Help Name the North American River Otter Pup at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo

The public was able to meet one of Brookfield Zoo’s newest additions—a month-old North American river otter—during a “Bringing the Zoo to You” Facebook Live chat on Wednesday, March 3.

The male pup, born on January 20, is being hand-reared by animal care staff after it was determined that his mom, Charlotte, was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed. Staff hope to introduce him back with Charlotte and his dad, Benny, once he is weaned, which will be towards the end of March.

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(credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

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The inquisitive and playful pup needs a name, and Brookfield Zoo is inviting the public to assist in the final selection. Those wishing, can cast a vote for their favorite on the zoo’s website at CZS.org/OtterName. The name choices are:

  • Chippewa—name of rivers found in the upper Midwest where North American river otters are found
  • Flambeau—a river in north-central Wisconsin also found in otters’ native habitat
  • Pascal—name of otter character in a popular video game
  • Ozzy—just a really a cute name

Voting began Tuesday, March 2, at 11:00 a.m. CT, and continues through Monday, March 15, at 5:00 p.m. CT. The name with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday, March 16.

The Illinois population of North American river otters—fewer than 100 individuals in the late 1980s—was once threatened due to over harvesting and habitat loss. However, a successful recovery program initiated in the early 1990s by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources helped increase the number of otters in the state. The program included relocating nearly 350 otters from Louisiana to central and southeastern Illinois. The state also engaged in conserving wetlands and wooded areas along streams and rivers, which is otter habitat. Today, the species is common throughout Illinois thanks to these effort as well as expanding otter populations in neighboring states.


Happy 1st Birthday to Kitoko, One of Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Ambassadors!

World Wildlife Day 2021 was particularly special for Woodland Park Zoo this year because it ushered in the 1st birthday of little Kitoko, a male western lowland gorilla born March 4 during the pandemic. “While the zoo was closed for nearly four months, we shared loads of photos of Kitoko—his milestones and tender moments—with our community and zoo family. He has touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people during a tumultuous time and brought so much joy,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator of Woodland Park Zoo.

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“Kitoko’s wild cousins live in tropical rain forests, so his birthday is the perfect time to pay tribute to the communities and wildlife who depend on those forests for survival,” added Ramirez. Western lowland gorillas live in seven countries across west equatorial Africa, including Congo, southeast Nigeria, Gabon and Central African Republic.
 
Forests and woodlands are mainstays of human livelihoods and well-being. Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on these systems to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines. Forests, forest wildlife, and the livelihoods that depend on them are facing multiple crises: from climate change to deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Baby Gorilla Born at Zoo Berlin

The little ape with its small, delicate body and big dark eyes hides shyly in the arms of its mother Bibi (24). Following a gestation period of about eight and a half months, the infant was born at Zoo Berlin on the night of 15 February. The last time a gorilla came into the world here was 16 years ago. For the Zoo Berlin team, it is now a case of watching from the sidelines with wonder and bated breath: “We are very relieved that the baby looks fit and healthy and that the mother appears to be taking good care of her offspring,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. During these crucial early days, only division head Christian Aust and his team of animal keepers will enter the Primate House – which is currently closed to visitors anyway due to coronavirus restrictions. “Peace and quiet are top priority,” says Knieriem.

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Bibi spent the first nine years of her life in a gorilla family at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During this time, she observed other gorillas taking care of their young, which provided her with a good example of how to raise her own infant. At birth, a baby gorilla is greyish pink in colour and has just a few dark hairs on its head and back. The skin starts to turn black only after a couple of days. This is the first offspring for both Bibi and Zoo Berlin’s silverback Sango (16). “For the first few months, a baby gorilla is completely dependent on its mother’s care and lives off her milk for four to five years,” explains Zoo Berlin’s veterinarian Dr. André Schüle. “Little gorillas can hold on to their mother’s fur from the moment they are born, and she carries them around wherever she goes – initially on her tummy and later on her back.” As mother and baby are not yet being approached by either animal keepers or veterinarians, the baby’s sex is not known and its birth weight could not be determined. Generally, newborn gorillas weigh about two kilos. “Happily, we have already observed the young gorilla suckling,” reports Schüle. Although the whole gorilla group is showing a lot of interest in the new family member, the mother is solely responsible for rearing her infant. As well as Sango and Bibi, Zoo Berlin’s gorilla family includes females Djambala (19) and Mpenzi (35). Elderly Fatou (63), the oldest known gorilla in the world, is spending her retirement in a separate, neighbouring habitat.

Gorillas are the largest and heaviest of the great apes. An adult male can measure up to two metres when standing upright and weighs about 220 kilos. On the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), male gorilla Sango moved from Pairi Daiza in Belgium to Zoo Berlin in February 2019 to complete Berlin’s gorilla family. Tragically, these remarkable herbivores are threatened with extinction in the wild because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.


Maryland Zoo Welcomes New Addition To Sitatunga Herd

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a female sitatunga calf to its growing herd on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

“We are very happy to welcome June, born to Cricket earlier this month. This little one did not appear to nurse as quickly as we hoped, but with some encouragement she did finally get the hang of it.  So, we are very pleased that she is thriving under the care of her mother, who was born here in 2013,” stated Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “This is Cricket’s second offspring and as a proven mother she is showing great maternal instincts.”

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The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in swamps, marshes and flood plains. Outside of protected areas, sitatunga are vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss, as people drain and develop swamp land. Currently, sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered.

The Maryland Zoo’s sitatunga herd is made up of 10 animals, including the new calf, and can be found in two habitats along the boardwalk in the African Journey section of the Zoo.

“For now Cricket and June will stay behind-the-scenes together," said Grimm. “As the weather warms up we will make a determination about when they can make their public debut outside in the Sitatunga Yard with the rest of the herd.” 

The calf’s birth was the result of a recommendation from the Sitatunga Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring health of the individual animal, as well as the long-term survival of the species population to help save animals from extinction.


Three Otter Pups Born to Nkeke and Miles at Potter Park Zoo

Potter Park Zoo's North American river otter Nkeke gave birth to three pups Wednesday, Feb. 3 – almost a year after her last litter.

“This is Miles and Nkeke’s third litter of pups, and while each litter has been exciting, this one is especially so since it is their first set of triplets,” said Carolyn Schulte, Potter Park Zoo otter keeper. “Nkeke is an experienced mom and thanks to her excellent relationship with the keepers we have been able to monitor the pup’s growth closely to ensure they each grow at a healthy rate.”

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At two days old, a quick physical exam was conducted to get a baseline body weight and check for any abnormalities or injuries. The pups weighed in at 107 grams, 88 grams, and 75 grams. Potter Park Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Ronan Eustace said triplets can be challenging for an otter to raise.

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Introducing Humphrey! Taronga's Brand New Koala Joey!

Taronga Zoo Sydney is proud to announce the emergence of a brand new and ridiculously cute 8-month-old Koala joey named Humphrey!

Now not to be mistaken, the Koala joey was not named after Humphrey B. Bear. The little one was actually named by one Taronga’s very generous foundation members, who for many years have supported Taronga’s ongoing conservation and threatened species work.

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Humphrey and mum Willow are reported to be doing incredibly well, with Senior Koala Keeper Laura Jones revealing that the joey “is already beginning to attempt to eat eucalyptus leaves and is hanging on really tight to mums back”.

Humphrey and mum Willow are out on display at Taronga Zoo Sydney’s brand new Koala Encounter Exhibit which has recently moved across from Taronga’s Koala Walkabout. For your chance to meet Humphrey and Willow, guests can book their encounter at Taronga’s onsite retail store whilst on their next visit to Taronga Zoo Sydney.


Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at Audubon Zoo

Early this morning, animal care staff at Audubon Zoo were welcomed by the arrival of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan infant. Although early signs and physical changes pointed to an anticipated birth window between April and May, those signs appeared later than normal and the birth happened earlier than expected. 

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Mother and the infant appear to be doing well and are behind-the-scenes to give them time to bond and to allow the Zoo’s veterinary and primate team to care for them. Staff are monitoring the infant’s health closely for any signs of weakness or dehydration. The next 48 hours are critical as the newborn learns to nurse. 

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Baby Giraffe at Safari West Needs a Name

On February 13th, Safari West welcomed a brand new baby giraffe born there on the Sonoma Serengeti. This 6-foot newborn tips the scales at 130 pounds and is ready to meet his fans! There’s just one problem. He needs a name!

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What should they name the new baby giraffe?

Valentino

Dobby

Patches

Vino

Ollie

Polls close March 1, 2021, at midnight PST.

Show your support for this vulnerable species and spread some love for him today by helping them name that baby! https://www.safariwest.com/2021/02/help-us-name-that-baby/

Always one of the most famous and recognizable of Africa’s mammals, the lovely giraffe has recently become a conservation issue as well. Although most people still don’t know it, giraffes have sadly found themselves on the Endangered Species List! More than ever before, we need to focus attention on the study and conservation of this unique species. The giraffes at Safari West have served as ambassadors for their species for decades and continue to inspire and educate tens of thousands of human visitors every year. Safari West looks forward to this newest arrival continuing the tradition with the next generation of conservationists.

Photographs and video by Will Bucquoy.


Babies on Board! Scorplings Hitch a Ride with Mom at Erie Zoo

Video and photos courtesy of Erie Zoo

Babies on board! These little ones may not be as cute and cuddly as some of the other babies at the Erie Zoo, but they sure are cool!

Emperor scorpions are native to the rainforests of West Africa. Mother scorpions can give birth to anywhere from 9 - 32 offspring who are born helpless and white in color. The babies live on the mother's back for about 2-3 weeks until they are able to fend for themselves!

Mom gives off a blue-green glow  when under a UV light. The glow comes from a substance found in a very thin but super tough coating in a part of the scorpion's exoskeleton called the cuticle. 

The babies will remain at the Erie Zoo. They are part of an animal ambassador program. Emperor scorpions can give birth about once a year as they have a 9-12 month gestation period. Right now the babies are completely reliant on mom for food and stay on her back. In 2-3 weeks they will leave her back and begin fending for themselves.


Naples Zoo Announces Birth of Critically Endangered Eastern Bongo

Naples Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Eastern bongo calf - their first baby of 2021. Five-year-old bongo, Amara, gave birth to a female calf at approximately 6:00 pm Sunday, January 17, 2021. The calf weighs 46 pounds and stands approximately 2 feet tall.

The calf received a neonatal exam from the Zoo's licensed veterinary technician and was found to be healthy and thriving. The full examination included taking the calf’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, an eye exam, determining weight, listening to the heart and lung sounds, checking the suckle response and an examination for a cleft palate. The examination also revealed that the new calf is a female.

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This is Amara’s third calf - but it is the first female. Amara’s first male calf, Bakari, was born in January 2019 and her second calf, Makumi, was born in December of 2019. The Hoofstock keepers named this little one Amali, which means "hope" in Swahili.

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