Denver Zoo

Sweet Red Panda Sisters at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo welcomed the birth of two Red Pandas on June 6. The female cubs, named Lali and Masu, are currently in a nesting box and are being cared for by their mother, Faith.

On rare occasion, Zoo guests may see the mother bring the cubs outside the nesting box. However, the cubs will remain mostly behind the scenes until September, when they’re more developed and ready to fully join their father, Hamlet, in the Red Panda exhibit.

Zookeepers are keeping a close eye on Lali and Masu; Zoo veterinarians perform regular exams to check weight, temperature and overall wellness.

In their first weeks of life, the cubs were not gaining weight or regulating their body temperatures. Both were diagnosed with pneumonia and started on daily tube feedings, antibiotics and fluids. They slowly began gaining weight and recovering, and are now off of treatment and doing well under the care of their mother. Recently they began opening their eyes but, as newborns do, they sleep most of the day and night.

This is a first litter for both parents. Faith, the mother, was born in June 2014, and dad, Hamlet, was born July 2013. Faith made her way to Denver from Trevor Park Zoo, and Hamlet arrived from Toronto Zoo, last year, under breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

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Red_panda_cubs_03Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Red Panda communicates with squeaks, chattering noises and chipmunk-like sounds.

Although it shares the same name, the Red Panda is not related to the Giant Panda. In fact, the Red Panda is not related to any other animals, making it unique.

As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.

Red Pandas, like Giant Pandas, have very specialized diet requirements and eat a large amount of bamboo daily.

Red Pandas are part of the Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) in zoos around the world. GSMP is allied with field conservation efforts for animals around the world.


Gorilla Birth at Denver Zoo Is a Very ‘Good Thing’

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Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla. The female, named Whimsie Adepa (ah-DEEP-ah), was born to mother Tinga (TIN-gah), and father, Jim, just before midnight on February 25. She is the first birth of her species at the Zoo in 11 years and the fifth ever in the Zoo’s history. The second part of her name, Adepa, translates to “good thing” in the Akan (AH-khan) language of Ghana. Guests can see her now at the Zoo’s Great Apes building.

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4_gorilla_baby-Whimsie_02Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

 

This is Tinga’s first offspring, but zookeepers say she’s quickly learning her new role as a mother. She is with Whimsie Adepa at all times, vocalizes to her and pats her back to soothe her. Jim is now a second-time father, after his daughter, Jabali, was born in 2004. Zookeepers say he is noticeably protective and gentle.

Tinga, herself, was the last birth of her species at Denver Zoo, in May 2005. She was born while her troop, from Los Angeles Zoo, stayed at Denver Zoo during the construction of their new habitat. She returned to Denver Zoo in November 2014. Jim was born at Los Angeles Zoo in August 1987 and came to Denver Zoo in April 2003. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proven to be an excellent match.

Western Lowland Gorillas live in the lowlands, swamps and forests of western central Africa. They can grow to four to five and a half feet tall. Adult males can weigh up to 500 pounds, while females are significantly smaller and can weigh up to 300 pounds. Their fur is predominantly black with a brownish tinge and a reddish-brown cap on top of the head.

They are social animals and live in family groups, called troops, consisting of an adult silverback male, several adult females, and their offspring. Family groups may number from 2 up to 35 individuals but usually consist of five to 10 animals. The adult male and females usually stay together for life while the young leave when they reach maturity.

Wild populations of the species are difficult to estimate due to the dense forests and constant movement of family groups, but there are believed to be only 112,000 Western Lowland Gorillas and the number is declining. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies them as “Critically Endangered”. Their greatest threats come from habitat loss because of logging and agriculture, but recently, the hunting of primates, including gorillas, for the growing bush meat trade has further threatened their survival.


Denver Zoo’s Lion Cubs Make Public Debut

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Denver Zoo's two-month-old Lion cubs recently made their public debut in the maternity yard of the Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Visitors may now see male Kalu (pronounced Kuh-LOO) and female Kamara (pronounced Ka-MAR-uh), along with the rest of the Zoo's lion pride, as they explore their new habitat, weather permitting.

Zookeepers say prime viewing hours will occur between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. The cubs will only be given outdoor access when it is 45 degrees F or warmer.

ZooBorns shared the cub’s birth announcement in late September.

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4_lion_cubs_04-a786ef24a9988fd9b0b8300a499ae9fePhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

 The sibling’s names were chosen after an online naming contest, held to thank voters for their support of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District of Denver, Colorado, which provides nearly one-quarter of the Zoo's annual funding.

The cubs were born to mother, Neliah, and father, Sango, on the morning of September 10. For the last two months, Kalu and Kamara have spent their time behind the scenes, bonding with their mom and adjusting to their new surroundings. The two were later introduced to the rest of the pride, dad Sango and female Sabi. Zookeepers say Sabi has been very attentive to the cubs, while Sango is relatively hands-off. Zookeepers say the five are already behaving as a very cohesive group. They will continue to stay together.

The cubs currently weigh around 20 pounds each and are growing at a rate of two to four pounds per week. While they are still nursing, they recently began consuming solid foods. Zookeepers describe the male cub, Kalu, as playful and energetic, while female, Kamara, is a bit more timid. Regardless, both still enjoy running around and wrestling with each other and other members of the pride.

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Endangered Zebra Foal on Exhibit at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo announced the birth of a Grevy's Zebra on October 8! The male foal was born, on exhibit, to mother Farasi, and keepers have named him Bosley. Zoo visitors can see the mother and newborn in their outdoor exhibit, weather permitting.

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3_Dever Zoo Bosley and momPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

Farasi is not a first-time mother, but this recent birth marked the first time she has given birth at Denver Zoo. The father is 15-year-old Punda, who is the only male in the herd. Punda and Farasi were paired under recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures genetic diversity and healthy populations among zoo animals.

The Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi), also known as the Imperial Zebra, is the largest extant wild equid and the largest and most endangered of the three species of zebra, which includes the Plains Zebra and the Mountain Zebra. Native to Kenya and Ethiopia, the Grevy’s Zebra is named after Jules Grévy, who was president of France in the 1880s. French naturalist Emile Oustalet first described the species in 1882.

Compared to the other zebra species, the Grevy’s Zebra is taller, has larger ears, and narrower stripes. It prefers to live in semi-arid grasslands and feeds on grasses, legumes and browse. It can survive up to five days without water. The Grevy’s Zebra differs from the other species in that it does not live in a harem and does not maintain lasting social bonds.

They can mate and give birth, year-round. Gestation lasts about 390 days. Females with young foals may gather into smaller groups, and mares may leave their foals in ‘kindergartens’ while searching for water, usually protected by a single adult male. In order to adapt to the semi-arid environment they are native to, Grevy’s Zebra foals have longer nursing intervals and wait until they are three months old before they start drinking water. The foals become less dependent on their mothers after 6 months, but they continue their association for up to three years.

The Grevy’s Zebra is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It is estimated there are less than 2,500 Grevy’s Zebras still living the wilds of Africa. The main threats the species faces are: loss of habitat, competition for resources with livestock, and being hunted for their skins.


Denver Zoo Announces Birth of Lion Cubs

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Two African Lion cubs were born, at Denver Zoo, on September 10 to lioness Neliah. The brother and sister are currently with their mother, behind the scenes, in the Zoo's Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Zookeepers are monitoring the family via a closed circuit camera and giving them space during this critical bonding period. They will remain off exhibit during this time.

"This is the first time we've had lion cubs at Denver Zoo since 2006, and we are thrilled," says Denver Zoo Vice President of Animal Care Hollie Colahan. 

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4_Father 'Sango'_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo (Image 3: Mom 'Neliah'; Image 4: Dad 'Sango')

The cubs were born in the early morning to parents Neliah and Sango, and, so far, mother and cubs are doing great. Zookeepers say they are precocious, moving around frequently, vocalizing and naturally competing when trying to nurse at the same time. Neliah, a first-time mother, has done a wonderful job. Keepers say she is very calm and attentive, regularly grooming the two and allowing them to nurse.

Neliah arrived from Florida's Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in November of last year. The 3-year-old joined the Zoo's young lion pride, with male Sango and female Sabi, both also 3-years-old. Neliah was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on June 30, 2012 and arrived at Denver Zoo through a recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Sango, the Zoo's only adult male lion, was born on July 28, 2012 at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas, and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2013. The cubs are his first offspring, as well.

African Lion cubs are born after a relatively short gestation period of between 100 and 110 days, and they come into the world with spotted coats and their eyes closed. Lionesses normally give birth to between two and four cubs. For the first two months, the cubs drink only their mother's milk and are fully weaned by the time they are seven months old.

The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African Lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa. With some males exceeding 550 lbs. (250 kg) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. The lion is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, having seen a major population decline in its African range of 30-50% per two decades during the second half of the 20th century.

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Sea Lion Pup Dives In at Denver Zoo

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There's a new set of flippers splashing around Colorado's Denver Zoo. A California sea lion pup, born on the evening of June 11, is the first of its species born at the zoo since 2010. Weighing in at just 20 pounds, the unnamed male pup is starting to learn how to swim with the help of his mother,  Luci.

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Photo credits: Denver Zoo

 

 Although pups can see and vocalize at birth, they usually don't learn to swim for a week or two. Keepers say that he's turning out to be very vocal, making lots of sheep-like noises, and he's starting to show a curious and independent personality in his swimming sessions with mom. 

Luci makes a wonderfully attentive mother. At night, she wakes her pup to make sure he is nursing regularly, and keeps a close eye on him when the two are at the seal pool. She's been eating 20 pounds of fish per day to ensure that the pup is receiving milk that is high in nutrients. The pup will spend his first year nursing while transitioning to fish.

Visitors can watch mother and pup exploring the zoo's Northern Shores exhibit, weather permitting. 

The pup is the second offspring for Luci and father, Nick, who welcomed female Ady in 2010. (Luci was born in Orlando, Florida at Sea World in 2001 and came to Denver Zoo two years later. Nick came to Denver Zoo from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California in 2008.) 

California Sea Lions are found along the west coast of North America from Baja California to British Columbia. They are highly social animals, gathering in large groups called colonies. Their streamlined bodies allow them to swim at speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour (40 to 48 km/hr), and their remarkable vision allows them to see well during the day and at night. They are listed as a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

Sea Lions are born after a 12-month reproductive cycle. This begins with a 3-month delayed implantation, when the embryo lies dormant before implanting into the uterus. This process is followed by a 9-month gestation period. The little pup has a lot of growing to do: adult males weigh 500 to 800 pounds (227 to 363 kg) as adults, while adult females are between 200 and 250 pounds (91 to 113 kg). 


Prickly New Litter at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo has an adorable new prickle of baby Hedgehogs!    

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20150202_baby_hedgehogs077_CBPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

The babies were born in the zoo’s education department. They are currently with their mother, off exhibit, but once old enough, they will be used for outreach and other programs sponsored by Denver Zoo.

Depending on the species of Hedgehog, the gestation period is anywhere from 35-58 days. The average litter is 3-4 young for larger species and 5-6 newborns for the smaller species. Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species live 4-7 years in the wild, and smaller species live 2-4 years (4-7 in captivity).

Hedgehogs are born blind with a protective membrane covering their quills, which dries and shrinks over the next several hours, after birth. The infants are born with quills beneath the skin, like pimples, and pass the skin after they have been cleaned. Eventually, the young will shed their baby spines (called “quilling”), and they will be replaced with adult spines.

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Asian Small-Clawed Otter Pup Ready for Visitors

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Denver Zoo welcomed the birth of an adorable, Asian Small-Clawed Otter on August 26. The male, named ‘Jilin’ (JEE-Lin) has been under the care of mother, ‘Asha’, and father, ‘Bugsy’.

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Small-clawed-otter_Jilin_03Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

Zookeepers are giving the young pup the choice to stay behind the scenes or venture into public view. Viewing of the pup may be limited for the next few weeks, but keepers expect him to be out very soon. Asha came to Denver Zoo from Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2012. Bugsy, who arrived here in 2013, is from Zoo Atlanta. Both were born in 2005. Bugsy, who comes from a large family, is known for his caring personality. Both Asha and Bugsy have proved to be great first-time and very hands-on parents.

The name Jilin, which is also a Chinese province formerly known as Kirin, pays homage to one of Denver Zoo’s other Asian Small-Clawed Otters, ‘Barry Kirin’.

Keepers say the pup has a playful spirit. He enjoys playing with clam shells and plastic balls, hiding from mom and dad and learning to swim. Keepers say he is becoming more playful and brave as he grows older.

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Fossa Pup Is a First for Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo recently celebrated the birth of its very first Fossa (FOO-sah) pup!  

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Fossa and momPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

Born on July 28th, the male Fossa pup, ‘Rico’, stayed behind the scenes for his first couple months, under the watchful, attentive eye of his mother, ‘Violet’.

Rico was born to Violet, and father, ‘Dorian’. Violet was born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in June 2010 and arrived at Denver Zoo in April 2012. Dorian was the very first Fossa to live at Denver Zoo, arriving in February 2010 from Utah’s Hogle Zoo. He was born at the San Diego Zoo in May 2006. The two were paired in early June when Violet was mature enough to breed. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

Fossas almost resemble small mountain lions, but their closest relative is actually the mongoose. They have short, brown coats. Adults stand about 8 inches tall at the shoulder and can stretch about two-and-half feet from head to backside. Their tails can be just as long and provide good balance when navigating though trees while hunting for prey. Their teeth, jaws and partially retractable claws resemble those of a cat, but their agility has been described as almost primate-like. They can hang upside down and quickly climb to the top of a tree.

Even though they may only weigh about 20 pounds, Fossas are the largest mammalian carnivore on Madagascar. Roughly half their diet consists of lemurs, but they also eat lizards, birds and smaller livestock. Fossas are cathemeral, meaning they are active and looking for prey at any part of the day or night, depending on mood and food availability.

The Fossa is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. However, with less than 2,500 estimated individuals in the wild, experts are uncertain about the future of the species, due to a lack of sightings. It is estimated, in the past 21 years, there has been a population reduction exceeding 30% and beyond. Their major threats come from habitat loss and hunting.

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Spotted Hyena Cubs Establishing New Clan

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In early August, ZooBorns brought you a story about three Spotted Hyena cubs that were flown to Denver Zoo. The trio, made up of females Nia (NEE-yah) and Tavi (TAH-vee), and male Kelele (keh-LAY-lay), just cleared their mandatory quarantine period, and can now be seen by visitors inside the Pahali Mwana yard within the Denver Zoo’s Predator Ridge exhibit.

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Hyena_cubs_01Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

The cubs are becoming more confident as they explore their maternity yard in short stints. Zookeepers only keep them out for a couple hours each day, as they are young and tire quickly, and they still need a few more vaccinations before they are allowed out unsupervised. Hyenas have a matriarchal social structure, and zookeepers have observed that Nia has established herself as the leader of this new, young clan.

Kelele was born on June 26 and arrived from the Buffalo Zoo on July 31. Nia and Tavi were born on June 11 and arrived from Kapi’yva Exotics, a private facility in Houston, Texas that specializes in the propagation of rare and endangered species, on August 1. They all came to Denver Zoo through recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Kelele’s mother and both of the female cubs’ parents are all from Africa, making their genetics extremely valuable to the North American population, as they are unrelated to most other Hyenas in U.S. zoos.

Kelele, named after the Swahili word for “noisy,” was born to a mother that historically has not cared for her cubs. Zookeepers had been hand-rearing him and wanted to provide him with a clan with which to socialize. Arrangements were then made to have him join the two female cubs, which had already been scheduled to arrive at Denver Zoo. This is very similar to how Hyena cubs grow up in the wild. A mother will place her cub with others of various ages in a communal den. The cubs will then only come out to nurse until they are older.

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