Toronto Zoo

Toronto’s Giant Pandas Have Their 100-Day Celebration

1_12487283_948049681898144_4645418097861882781_o

On January 20, 2016, the Toronto Zoo released a new video highlighting the first 100 days for their Giant Panda cubs. The 100-Day Celebration follows an ancient Chinese tradition that when a child reaches his or her 100th day of life, he or she has survived the risky fragility of infancy and may be considered on track for a successful future.

2_12493690_945708045465641_2731929403681419440_o

3_12525670_951942418175537_3658163446180148504_o

4_12484598_945708048798974_2143192335449585135_oPhotos and Video Courtesy: Toronto Zoo

 

Er Shun gave birth to these beautiful twin Panda cubs on October 13, 2015. Born at only 187 grams and 115 grams, these cubs have grown from tiny, pink, and hairless to strong, fuzzy Pandas with distinctive black and white markings.

"The Toronto Zoo is very honored to be participating in the Global Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program and extremely proud of the births of Canada's first Giant Panda cubs," said Mr. John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. “We are very grateful for the ongoing partnerships with a number of institutions around the world who have contributed to our success,” he added.

The Toronto Zoo is hoping to introduce the Panda cubs to the public in mid-March. The Zoo would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support for these cubs and for following them on this incredible journey.

Continue reading "Toronto’s Giant Pandas Have Their 100-Day Celebration" »


Toronto Zoo’s Polar Bear Has Her ‘Eyes Wide Open’

1_TorontoZooPolarCubTwoMonths

The Polar Bear cub, at the Toronto Zoo, continues to grow and gain strength. At just over two months old, she is still quite wobbly on her feet but works hard to get up on all fours.

She feeds six times a day and was recently introduced to eating from a bowl. The little female continues to explore and become more mobile, bright and alert. Her fuzzy white coat is also becoming thicker.

The cub is still in a critical period of development and is not yet visible to the public.

2_TorontoZooPolarCubTwoMonths

3_TorontoZooPolarCubTwoMonthsPhoto and Video Credits: Toronto Zoo

 

On November 11, 2015 the Zoo’s staff were delighted to find that Aurora, one of the Toronto Zoo’s two female Polar Bears, gave birth to two cubs. Despite Aurora showing perfect maternal instincts, including attempting to nurse the cubs shortly after birth, staff were saddened to discover that one of the cubs did not survive the first 24 hours. The remaining female cub was moved to the Zoo's intensive care unit (ICU) in the Wildlife Health Centre (WHC) to give her the best chance of survival.

"Aurora demonstrated good maternal instincts and her cubs did attempt to nurse, but it appears she was not producing any milk to feed her newborns,” said Eric Cole, Manager, Wildlife Care.

Once the cub was moved to the WHC, a team consisting of veterinary staff and animal care experts began the continuous process of monitoring her temperature, taking blood samples, weighing her and feeding her a special formula which has been perfected over time by the Toronto Zoo’s staff given their past experiences hand raising polar bear cubs.

The Polar Bear cub’s care staff are continuing to take the approach of ‘one day at a time’ and adjusting to her daily needs.

Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north, including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the Polar Bear population could disappear by the year 2050. They are currently classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.

Toronto Zoo continues to be involved in a collaborative research project involving multiple accredited zoos to understand Polar Bear reproductive biology. To support their work in Polar Bear conservation, visit http://ow.ly/WC2T1.


Polar Bear Cub Gets Her Fur

12374875_933087653394347_7309650246130190672_o
A Polar Bear cub born November 11 at the Toronto Zoo is steadily improving under the intensive care of her keepers. Her fuzzy fur is growing in, but her eyes haven't opened yet.

12371070_933087370061042_3094667274099825980_o
12356666_933087376727708_5000349610449351729_oPhoto Credit:  Toronto Zoo

The female cub was one of two born to mom Aurora.  Both cubs were attempting to nurse shortly after birth, but one of the cubs died soon afterward.  The staff eventually determined that Aurora, who was exhibiting good maternal instincts, was not producing any milk for her babies.

The surviving cub was moved to an incubator and remains there today, though the incubator’s temperature is slowly being lowered to room temperature.  The cub is fed eight times a day.  After feeding, she enjoys 10-15 minutes of “play time,” where she squirms about.

The zoo staff is pleased that the cub is doing well, but they point out that the first three months are critical for Polar Bear cubs.  For now, the cub remains in the zoo’s medical center, where she is not viewable by zoo guests.

Native to Arctic waters and land masses, Polar Bears are supremely adapted to survive in cold temperatures.  They spend most of their time on sea ice, from which they hunt for seals in the frigid waters.  Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Tighter hunting regulations have helped some populations to rebound after decades of declining numbers.  Many scientists believe that climate change has negatively impacted Polar Bears, causing a reduction in sea ice.  As sea ice melts earlier in the season, Polar Bears are forced to move to shore before sufficiently building up their fat reserves for the coming winter. 


Toronto Zoo’s Panda Cubs Reach Another Milestone

Image 28 - Toronto Zoo Giant Panda Cubs at 8 weeks

We can’t get enough of the Giant Panda cubs at the Toronto Zoo! They recently reached another milestone. Not only did they turn eight-weeks-old, but their eyes are now partially open! They are sensitive to both light and dark, but do not have any resolution yet.

Not only are their eyes opening, but their vocalizations are becoming stronger each day, developing from what once was a quiet squeak to what can now be described as a stronger squawk!

Image 29 - Toronto Zoo Giant Panda Cubs at 8 weeksPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo

 Both cubs continue to grow, with their last weights both being over 2,000 grams (4.4 lbs.), and they average 48 cm (18.9 in.) in length from the tip of their head to tip of the tail!

This is still a very critical time for these cubs. Mom, Er Shun, and her cubs will remain in the maternity den, which is not viewable to the public. However, Er Shun periodically has access to her day room to promote exercise and to give her a chance to eat her bamboo.

Although Er Shun and the cubs are not on exhibit, and media are not permitted in the maternity area of the Giant Panda Exhibit, Toronto Zoo staff will continue to provide updates, photos and video as they become available.

It all started on October 13th when the Toronto Zoo announced the birth of the two Giant Panda cubs. ZooBorns shared the initial birth announcement, and we have been sharing updates as released by the Zoo.

The Toronto Zoo has stated that Er Shun and her twin cubs would be living within the private maternity area, inside the Giant Panda House, for approximately four to five months.

Giant Panda mothers are known for only looking after one cub at a time, so keepers are helping raise the twins using a method called ‘twin swapping’. One baby is left with the mother, and the keepers switch the twins every few hours, so each one gets care and milk directly from mom. Since the beginning, Er Shun has been demonstrating excellent maternal instincts, and she began cleaning and cradling the first cub soon after its birth.

As the maternity area of the Giant Panda House is not visible to the public, Toronto Zoo staff have been providing regular updates on the progress of the cubs, via the zoo’s website and social media: http://www.torontozoo.com/GiantPandaCubs/

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is native to only a few mountain ranges in central China, usually at elevations between 5,000 – 10,000 feet. In these cool, misty forests, Giant Pandas forage for bamboo, which comprises 99% of their diet, about 10 to 16 hours a day.

Giant Pandas reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and eight and may be reproductive until age 20. Their gestation period ranges from 95 to 160 days. In about half of their pregnancies, twins are birthed. In the wild, usually only one twin survives, due to the mother selecting the stronger cub to care for and neglecting the weaker.

Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild. About 300 live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China. Giant Pandas are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population is threatened by continued habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and by a very low birthrate-- both in the wild and in captivity.

11224709_926874570682322_9068183794297401908_o


Toronto’s Giant Panda Twins Are One Month Old

Toronto-Zoo-Giant-Panda-Cubs-at-One-Month(1)

At one month old, the twin Giant Panda cubs at the Toronto Zoo are healthy and continuing to grow. The larger of the two cubs now weighs over one kilogram (2.2 lbs.), with the smaller cub not far behind at approximately 750 grams (1.6 lbs.).

Their undercoat (or insulating hair) continues to grow in thicker and whiter, making the areas on their bodies, where the skin is not pigmented black, look much whiter. Although small, they truly look like Giant Pandas now.

Er Shun continues to be a great mother, and the cubs are progressing very well with the coordinated care from mother and zoo staff. However, it is still a very critical time for these little cubs.

Toronto-Zoo-Giant-Panda-Cub-at-One-Month(1)Photo Credits: Toronto Zoo

   

On October 13th Toronto Zoo announced the birth of two Giant Panda cubs, and ZooBorns shared the initial birth announcement and a later update.

The Toronto Zoo has stated that Er Shun and her twin cubs would be living within the private maternity area, inside the Giant Panda House, for approximately four to five months.

Giant Panda mothers are known for only looking after one cub at a time, so keepers are helping raise the twins using a method called ‘twin swapping’. One baby is left with the mother, and the keepers switch the twins every few hours, so each one gets care and milk directly from mom. Since the beginning, Er Shun has been demonstrating excellent maternal instincts, and she began cleaning and cradling the first cub soon after its birth.

As the maternity area of the Giant Panda House is not visible to the public, Toronto Zoo staff have been providing regular updates on the progress of the cubs, via the zoo’s website and social media: http://www.torontozoo.com/GiantPandaCubs/

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is native to only a few mountain ranges in central China, usually at elevations between 5,000 – 10,000 feet. In these cool, misty forests, Giant Pandas forage for bamboo, which comprises 99% of their diet, about 10 to 16 hours a day.

Giant Pandas reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and eight and may be reproductive until age 20. Their gestation period ranges from 95 to 160 days. In about half of their pregnancies, twins are birthed. In the wild, usually only one twin survives, due to the mother selecting the stronger cub to care for and neglecting the weaker.

Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild. About 300 live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China. Giant Pandas are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population is threatened by continued habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and by a very low birthrate-- both in the wild and in captivity.


UPDATE: Giant Panda Cubs Triple Their Weight

11015802_918029881566791_6472222933544883819_o

Twin Giant Panda cubs born on October 13 at the Toronto Zoo have tripled their weights but are still in a critical period of their infancy.

12208289_918029884900124_402145898973312594_n
12194619_918029888233457_4091861711405412373_oPhoto Credit:  Toronto Zoo

You first met the cubs on ZooBorns a few weeks after their birth. Their mother, Er Shun, has been providing excellent care, but zoo keepers help her by ‘twin-swapping’ – one baby stays with Er Shun while the other is moved to an incubator every few hours.  This allows each infant to be nursed and cared for by Er Shun equally.

The cubs weighed 187 and 115 grams at birth.  At 21 days old, the cubs’ weights had increased to 672 and 422 grams.  In addition, they had each grown six centimeters in length.

If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the cubs’ black-and-white markings beginning to appear as their fur comes in  On their tiny paws, you can see grooves developing on their pseudo thumb pads – these grooves will enable them to hold bamboo when they get much older.

Giant Pandas live in only a few mountain ranges in central China, usually at elevations between 5,000 – 10,000 feet.  In these cool, misty forests, Giant Pandas forage for bamboo, which comprises 99% of their diet, about 10 to 16 hours a day. 

Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild.  About 300 live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China.  Giant Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Giant Panda Cubs Born at Toronto Zoo

1_TorontoPandaTwins

On October 13th Toronto Zoo announced the birth of two Giant Panda cubs! The zoo excitedly reported that mom, Er Shun, and her twin cubs were doing well, and that they would be living within the maternity area, inside the Giant Panda House, for approximately four to five months.

Giant Panda mothers are known for only looking after one cub at a time, so keepers are helping raise the twins using a method called ‘twin swapping’. One baby is left with the mother, and the keepers switch the twins every few hours, so each one gets care and milk directly from mom.

2_TorontoPandaTwins

3_TorontoPandaTwins

4_TorontoPandaTwinsPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo

Since the beginning, Er Shun has been demonstrating excellent maternal instincts, and she began cleaning and cradling the first cub soon after its birth. Immediately following the birth of the second cub, Toronto Zoo staff from the Wildlife Health Centre, Wildlife Care, and two Giant Panda experts from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China retrieved the cub to initiate the Toronto Zoo's Giant Panda Twin Hand-Rearing Protocol. The cub was then placed in an incubator in the maternity area of the Giant Panda house, and approximately two hours after its birth, the second cub was twin-swapped so it could begin the bonding process with Er Shun. The first cub weighed 187.7 grams at birth, and the second cub weighed 115 grams.

As the maternity area of the Giant Panda House is not visible to the public, Toronto Zoo staff will endeavor to provide regular updates on their progress, via their website and social media: http://www.torontozoo.com/GiantPandaCubs/

At this time Zoo staff do not know the sex of the cubs and have not confirmed which panda is the father. It may be several months before they are able to determine either.

With the assistance of the two Giant Panda experts from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, the zoo team continues to twin-swap the cubs. This not only enables Er Shun to nurse and bond with each cub, but also provides the Zoo's Wildlife Health Centre and Wildlife Care staff the opportunity to weigh each cub and conduct regular health checks.

While there has been some weight fluctuations with both cubs, which is very common with newborns, both of them are currently stable. If the team notices that one or both of the cubs are not suckling from their mother, the team is able to collect milk from Er Shun and give it to the cubs extremely carefully, by bottle.

Continue reading "Giant Panda Cubs Born at Toronto Zoo" »


UPDATE! Toronto Zoo's Polar Bear Cub is Making Strides

2 bear

Toronto Zoo's Polar Bear cub is growing up strong and healthy! Born on November 9 to a resident mom, Aurora, the cub was one of three born in the litter. Despite Aurora showing perfect maternal instincts, including nursing the cubs shortly after their birth, the zoo was saddened to discover that two of the three cubs did not survive the first 48 hours. They made the decision to hand raise and carefully monitor the third cub so he would have to best chance of survival. (See our previous update here.)

Since then, the male cub has recovered from low weight and made many developmental milestones. His eyes have been fully open since day 35 and he's already taken his first steps. He is quite active and starting to play. 

The cub now weighs about 9.7 pounds (4 kg), which is a is a 529% increase since his original birth weight.  Although he receives milk from a bottle six times a day, he has recently started to learn how to lap milk from a dish, a transition that eventually will help him learn to eat solid foods.

1 bear

3 bear

4 bearPhoto credit: Toronto Zoo

Watch the cub's first steps:

 

Watch a bottle-feeding:

 

Happy bear sounds!

 

The little cub is beginning to teethe and he likes to bite objects such as his blanket. His canine teeth, incisors and some of his molars can now be felt. He has a few whiskers and his coat is becoming thicker as he continues to grow.

He still remains in a temperature-controlled environment within the Wildlife Health Centre but has been out of his incubator for the past month.  The temperature in his room has been gradually reduced. In fact, an air conditioner has been installed for his comfort. He is a Polar Bear, after all!

See and read more after the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE! Toronto Zoo's Polar Bear Cub is Making Strides" »


UPDATE! Toronto Zoo's Polar Bear Cub Grows Steadily in Intensive Care

1 polar bear

In November we learned that a Polar Bear cub was in the intensive care unit at Toronto Zoo's Wildlife Health Center. The little cub was born at the zoo on November 9th, but was the only one to survive out of a litter of three. 

Almost six weeks later, the cub is growing under the care of exceptional veterinary staff, the wildlife health care team, and keepers, who continue to monitor the little male cub 24 hours a day. As with any new birth, this little cub’s progress continues to be determined on a day-to-day basis. Caretakers ensure that he feeds from a bottle, continues to gain weight at an appropriate rate, avoids infections and continues to digest his formula to receive the nutrients a young cub needs. 

He is currently feeding 9 times a day and growing steadily. The veterinary staff have fondly nicknamed him 'Remy', as he was received into the Wildlife Health Centre on Remembrance Day. 

2 polar bear

3 polar bearPhoto credit: Toronto Zoo


Double the Fuzz: Two More Penguin Chicks Hatched at Toronto Zoo

(1)

The Toronto Zoo's African Penguin family is growing! Proud parents Colby and Greenbird have hatched two penguin chicks. The first chick hatched on March 29, and the second on April 1. The fuzzy little duo is now on exhibit for intervals throughout the day in the Zoo's African penguin house. They join African Penguin chick Eldon, who was born January 28, and the Zoo's 12 adult penguins on exhibit.

Penguin chicks "grow up" very quickly. To get an idea of how fast, the first picture is of Eldon at 6-days-old and the third is of one of the new chicks, at 26-days-old. You can read all about Eldon and learn in-depth about the Zoo's African Penguin program in our ZooBorns article from May 12.

Chick

26

Photo Credits: Toronto Zoo