Cincinnati Zoo

Airplane Is Fun No Matter Your Species

Generations of bonobos playing airplane at Cincinnati Zoo. Amali's grandmother holds her up by her feet while her Mom, Kesi makes sure she is safe.

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Happy 5th Birthday, Fiona!

Cincinnati Zoo invites Fiona fans everywhere to join the virtual celebration 

World-famous hippo Fiona turns five today!  Since it’s too cold for the beloved queen of the Queen City to be outside on her big day, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will be hosting a virtual birthday celebration. A $5 birthday gift gets you an invitation to the party

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since Fiona was born,” said Cincinnati Zoo director and party host Thane Maynard.  “She has touched so many people with her story of survival and has become a symbol of hope for millions of people around the world.” 

You’ll hear from some of those people during Fiona’s virtual celebration.  The party will also include birthday greetings from celebrities, like Johnny Bench and Jane Goodall, and touching stories from members of her care team. And, of course, Fiona will get cake and presents J. 

“Fiona’s story tugs at the heartstrings,” said Maynard.  “She was born premature and too small to stand to nurse from her mom. The Zoo’s vets and hippo care team stepped in to try to nurse her to health.  It was a tough journey. We almost lost her a couple of times, but she made it and eventually rejoined her mom and dad. This 5th birthday is extra special considering her rough start.” (see Fiona’s story for more information) 

A link to the virtual birthday party will be sent to all who purchase a $5 birthday gift.  The video becomes active at noon, EST, on January 24.  People with the link can join the party at noon or view it later.  

No on-site birthday activities are planned, since it will be too cold for the hippos to be outside.  If you do visit tomorrow, bundle up and save a bundle during Penguin Days!!  


Meet the Cincinnati Zoo’s Little ‘Peanut’

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The baby Tamandua born December 20, 2018 at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden now has a name! Although the pup’s sex is yet-to-be-determined, the Zoo announced that it would be called “Mani”.

“We wanted to give the pup a Spanish name, since Tamanduas are primarily from Spanish speaking countries, and both of its parents have Spanish names. We chose the name Mani, which means “peanut,” because we were able to watch Mani grow from the size of a peanut via weekly ultrasounds on mom, Isla,” said Cincinnati Zoo Interpretive Animal Keeper Colleen Lawrence. “We fell in love with the pup when it was only a blip on a screen.”

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4_45938338095_aaeb0e2c25_bPhoto Credits: Lisa Hubbard (Images 1,3,4)/ DJJAM Photo (Images 2, 5-12)

Five-year-old Isla, a first-time mom, has taken care of the pup exactly the way she should, so it is healthy and growing fast. Care team members think the baby is a boy, but it’s difficult to be 100% certain of the sex of Tamanduas when they’re this young.

Keepers report that little Mani can be seen through the windows of the Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Center (AAC), clinging to Isla.

Also called the “lesser anteater”, the Tamandua uses its long snout to sniff out ant, termite and bee colonies. Long claws enable it to dig into nests, and a long sticky tongue licks up the insects. A single Tamandua can eat up to 9,000 ants in a single day!

(More great pics below the fold!)

Continue reading "Meet the Cincinnati Zoo’s Little ‘Peanut’" »


Fiona the Hippo Turns Two Years Old

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Born prematurely and exceptionally small two years ago at the Cincinnati Zoo, Fiona the Hippo celebrated her 2nd birthday on January 24.

Weighing just 29 pounds – about one fifth of what a normal newborn Hippo should weigh – Fiona’s story of against-all-odds survival captured the hearts of animal lovers around the world.

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51001580_10156831033550479_8850053960522792960_nPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo (1,2,4,5,6); Lisa Hubbard (3)

As Fiona’s dedicated care team helped the little Hippo overcome one health challenge after another, fans cheered Fiona’s milestones, from her first swim to her poignant introduction to her mom Bibi and later her father, Henry.

You can read the dramatic story of Fiona’s birth and preemie care here.

Now about to enter her “terrible twos,” which her care team hopes won’t be too terrible, Fiona is just like any other normal Hippo. “Fiona is remarkable for being unremarkable now,” said Cincinnati Zoo Curator of Mammals Christina Gorsuch.  “She’s just like most other 2-year-old hippos, except for the fact that she’s a celebrity in Cincinnati and beyond!”

The zoo held a huge celebration for Fiona’s first birthday and a big party last month when Fiona reached 1,000 pounds. This year, due to very cold outdoor temperatures, Fiona’s birthday was held behind the scenes and live-streamed to her many fans. Fiona and Bibi (Henry passed away in late 2017) enjoyed a towering “cake” made of Fiona’s favorite fruits and vegetables embedded in ice.

Fiona has become an ambassador for her species, and her story has inspired many people to care about wildlife and the challenges faced by endangered species.

Hippos are native to Africa, and while they are not officially endangered, wild populations are in decline due to habitat loss, increased incidence of drought, and illegal hunting. With less rainfall, Hippos, who often graze on tender grasses near water, have fewer areas in which to feed. As Hippos travel farther and farther to locate suitable feeding grounds, the risk of conflict with people and wildlife increases.

See more photos of Fiona below.

Continue reading "Fiona the Hippo Turns Two Years Old" »


Zoo Releases Footage of Bird-of-Paradise Hatching

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The Cincinnati Zoo recently announced the hatching of a Raggiana Bird-of-paradise chick. This is the Zoo’s third chick, and they are one of only four facilities in the U.S. to breed and raise the species in the last ten years. Only eleven AZA zoos house this species.

According to the Cincinnati Zoo, the parents have a habit of breaking their eggs. In an effort to do what is best for the survival of the chick, keepers opted for “ghost rearing”. “Ghost rearing” involves a procedure of feeding the chick from behind a screen, to disguise where the food is coming from, and prevent the chick from imprinting with humans. The Zoo plans to re-introduce the chick to its parents, once it is weaned.

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4_IMG_3316Photo Credits: Kathy Newton (Images 1,7) / Cincinnati Zoo (Images 2-6,8)

The Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) is only found on the island nation of New Guinea. Their native diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods, and the species is an important seed disperser of some fruiting trees in New Guinea.

The beautiful birds are best known for their extravagant courtship displays. They are unique in that they are a lekking species. Up to ten males at a time are known to congregate in leks (display arenas for visiting females) in an effort to impress a potential mate. Males put on a display, which involves clapping of their wings and shaking their heads.

More below the fold!

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Aadorable Aardvark Born at Cincinnati Zoo

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Meet the latest “aaddition” to the Cincinnati Zoo: a little male Aardvark! Born on December 21 to mom Ali, the newborn is healthy and weighs just over four pounds. For now, the baby is bonding with Ali behind the scenes.

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25994936_10155813418620479_485975902406650425_nPhoto Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Aardvarks are mammals, so the babies nurse from their mothers. They are nocturnal creatures, emerging from burrows at sunset to feed on ants at termites all night long. Aardvarks are found in all types of habitats south of Africa’s Sahara Desert.

The Aardvark’s long snout is held close to the ground while foraging for food. Once ants or termites are detected, they Aardvark uses its strong foreclaws to dig out enough dirt to reveal the insects. Using its long, sticky tongue, the Aardvark can collect up to 50,000 insects in a single night. The large ears remain upright, helping to detect predators while the Aardvark is feeding.

Aardvarks are not listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being under threat, but some believe their numbers may be declining.

 


Black Rhino Calf Ready for the Great Outdoors

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Eastern Black Rhino calf, Kendi, was born three weeks ago at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The new calf and his mom, Seyia, are now making brief appearances in their outdoor habitat at the Zoo.

“Kendi is a brave little guy and would probably run all over the yard if his mom would let him,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s senior Veldt keeper Marjorie Barthel. “She’s a first-time mom and is being protective. They have access to go outside and do walk out occasionally, but it will take time for mom to feel comfortable enough to let Kendi explore the entire outdoor space.”

According to Barthel, mom and baby take naps and nurse inside. “Kendi is starting to mouth solid foods, so we’re cutting everything we give to Seyia into pieces small enough for the calf to handle. He also likes to play in the water trough. We can’t wait to see him discover mud.”

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4_35537163644_aabf8efd27_bPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo / Kathy Newton (Images: 1,7) / Cassandre Crawford (2,4,6,8) / Mark Dumont (3,5) / DJJam Photo (10)

Kendi is only the fifth Eastern Black Rhino born in the last two years in North America, and the first to be born at the Cincinnati Zoo since 1999. There are fewer than 60 of his species in the entire North American Zoo population.

Continue reading "Black Rhino Calf Ready for the Great Outdoors" »


Curl Up With Pallina the Armadillo

18403793_10155113573430479_1479412469551318350_oWhen a Southern Three-banded Armadillo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo this spring, keepers selected a fitting name for the golf-ball-sized female: Pallina, which happens to be the name of the small white ball in a bocce set. 

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34211244662_824faca4a5_oPhoto Credits: DJJam Photo (1), Cassandre Crawford (2,3)

Within a month of her birth on February 28, Pallina more than quadrupled her weight – the equivalent of a seven-pound newborn human weighing 32 pounds at one month of age!

Pallina is the first offspring for parents Lil and Titan and the first Armadillo born at the zoo since 2011. 

Armadillos are known for their ability to curl into a ball, using their hard outer shell to protect their face and soft underside.  The outer “armor” is made of keratin, the same material that makes up your fingernails. Southern Three-banded Armadillos are native to South America, where they inhabit parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil and feed on a variety of insects. 

Southern Three-banded Armadillos are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Primary threats include habitat destruction as native grasslands are converted to farms. Hunting and capture for the pet trade also contribute to the Armadillos' decline.