Lowry Park Zoo

Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans

Asia clouded leopard cub 8 apr 14 2015

A rare Clouded Leopard cub, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has reached a new step in his development: introduction to the great outdoors (and his adoring fans). He also has a new name: ‘Mowgli’, after the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s famous collection, “The Jungle Book”. ZooBorns has followed his story, since his birth was first announced.

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Asia clouded leopard cub 8 apr 17 2015

Asia clouded leopard cub 3 apr 17 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

The Zoo’s veterinary professionals, who are providing round-the-clock care under industry protocols, have introduced outdoor exercise and playtime into Mowgli’s daily routine. For a limited time, Lowry Park Zoo guests can get an unforgettable glimpse at this rare and precious creature while he explores a grassy area under the watchful eye of the animal care team. Public viewing is at 10 a.m., to coincide with the cub’s morning feeding time (weather permitting and subject to change).

While Mowgli’s primary home is the Zoo’s new veterinary hospital, a rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Interaction and socialization is carefully managed to help build confidence. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.

When Mowgli is a bit older, the next step in his development will be a transition to supervised independence. He will move into a temporary outdoor enclosure that will help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat. His future home has not yet been determined.

Mowgli’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo and are on exhibit together in the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring. Lowry Park Keepers made, what some would consider, a controversial decision by choosing to hand-raise the cub, but it has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 60 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. 

As a forest-dependent species, the leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction. The Clouded Leopard is listed as “Endangered” under the United States Endangered Species Act, and they are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.   

For more than a decade, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

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Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar

Asia clouded leopard cub 4b mar 24 2015

An endangered Clouded Leopard kitten, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has become a worldwide ambassador for his imperiled species. Images and video of the rare newborn have been shared around the globe.

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Asia clouded leopard cub in isolette 2 mar 24 2015

Asia panther cub feeding 4 mar 24 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

Now 3-weeks-old, the kitten has grown from 300 grams at birth to 810 grams today. His eyes are completely open and he is becoming more alert. He has started to crawl (or scoot) along using his front legs, and should be strong enough to move steadily on all four by one month of age. He is very vocal, particularly near feeding time which occurs approximately every four hours.

The Zoo’s veterinary team is providing round-the-clock care for the kitten under the protocol established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP).  It has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

The kitten’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo. Both turn 4-years-old this week and were paired as potential mates at six months of age. The male kitten is their first offspring. He will be hand-reared until weaned at about 3 months of age. At that time the AZA SSP will make a determination about his future home.

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the Leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.    

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard SSP for more than a decade.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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Baby Tapir Arrives in Time for Festival

Asia malayan tapir baby 3 feb 6 2015Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is home to a breeding pair of Malayan Tapirs known as “Albert” and “Ubi.” On January 30th, Ubi gave birth to the couple’s second offspring, a male named “Tembikai.” 

Asia malayan tapir baby 2 feb 6 2015

Asia malayan tapir baby feb 6 2015

Asia malayan tapir tembikai 5 feb 10 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

With just 35 of these magnificent Malayan mammals in the population managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), every birth is significant. For the baby’s safety and needed bonding time with mother, the newborn remained off exhibit, under the watchful eye of animal care staff, for the first month of his life.

Tapirs are among the most primitive large mammals in the world, dating back 20 million years. There are four species of Tapir native to Southeast Asia and in Central and South America, all of which are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due to ongoing decline. In their native range, Malayan Tapirs are found in Burma and Thailand within dense forests, usually near water.

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Rescued Florida Panther Kitten Recovers at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

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A rescued Florida Panther kitten is receiving 24-hour care at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. The kitten was rescued on the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge after January’s record cold snap. Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida discovered the kitten while conducting research. The kitten had a dangerously low body temperature, was non-responsive, and was much too young to be separated from his mother. 

The 1-pound (.45-kg) kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention, so the biologists decided to transport the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, where veterinarians and staff performed life-saving measures. 

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8 panther (Carli Segelson)Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1-3, 7) / Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission: CaRli Segelsol (4); Dave Onorato (5, 9 ); Jorge Pino (6); Mark Lotz (8,10)

See video of the rescued kitten:

 

His condition improved quickly, though he still requires 24-hour care. Because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he did not learn necessary survival skills from his mother and therefore would not survive if released into the wild.

See and read more after the fold.

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Tampa's Rhino Calf Gets Down and Dirty

Africa white rhino baby oct 17 2013
In the middle of the night on October 9, Kidogo the Southern White Rhinoceros gave birth to a healthy male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the third birth of this species in the zoo’s history. Now just a few weeks old, the calf, which has been named “Khari” (K-har-E), an African name meaning “king like,” is already romping in the Rhino yard’s mud puddles.

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Africa white rhino khari baby oct 22 2013
Photo Credit:  Dave Parkinson

While the zoo’s herd has grown by one, the wild population of Rhinos decreases by one every 15 hours due to poaching.

Demand for Rhino horn has skyrocketed in southeast Asia where horn, which is made out of keratin -- the same material found in human hair and nails -- is wrongly believed to have medicinal properties.  In 2012 in South Africa, 668 Rhinos were killed by poachers, and it is estimated that as many as 1,000 Rhinos could be lost this year. By 2016, Rhino deaths from poaching could overtake wild births. 

The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Southern White Rhino Species Survival Plan, designed to support conservation of this species.

The zoo is currently home to a herd of seven Southern White Rhinos: three adult females from the Phinda Reserve in Africa, one adult male, the second-born juvenile Rhino “Kande,” and the newborn. Because White Rhinos live in herds, Kidogo and Khari have begun introductions to the other Rhinos and the Grevy’s Zebras that share the outdoor exhibit. 

The White Rhinoceros has two horns at the end of its muzzle, the most prominent in the front. Unlike Indian Rhinos, White Rhinos use their horns for defense. Females use their horn to protect their young while males use them to battle each other. Adult White Rhinos can reach weights of about 5,000 pounds, with most calves weighing between 100-140 pounds.

See more photos of Khari below the fold.

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Rescued Manatee Orphan on the Mend at Lowry Park Zoo

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is well-known for its ongoing work rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick or injured West Indian Manatees found in Florida waters.

Their most recent addition is an orphaned Manatee named Jobin.  He was just a few days old and weighed just 55 pounds when he arrived at the zoo’s Manatee Hospital.  Now six weeks old, Jobin has gained almost 20 pounds! 

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Bottle feeding orphaned manatee calf 2 82013

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Photo Credit:  Lowry Park Zoo

West Indian Manatees, also known as sea-cows, weigh up to 1,300 pounds as adults.  Manatees are mammals – hence, they nurse their young and give birth to live babies.  They feed on underwater vegetation and inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater springs.  Manatees prefer warm shallow waters and often gather in large groups.

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They face threats from propeller strikes and toxic algae blooms.

The Lowry Park Zoo works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Marine Research Institute, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or sick Manatees.  The zoo’s Manatee Hospital is one of three critical care facilities in Florida to care for West Indian Manatees and the only non-profit facility. 


A Happy Mother's Day for an Indian Rhino

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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.

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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!

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Wild Spoonbills Nest at Lowry Park Zoo

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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. 

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Photo credits: Lowry Park Zoo

See and learn more after the fold.

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

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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." 

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


Rare Baby Okapi Birth Celebrated at Lowry Park Zoo

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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.   

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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:

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