Lincoln Park Zoo

Meet the Fluffiest Cubs In Chicago


After growing in size and strength, Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs Clark, a male, and Addison, a female, are now in their outdoor exhibit!

Photo Credit:  Lincoln Park Zoo
ZooBorns has reported on the cubs’ progress in stories here and here. Born June 26, Addison and Clark have spent the last few months behind-the-scenes with their mother, Leafa. The Red Pandas will be on and off exhibit intermittently as they continue to acclimate from their nest box behind-the-scenes.

“We’re excited to see the cubs explore their outdoor exhibit space and to be able to share their playful nature with our guests,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The Red Panda cubs continue to grow in size but also in how vocal they are, their activity level, and curiosity levels.” 

Red Pandas are Raccoon-like in appearance and have Panda in their name, but are not related to either species – genetics indicate that Red Pandas belong to a unique family. Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan mountain range and due to habitat loss and poaching, Red Pandas are considered a Vulnerable species.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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First Chilean Flamingo Hatchling for Lincoln Park Zoo

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Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, is thrilled to announce its first-ever Chilean Flamingo hatchling.

The flamingo chick emerged on September 11, and the zoo is cautiously optimistic that several remaining incubating eggs may hatch within the coming weeks.

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4_Lincoln Park flamingo_9Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“We are absolutely elated to welcome our first Chilean Flamingo chick,” said Curator of Birds Sunny Nelson. “As a first hatching for Lincoln Park Zoo and for the flock, the chick is currently raised behind-the-scenes and will be re-introduced to the flock once the chick is more independent.”

The sex of the first-born chick has yet to be determined but shell fragments have been collected and will be sent for DNA testing as a non-invasive method of determining the sex. While a Chilean Flamingo can weigh up to 3.5 kg, the chick was 95 g at hatch--roughly the weight of a bar of soap.

The zoo received breeding recommendations, for its flock, as part of the Chilean Flamingo Species Survival Plan, which cooperatively manages the accredited population.  

Currently, the flamingo chick remains behind-the-scenes, receiving around-the-clock care. In the meantime, the flock of adult Chilean Flamingos is on exhibit daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon.

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Threatened Ornate Box Turtles Hatch in Chicago

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The last of 26 Ornate Box Turtles hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo, in Chicago, this past week, as part of an effort to restore native populations in Western Illinois. The hatchlings come from nine different clutches provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“Each year we learn more about Ornate Box Turtles and their preferred temperature for incubation and what conditions best enable them to grow before returning to their native habitat,” said Diane Mulkerin, curator for Lincoln Park Zoo. “The collaboration among conservation organizations enables us to take the head-start program one step further by increasing the number of turtles we re-introduce each year.”

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4_Ornate Box Turtle-4 (©Chicago Zoological Society)Photo Credits: CZS/Brookfield/Chicago Zoological Society (Images: 1 - 6);Lincoln Park Zoo/Christopher Bijalba (Images: 7 - 12)The turtles will remain at their respective zoos for the next several months where they can thrive without the threat of predation or disease. Once the animals grow both in size and strength, they will be re-introduced into sand prairies protected by the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savannah, Illinois.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Lincoln Park Zoo on this hatch and head-start program for the Illinois state-listed threatened Ornate Box Turtle,” said Andy Snider, curator of herps and aquatics for the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “Assisting in cooperative conservation projects for local species, such as this, is one of many ways zoos can contribute to the overall health and welfare of wild populations.”

The Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) is one of only two terrestrial species of turtles native to the Great Plains of the United States. It is one of the two different subspecies of Terrapene ornata, and it is the state reptile of Kansas.

The Ornate Box Turtle is listed as “Threatened” in the state of Illinois, and it is a protected species in six Midwestern states: Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wisconsin. The IUCN Red List classifies the species as “Near Threatened”.

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s Red Panda Cubs Surpass Milestones


The Red Panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are one step closer to leaving their den. The two-month-old “Rookie Chicago Cubs”, Clark (male) and Addison (female), born June 26, were featured on ZooBorns back in early August.



4_3Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park ZooThey recently had their second physical, and since their initial exam on July 10, Clark’s weight has doubled and Addison has roughly tripled in weight. Both cubs have surpassed milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and they have begun changing from their pale yellow fur into the iconic auburn coloration of the Red Panda.

“The Red Panda cubs continue to be healthy and curious of their surroundings. The cubs are often seen trying to explore outside of the den before quickly being scooped up by their mother Leafa,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “With this behavior, we anticipate the cubs will be ready to make their public debut within the next several weeks.”

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Lincoln Park Zoo Says They Are ‘Hooked’ on New Sloth


Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois, has announced a new arrival. A Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth was born on July 25, at the zoo’s Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House!  

The sloth infant joins its 21-year-old mother, Hersey, and 32-year-old father, Carlos, on exhibit at the zoo. The sex and measurements of the newborn are yet to be determined, as the baby is clinging tight to Hersey. The sloth baby is a part of the Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan, which cooperatively manages the accredited zoo population. The baby sloth is the first offspring of this breeding pair.



5Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“The sloth infant appears healthy and is passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly and clinging well to mother,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Hersey is a first-time mother and is being very attentive to her new young.”

The sloth infant, Hersey, and Carlos can be seen on exhibit daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Regenstein Small Mammal Reptile House from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sloths are nocturnal so the infant and mother can be seen curled up in the canopy throughout the day and are more active towards the evening.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is a species of sloth from Central and South America. It is a solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal animal, found in mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests. The common name commemorates the German naturalist, Karl Hoffmann.

The species is often confused with its relation, the Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth, which it closely resembles. The primary difference between the two species relate to subtle skeletal features; for example, Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth has three foramina in the upper forward part of the interpterygoid space, rather than just two, and often has fewer cervical vertebrae.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloths have large hooked claws that help the species hang from treetops in the canopies of tropical rainforests. On average, these sloths weigh around 12 pounds and can reach 27 inches in length and spend nearly all of their time upside down in treetops.

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Meet the New Rookie Chicago Cubs


Kovler Lion House, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is home to an important pair of siblings. Born June 26, the Red Panda cubs are the first of their kind born at Lincoln Park Zoo. The male and female are the offspring of first-time dad, Phoenix, and experienced mom, Leafa. 

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4_Red panda cub exam (1)Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

The endangered duo currently isn’t visible to the public, nor will they be for some time. Instead, they’re cuddled up in a behind-the-scenes den with mom Leafa, as is typical for the species. They can remain in this cozy space for up to three months, with mom periodically leaving to feed or tend to other needs.

Thanks to a special camera in the den, though, staff can keep an eye on the tiny new arrivals. Red Panda cubs weigh 4-5 ounces at birth and are fully furred, although their coat is yellow as opposed to the bright red of adults. The little ones’ eyes are closed for the first 18 days of life, meaning they’re totally dependent on mom in the crucial early weeks.

The tiny Red Pandas were recently given names in honor of their hometown, Chicago. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, is located at the iconic intersection of the streets Clark and Addison. It seemed fitting to name Chicago's other cubs (Red Panda- that is) in honor of the legendary American team. Lincoln Park Zoo's new male cub has been named Clark, and his sister is now known as Addison.

Sharon Zackfia, a committed supporter of Chicago’s free zoo, selected the city-centric names. “As a longtime lover of Red Pandas, I could not be more excited to have the honor of naming Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs,” she notes. “I am so proud to be a supporter of an institution that has brought so much joy and knowledge to the families of Chicago.”

The cubs themselves continue to do well in their behind-the-scenes den. Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, reports that Clark and Addison are receiving great care from mom Leafa and continuing to hit new milestones. “Their eyes are open now, which is a big development for Red Panda cubs, and it looks like they’ve doubled in size since their physical last week.”

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New Gorilla Baby is ‘Molto Bella’


Lincoln Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a healthy female Western Lowland Gorilla, born on February 24, 2015. 




Photo and Video Credits: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo

The baby, named ‘Bella’, is staying tucked close to her mother and appears to be doing well. Gorilla mom, ‘Bahati’, age 27, is experiencing motherhood for the third time. Her last pregnancy occurred in 2004, and her two adult offspring now reside in other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos. ‘Kwan’, age 25, the new infant’s father, and silverback of the family group, continues to keep a watchful eye on mom and baby.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival. Bahati is an experienced mother whose maternal instincts are what we would hope to see with a newborn gorilla,” said Maureen Leahy, Curator of Primates.

The new baby joins a troop of six individuals, including two-year-old half-sisters ‘Nayembi’ and ‘Patty’ who were born at Lincoln Park Zoo in fall 2012.

“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” said Leahy. “Between the family group and bachelor troop, the gorillas at Regenstein Center for African Apes are a great representation of the species from newborn baby to fully mature silverback and several stages in-between.”

Kwan and Bahati were recommended to breed as a part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). 

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Ornate Box Turtles Hatch at Lincoln Park Zoo


Eleven Ornate Box Turtles hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, this week! The hatchlings are part of an effort to restore the native populations of turtles to their natural sand prairie habitat in Western Illinois, where they will return next summer. The hatchlings come from three different clutches provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).



091114_MH_OrnateBox_41Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo, Mark Hollander

“Every single hatchling is a success for the population,” said Diane Mulkerin, Lincoln Park Zoo curator. “Each animal represents being one step closer to restoring the natural grasslands and prairies in Illinois, which is necessary for the ecosystem to flourish.”

The turtles will remain at the zoo for the next several months where they can thrive without the threat of predation or disease. Once the animals grow both in size and strength, they will be re-introduced into grasslands and sand prairies protected by the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savannah, Ill.

Lincoln Park Zoo participates in re-introduction programs for Smooth Green Snakes, Meadow-Jumping Mice in Illinois as well as Red Wolves, Trumpeter Swans, Guam Rails and other threatened and endangered species across the U.S.

See more great photos below the fold!

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Keepers Raise Tiny Antelope at Lincoln Park Zoo

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There's a new baby Klipspringer at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago! Klipspingers (Afrikaans for 'rock jumper') are dwarf antelopes so tiny that an adult can fit all four of their hooves on a Canadian dollar coin, approximately 36 mm in diameter.

Born March 30, the female Klipspringer calf is the second offspring of mom Triumph and dad Dash, who were recommended as a breeding pair as a part of the Klipspringer Species Survival Program. The female calf joins her sister Arya, who also resides at the zoo.

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5 klipspringerPhoto credit: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo

See video of the baby Klipspringer:


“The Klipspringer calf is healthy and eating well and, as a result, has almost doubled her weight since birth,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “Currently, the calf is being hand-reared by our animal care staff after the mother was unable to provide adequate care.”

According to Kamhout, there are many factors that go into the decision to hand-rear an animal including medical condition, maternal care and proper habitat. After observation, the zoo’s animal care staff decided hand-rearing the calf was in the best interest of the animal.

“The calf will continue to receive around-the-clock care behind-the-scenes until she is able to fully navigate the vertical elements of her new habitat in Regenstein African Journey,” said Kamhout.

See and read more after the fold.

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Lincoln Park Zoo Hand-raises a Wee Klipspringer

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A Klipspringer —a tiny antelope native to Central and Eastern Africa—was born in early August at Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois. Unfortunately, the baby’s mother didn’t display proper maternal care, and so the little one had to be removed to be hand-reared.  Animal care staff have done an excellent job nurturing the baby and it continues to grow behind-the-scenes at the zoo. Even at full size, the dwarf antelope will only measure 20 inches (51 cm) in height and weigh about 24 pounds (11 kg). 

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4 klipspringerPhoto Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

This common antelope species prefers rocky habitats, such as mountains and river gorges.  Klipspringers' hooves have a rubbery texture in the center that helps them grip rock, and the tough, sharp outer edges keep them firmly planted. They eat grasses, leaves, buds and fruits.

Klipspringers typically live in small family groups composed of a breeding pair and their young offspring. They are territorial, marking their territories with small scent-producing glands located on the face. Males can use their pointy, four-inch-long (10 cm) horns to wrestle for mates. After breeding, the female bears her young in a rocky alcove, where the offspring will remain for two-three months to be protected against predators.