Lowry Park Zoo

A Happy Mother's Day for an Indian Rhino

6676_10151929506916124_164988910_n

Mother’s Day Came early for an endangered Indian Rhinoceros at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. On May 9th—one day before her own birthday, and three days before Mother’s Day—an Indian Rhinoceros named Jamie gave birth to a male calf. The new calf has been given the Indian name Jiyu, meaning “compassionate friend”, by the Zoo’s Asian animal care team. Mother and calf are spending time together off exhibit for the newborn’s safety and for privacy in bonding. After some heavy rains, the two-week old calf loves playing outside in mud puddles.

“This calf represents our third successful offspring in support of the Indian Rhino management program in North America,” says Dr. Larry Killmar, the Zoo’s vice president of animal science. Jamie’s first offspring, a female named Jaya born in 2009, now resides at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita and the second offspring, a male named Jahi born in 2011, now resides at Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. All three calves were sired by a male rhino named Arjun.

964171_10151920927206124_124787965_o

Indian rhino Jiyu (1)

Indian rhino Jiyu (2)
Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo / David Parkinson 

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Indian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. Counting the new male calf, there are just fifty four Indian rhinos in AZA-accredited institutions, with an estimated wild population of no more than 2,850.

Learn and see more after the fold!

Continue reading "A Happy Mother's Day for an Indian Rhino" »


Wild Spoonbills Nest at Lowry Park Zoo

Spoonbill 1

There's a nest with four Roseate Spoonbill chicks at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, but these guys aren't 'on the inventory', so to speak: a pair of wild Spoonbills chose to nest right outside of the zoo's Spoonbill exhibit!

Born earlier this month, all four chicks have survived and are growing fast. At just six weeks old, the chicks will fledge and leave the nest. But for now, they're still losing their fuzzy down and starting to show their first flight feathers. Developing flight feathers are at first surrounded by a protective sheath made of keratin, which the bird eventually removes by preening, allowing the feather to continue its development. In the photos below, these new pinfeathers look a bit like plastic straws. 

Spoonbill 4

Spoonbill 2

Spoonbill 3
Photo credits: Lowry Park Zoo

See and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Wild Spoonbills Nest at Lowry Park Zoo" »


UPDATE: Lowry Park Zoo's Baby Elephant Finds Her Legs

Lowry Park Zoo Elephant Little Trunk1jpg

A little African Elephant was born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo on Christmas Eve to mom Mball. You might have read about it HERE on Zooborns. The calf's birth is only the second in Lowry Park Zoo's history, and the first born in Tampa, from a herd of 11 elephants rescued from Africa nearly a decade ago.

Just like it would be in the wild, the herd is maternally based, so as of January 8, the calf has been out in the habitat being looked after by not only Mom, but her two aunts as well. Now, at almost a month old, the little calf is full of energy and curiosity. Each day she makes progress in the task of finding her legs and discovering how her trunk works! When she runs, she even kicks up a little dust. 

Chris Massaro, Animal Department Operations Manager said, "When she runs out there, she'll trip over her own feet. But she's getting her feet under her, she's doing very well." 

Ele charge

Ele trunk

Ele aunts
Photos 1 and 2: Matthew Paulson/Photomatt28. Photos 3 and 4: Lowry Park Zoo,


Rare Baby Okapi Birth Celebrated at Lowry Park Zoo

Okapi cu

Officially, he’s one in a hundred, but to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, he’s one in a million. A rare Okapi calf – a forest giraffe found only in Central Africa – was born on January 6, representing the first birth of the new year at the zoo and the first Okapi birth of the year in the North American population. 

The now 3-week-old has grown to weigh 96 pounds (43.5 kgs) from his 64 pounds (29 kg) recorded at birth. Like most babies, he spends his days nursing, sleeping and following his mother around the barn. For the time being, he will “nest” in a suitable hiding spot identified by the mother, likely inside the barn. Hiding behavior is common and in the wild, providing protection from predators.

The pairing of parents Zack and Betty was recommended by the Okapi Species Survival Plan (SSP), managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to help ensure the survival of select wildlife species.  Okapis are listed as Threatened, with continued loss of habitat and political unrest in their native region. The managed population grows slowly due to a lengthy gestation (approximately 14.5 months) and relatively high mortality rate.   

Okapi w mom

Okapi 2 wks

Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo

Okapis have reddish-brown, velvet-like coats with horizontal zebra-like striping on their hindquarters and legs. The unique color pattern allows them to disappear into dense vegetation in the forests where they live. The body shape is similar to that of the giraffe, but okapis have much shorter necks. These unusual animals also have large upright ears with a keen sense of hearing, and long, dark prehensile tongues that they use to pluck vegetation from trees and shrubs.

Continue reading much more about Okapis and conservation efforts for the species after the fold:

Continue reading "Rare Baby Okapi Birth Celebrated at Lowry Park Zoo" »


Are Those Hippos Smiling? Lowry Park Zoo's Newest Baby Gets Her Name

Smile

You may have read about the naming contest for the new baby Pygmy Hippopotamus at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo HERE, on ZooBorns. Just a little over one and a half months old, this little girl received a name for Christmas. This rare calf will be called “Zola,” an African name meaning “to love,” as chosen by the Zoo’s online community with more than 3,100 unique votes cast. The vote was close with a one point margin separating the top two names. Zola received 43.5 percent, followed by “Zuri” with 42 percent and “Zawadi” with 14.3 percent.

Zola was born November 15 to second time mother “Zsa Zsa,” only the second hippo birth in the Zoo’s history (the first occurring in 2008). Classified as Endangered, the Pygmy Hippos at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are one of more than 90 species in the Zoo’s Species Survival Plans, cooperative breeding and conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to carefully maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population.   

Below you'll see Zola covered in hay one morning, the equivalent of bed head. She takes a dip to get cleaned off until Mom clearly has something to say about it...

Hip hay

Hip dip

Hippo swim

Hip mom yells
Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo


Elephantastic News! African Elephant Born at Tampa Zoo

TLPZ-elephant-calf-2

In the closing hours of Wild Wonderland on the eve of Christmas Eve, a wondrous event occurred at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. A female African Elephant named Mbali, one of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland, Africa, and brought to the U.S. nearly a decade ago, became a mother. Mbali gave birth to her first calf, a female, on Sunday, Dec. 23 at approximately 9 p.m.

The African Elephant birth is the second in the zoo’s history, and the first born in Tampa from the rescued herd. The newborn, sired by Sdudla, a Swaziland bull, is significant to the population because the calf introduces new DNA into the gene pool of elephants managed in North America, which averages three or four births each year.

TLPZ-elephant-calf-1

TLPZ-Mbali-and-calf-1
Photo credit: Dave Parkinson / Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

“The birth of this calf demonstrates the maturity of our African elephant care and conservation program,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, VP and director of animal science and conservation. “Our elephant facilities and experienced staff allow the Zoo to contribute to sustainability strategies for this species, furthering elephant conservation worldwide.”

Continue reading "Elephantastic News! African Elephant Born at Tampa Zoo" »


Help Name Hippo Baby Born at Lowry Park Zoo

TLPZ baby hippo nuzzle.jpg

Two weeks ago this baby Pygmy Hippopotamus was born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The female calf, born November 15 to second-time mother Zsa Zsa, is only the second in the Zoo’s history (the first occurring in 2008). Animal care team members have continually monitored the newborn, who is nursing routinely and has “filled out” just like she should be. And now you can vote to name her, by following the link here, just below her pictures. 

Births are few in the managed population among institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), with this calf bringing the total number of animals to just 55. Pygmy hippos are extremely rare in the wild, numbering only a few thousand, so this birth is very important to her species.

The pygmy hippos at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are one of more than 90 species in the zoo’s SSPs, cooperative breeding and conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to carefully maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population.  

Hippo swimming.jpg.jpg

 Mom and calf .jpg

Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo

The Zoo has launched a naming contest on its holiday web site, Wild Wonderland. Click that link to vote. Several African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother hippo Zsa Zsa have been selected. The name that receives the highest number of votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner:

  • ·         Zawadi -- “gift”
  • ·         Zola -- “to love”
  • ·         Zuri -- “beautiful”

Of all the entries for the winning name, TWO voters will be selected at random to win a family 4-pack of Zoo tickets, in honor of this second calf born at the Zoo.

Read more about Pygmy hippos after the fold:

Continue reading "Help Name Hippo Baby Born at Lowry Park Zoo" »


Go Hippo Go! Pygmy Hippo Born at Lowry Park Zoo

TLPZ Pygmy Hippo born 2

A rare Pygmy Hippopotamus was born November 15 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to second-time mother Zsa Zsa. The birth is only the second in the Zoo’s history and is a significant conservation milestone for the managed population.

“The birth of this rare and endangered nocturnal forest species marks only the 55th individual in the managed population within North America and underlines the importance of our conservation efforts with this species.,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation.  “With fewer than 3,000 Pygmy Hippos in the wild, each birth is vital if we have any hope of saving this truly unique species.”

TLPZ Pygmy Hippo Born 3

TLPZ Pygmy Hippo born

The zoo’s animal care team has monitored Zsa Zsa and the yet-to-be named female newborn since birth.  The mother appears to exhibiting appropriate behaviors and the calf and has been seen nursing routinely.  At birth, calves are about 20 inches long and weigh about 10 pounds.  Adults average 350-550 pounds, stand about three feet tall at the shoulder, and are four to six feet in length. 

The wild population of Pygmy Hippos is considered endangered.  The species is mainly confined to the lowland forests, swamps, and riverbanks of Liberia, with small numbers in neighboring countries. 

The zoo is holding an online naming contest for the baby.  Voters can choose from three African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother Hippo Zsa Zsa. The name that receives the most votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner:

  • Zawadi -- “gift”
  • Zola -- “to love”
  • Zuri -- “beautiful”

Photo Credits:  Lowry Park Zoo

 


Rescued Manatee becomes a mom at Lowry Park Zoo

Manatee2

An adult female Manatee named Joannie, who was rescued from a Florida river, gave birth July 13 to a full-term male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The birth marks only the fourth in the zoo’s history, with the first occurring in May 2000. While at the Zoo, Joannie has also became a surrogate mother to an orphaned calf.

The male newborn, nicknamed Lad, is healthy and weighed 66.8 pounds after birth, and has been growing at the rate of approximately 10 pounds per week.

At the time of her rescue on January 31, Joannie was suffering from cold stress, which can be likened to hypothermia in humans.  The consequences of cold stress can be severe and often result in death.  Aware that she was expecting, the Zoo's Manatee rehab team monitored Joannie carefully to find out if the calf had survived its mother's life-threatenting condition.

Manatee1

Manatee3

After the birth of Lad, Joannie became a surrogate mother to an orphan Manatee nicknamed Cheeno.

Cheeno arrived at the Zoo on February 15 suffering from cold stress as well. Though not a newborn, he has now established a bond with Joannie. On occasion, Lad and the 142-pound Cheeno can be observed nursing at the same time, on opposite sides. With Joannie’s help, Cheeno is packing on the pounds. 

The Zoo’s Manatee rehab team hope to release the mother Manatee with her own dependent calf and “adopted” orphan calf this fall or winter. 

Photo Credits:  Dave Parkinson


World's Tiniest Antelope Born in Tampa

Lowry Park Zoo Royal Antelope 1

The Royal Antelope is the world's smallest species of antelope, standing only 10-12 inches high as adults, and this little fawn is only about half of that height! Born February 23 at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, the baby appears healthy and mom has proven attentive.

Shy, nocturnal, typically solitary, and obviously mini, it's tough to catch a glimpse of this reclusive species in the wild. However, if you do stumble upon one in an African forest, their slender but powerful get-away sticks allow them to jump up to 8 feet in a single bound!

Lowry Park Zoo Royal Antelope 2

Lowry Park Zoo Royal Antelope 3Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo