys. The local company graciously provided the vests free of charge. “Helping animals is at the heart of everything we do at Fabulous-Furs and we’re long-time supporters of the Cincinnati Zoo’s animal conservation efforts,” said Donna Salyers, President of Fabulous Furs. “Fabulous Furs is known for the world’s finest faux furs and believing one of our fabrics might help make baby Gladys’ life easier made helping an easy decision. Now, as we share Gladys’ story with our kids and grandkids, their enthusiasm makes it even more meaningful. We’re absolutely thrilled to contribute.”

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Photo credits: David Jenike / Cincinnati Zoo

 

See and learn more after the fold!

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Baby Gorilla Leaves Texas for New Home in Cincinnati

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A four-week-old female Gorilla born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, made a cross-country trip on a private plane to her new home at the Cincinnati Zoo last week.

Cincinnati Zoo Primate Team Leader Ron Evans and Nursery Head Keeper Dawn Strasser accompanied the baby on the private flight.  “The baby was great,” said Strasser.  “She never left my arms.”

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Photo Credits:  Gladys Porter Zoo & Cinncinati Zoo

 

The baby, who is still unnamed, was born on January 29 to 14-year old female Kiazi and 28-year-old silverback male Moja.  Because Kiazi was not providing appropriate maternal care, the baby was being hand-reared by keepers at the Gladys Porter Zoo. All parties agreed that relocation was the best course of action for the baby and because the Cincinnati Zoo has two female Gorillas available to serve as potential surrogate mothers, it was decided that the baby should go there. Her introduction process to a new Gorilla troop will be gradual to ensure a favorable integration.

The baby will spend time behind the scenes for the next few days as she is evaluated by zoo veterinarians. She will then move to her more permanent home at the Cincinnati Zoo.


Live Tweet of Giraffe Birth From Cincinnati Zoo; Now Help Name Her!

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It's a girl! Ohio's Cincinnati Zoo welcomed a new baby Masai Giraffe early Friday morning, October 12. Mom Tessa gave birth at about 8:30 a.m. after a two hour labor. Only 52 minutes after birth, the calf was standing, interacting with her mom and Dad Kimba, and nursing successfully.

The zoo live-Tweeted the entire series of events with a variety of pictures which helped the public share in the excitement, starting from when Tessa went into labor. Keepers updated as the baby was coming out and up until baby was cleaned by mom and stood up. 

And just yesterday the zoo announced that name suggestions for the baby giraffe will be accepted on their Facebook and Twitter pages through end of day on Wednesday, October 17. Then, on October 18, the zoo will post the top three names, chosen by zoo staff, on its Facebook page, where you can vote for your favorite! The winning name will be announced on Friday, October 19! 

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Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

The newborn was given time to bond with mom and the herd over the weekend, and on Monday, October 15, went on exhibit. Zoo visitors can view the family through windows on the Giraffe Ridge deck. 

See more pictures of the new baby after the fold:

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Visitor Captures Cincinnati's Charming Cheetah Cub

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Cincinnati Zoo visitor Spera captured these compelling images while visiting the zoo's nursery in late July. Savannah, the baby Cheetah, born June 22, is seen playing with Dawn Strasser, the Head Nursery Keeper. Savannah is now out of the nursery and is living with the rest of the Cheetahs at Cincinnati's Cheetah Encounter. Currently she is not on exhibit.

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Photo credit: Spera, taken at Cincinnati Zoo

 


Spotted At Cincinnati Zoo's Nursery: New Cheetah Cub!

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A three-week-old female African Cheetah cub is now on exhibit in the Cincinnati Zoo’s Nursery.  She was born at the zoo’s regional Cheetah breeding facility in Clermont County on June 22, but she had to be moved to the zoo’s Nursery after her mother, Lucy, (this is her first litter) could not provide adequate care. In an effort to get the cub back up to speed, zoo nursery keepers are bottle feeding the cub six times a day, every 2.5 hours.

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Photo credits: Cincinnati Zoo

 

To survive, Cheetahs need large tracts of land where they can find enough prey to hunt.  Illegal hunting of the small antelope on which they depend has dramatically diminished Cheetah numbers in the wild.  Local farmers in East and Southern Africa must learn to maintain their livestock and coexist with wild Cheetahs.   Methods including the use of fencing, guard dogs, and donkeys to protect livestock and have helped to conserve the wild prey base and habitat.

The Zoo’s breeding facility is one of only four similar facilities in the United States managed by the Species Survival Plan. In total, there have been 64 cheetah cubs born in Cincinnati.


It's a Boy! Birth of Sumatran Rhino Calf a Collaborative Conservation Success

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The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are pleased to announce the birth of a bouncing baby boy Sumatran rhino! The calf was born to mother, “Ratu”, a 12-year-old Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park and father, “Andalas,” born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001 and the first Sumatran Rhino calf born in captivity in 112 years.  In 2007 he was sent to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary with hopes that he would eventually sire calves with one or more of the females at the Sanctuary. 

The baby was born on June 23 and weighs 60-70 pounds. He was attended by Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary veterinarians, Ratu’s keepers and advisors from the Cincinnati Zoo and Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Ratu gave birth after two hours of second-stage labor and several days of restlessness. The calf stood about an hour after birth and began nursing almost immediately. Ratu is a very good mother and the baby is healthy and active.

“To say that we are thrilled is an understatement,” said Dr. Terri Roth, Vice President of Conservation and Science and Director of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). “When we celebrated the monumental birth of Andalas at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001, we never imagined he would play such a pivotal role in the survival of his species.  This international collaboration is conservation work at its finest.” Dr. Roth has been working in SE Asia for over a decade.

There are currently fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos living in Indonesia and Malaysia. This is the first birth of a Sumatran rhino in an Indonesian facility and the first birth in an Asian facility in 124 years.

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Photo Credit: International Rhino Foundation

 

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