Marwell Park Zoo

Flamingo Hatching Caught on Camera at Marwell Zoo

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There’s a new fluffy addition to the Greater Flamingo family at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, UK. A little chick hatched recently and was caught on camera on its very first day in the world.

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4_Credit Marwell Zoo - Greater Flamingo chick 12Photo Credits: Marwell Zoo

It’s been over four years since the zoo had a Greater Flamingo chick successfully reared. Before the new arrival, the animal team worked hard to encourage the adult birds to nest by adjusting a few husbandry techniques. Keepers constructed some artificial nests earlier in the year to encourage the birds to build their own, and a new soil and sand ratio mix was added to make it easier for the flamingos to build the nests. With the recent heat, the bird team has also been using a sprinkler system twice a day to help the nests retain their shape and not crumble.

Ross Brown, Animal Collection Manager at Marwell Zoo, said, “We’ve had 12 eggs this year, however fertility levels are notoriously unpredictable in Greater Flamingos, so as the saying goes, we’re not counting our flamingos until they’ve hatched! However, we are hopeful we should see some more chicks in the coming weeks, so watch this space.”

When Greater Flamingo chicks first hatch, they have pale grey down, which is soon replaced by a second, darker coat of down. Flamingos feed their chicks with ‘flamingo milk’, which is produced in their crop. This milk is similar to mammal milk and is produced by both male and female flamingos.

For more information, or to adopt a Greater Flamingo, visit www.marwell.org.uk .

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Six Fluffy Owlets Discovered At Marwell

Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick 2019
Each year, Marwell Wildlife, which owns and operates Marwell Zoo, keeps watch on Barn Owl nests on the lands surrounding the zoo. So far this summer, they’ve discovered six healthy chicks on the property.

The six fluffy Owlets come from two breeding pairs and include three females and three males between five and seven weeks old.

Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019
Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019
Credit Marwell Wildlife - barn owl chick tagging 2019Photo Credit: Marwell Wildlife

Once found, the chicks were carefully removed from the nest for a thorough exam. The staff recorded the weight, wing feather development, body condition, and wing length, as well as noting any unique markings, which help to determine each chick’s age and gender.

The Owlets were then banded by placing a metal ring on the ankles, which will identify each Owl if it is captured in the future. The chicks were then safely returned to their nest boxes.  

Marwell has successfully supported 16 Owlets since 2014, when it started working with the South Downs National Park Authority and the Hawk Conservancy Trust to monitor Barn Owl populations within the local landscape as part of the Barn Owl Box scheme (Project BOB). The project records the breeding success and aims to understand the survival and wider movements of Barn Owls.

As part of Marwell’s ongoing commitment to restore habitats, the charity manages more than 100 acres of grassland to create an ideal hunting habitat for this important farmland bird. No pesticides or fertilizers are used on the land. Voles, Shrews, and Mice thrive in this habitat, providing ample food for the Owl families. A single Barn Owl typically eats three to four prey items each night.

Barn Owls live on every continent except Antarctica. The Barn Owl’s heart-shaped face, or ‘facial disk’, collects and directs sound toward the inner ears, which are situated inside the facial disk just behind the eyes. As a result, Barn Owls’ hearing is the most sensitive of any animal ever tested. Owlets develop rapidly. By three weeks of age, they can swallow a whole Shrew or small Mouse. At eight to nine weeks, they begin taking practice flights. At 13 to 14 weeks old, Owlets have reached adult size and leave the nest to find their own home range.

See more photos below.

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Okapi Calf Arrives At Marwell Zoo - And It's a Girl!

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (17)

Marwell Zoo is celebrating the arrival of an endangered Okapi calf - and it's a girl!

Te female calf has been named Niari, which means 'rare' in an African language. It is also the name of a region within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Okapis are found.

First-time mother Daphne and her calf are both doing well, and they are bonding in a behind-the-scenes habitat.

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (12)

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (33)Photo Credit: Jason Brown

Animal keeper Phil Robbins said, “We know guests are desperate to see the pair, but we want to make sure Daphne and Niari enjoy some peace and quiet, as this is essential in the first few weeks of the nesting period.”

“Okapis are very shy animals. As such, we prefer to keep Okapi dams and calves in an isolated environment to reduce noise and stress levels,” he added.

Okapis give birth to a single calf after a 14-month gestation period. An Okapi calf can be on its feet and suckling within half an hour of being born. In the wild, the mother will leave her calf in a hiding place to nest, returning regularly to allow the calf to nurse.

Only when they are 30-40 days old do Okapi calves defecate for the first time. This unique adaptation may keep predators from sniffing out the hidden newborn until the calf has grown and gained strength.

Okapis are relatives of Giraffes and are found only in the rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Okapis as Endangered due to illegal mining, logging, and human settlement, which degrades their forest habitat. Okapis are also hunted for bushmeat by local people. Armed conflicts in the region have inhibited conservation actions.  

See more photos of the Okapi calf below.

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Marwell Zoo Welcomes Another Zebra Foal

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A Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra has been born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, UK.

The first time mother, Dorotka, who is genetically very important to the European population, gave birth to the foal in the early hours of October 21.

Keepers say six-year-old Dorotka is looking after her yet-to-be-named foal very well and they can be spotted together in their paddock behind the Amur leopard enclosure.

After tragically losing a foal in 2014, the last successful breeding of this vulnerable species at the zoo was in August 1997, so the new foal is very special and increases the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra group at the zoo to four.

 

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4_JB_Marwell_HartmansZ_22-10-2018_001Photo Credits: Marwell Zoo

Marwell manages the International Studbook and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, which are mainly found in Namibia, but also Angola and South Africa.

Tanya Langenhorst, Conservation Biologist at Marwell Wildlife, who is the international studbook and EEP coordinator for the species, said, “Our latest arrival is a much welcome addition as it has been a long stretch at Marwell without Hartmann’s Zebra foals. Dorotka came to us from Zoo Usti in the Czech Republic and is genetically very important. This foal is her first and it’s great to see them both doing so well.”

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Marwell Zoo Welcomes Grevy’s Zebra Foal

1_Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Grevys foal (6)

An endangered Grevy's Zebra has been born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, UK.

First-time mother, Imogen, gave birth to the female foal in the early hours of October 12 at the Wild Explorers exhibit.

Keepers say both mother and the yet-to-be-named foal are doing very well. The latest arrival takes the total number of Grevy’s Zebra at the zoo to eight and is the first foal to be sired by resident stallion, Fonzy.

Ian Goodwin, Animal Collection Manager for Hoofstock, said, “Imogen is looking after her foal very well. It’s great to watch her exploring her new surroundings at Wild Explorers, where we highlight the conservation work we carry out in Africa.”

“Our new arrival is a very important and welcome addition to the endangered species breeding programme.”

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4_Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Grevys foal (12)Photo Credits: Jason Brown

In the late 1970s, there were 15,000 Grevy’s Zebra in the wild. Today there are estimated to be around 2,800 remaining.

The Grevy’s Zebra has suffered one of the most drastic population declines of any African mammal due to climate change, habitat loss and competition with increasing livestock numbers.

Ian added, “Since 2003, Marwell Wildlife has been working with partners in northern Kenya to conserve Grevy's Zebra. We employ a team of conservation biologists and scouts who work in the field and they have been instrumental in helping to create a national conservation strategy for the species.”

According to Ian, Marwell also manages the International Studbook and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for Grevy’s Zebra.

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Tiny Hippo Goes for First Swim at Marwell Zoo

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On December 13, keepers at Marwell Zoo in the UK discovered that Wendy the Pygmy Hippo had given birth! The calf is a healthy female who certainly lives up to the 'pygmy' name, weighing in at just 13 pounds (6 kg) and standing just 6 inches (15 cm) tall at birth. After a public vote, the calf has been named Gloria.

Born to 18-year-old Wendy and Dad, Nato, who stayed at Marwell Zoo over the summer, Gloria is an important addition to the European Endangered Breeding Programme (EEP).

Team Leader for Small Mammals Kevin Saunders says, “We think 'Gloria' really suits our new arrival. We wanted something that will fit well with her mum’s name ‘Wendy’ and we think they are great together!

“Gloria has now had a swim with Mum and we are very happy with how it went. Keepers will always stand by to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble, but Wendy is very experienced and keeps a close eye on her at all times.”

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2 hippoPhoto credit: Marwell Zoo / Tony Gardner (1)

Gloria explores her enclosure with mom:

 

Gloria goes for her first swim:

 

In the wild Pygmy Hippos are elusive animals, living in the swamps of western Africa. Pygmy Hippos, and their larger cousins, the Common Hippopotamus, play an important part in maintaining the ecosystems of the African wetlands and the surrounding grasslands and forests.

According to the zoo, ongoing deforestation in their natural habitat, combined with civil unrest, are significant threats to Pygmy Hippos. Their numbers have steadily declined and the species is now listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. It is estimated that the population is likely to continue to decline by 20% over the course of the next 20 years.


Anteater Pup Holds On Tight at Marwell Wildlife

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Marwell Wildlife in the UK is celebrating its first successful Giant Anteater birth and you can help name the pup! The youngster was born to first-time mom Chiquita early November and weighs just three pounds. Check in here with the zoo's FaceBook page over the next few days for an opportunity to vote on your favorite name, and maybe win a family ticket to the zoo. 

Giant Anteaters are native to South America and are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Females normally give birth to one baby after a gestation period of 190 days. Anteater pups cling to their mother's back or legs while they are young, and sometimes continue to do so for up to a year. The pup, still nursing for now, will begin to start eating solids at around three months old.

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Mother and baby are currently spending a lot of their time indoors and are enjoying the heaters in their den during the cold weather. They are difficult for visitors to see at the moment. However, animal teams are keeping an eye on the pair, and the two will move to a more visible position in a couple of weeks. 

Shelly Parkes, collection manager at Marwell Zoo said, “We are so proud to see Chiquita carrying the baby as it hitches a ride across her back and demonstrating maternal instincts, as it’s her first pup. She seems content and we can hear the pup feeding and occasionally whistling as it talks to mum.”

Chiquita, who is two years old, arrived at the zoo nine months ago from Warsaw. When she met the zoo's resident male Ernesto, the pair clicked. 

Ernesto, who is nine years old, had previously been unlucky in love. Ernesto’s first mate was described to Marwell as a female but when the new mate arrived the pair didn’t mix well. On closer inspection Marwell Zoo staff realized they had been sent a male Anteater instead of a female! This is an easy mistake to make as an Anteater’s gender is notoriously difficult to determine.

The new baby will be given a health check once Chiquita is settled and the sex of the pup will be determined when it is older.


Snow Leopard Cub Triplets Take Their First Steps Outside

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Marwell Zoo’s three Snow Leopard cubs have taken their first steps outside into their new home. The babies, two male and one female, were born on April 21. Now 12 weeks old, the triplets are enjoying exploring their surroundings, climbing rocks, play fighting, and chasing mom. 

Keepers named the female cub Animesh, which means ‘bright’ and ‘to stare open eyed’ in Nepalese, chosen because she opened her eyes particularly early. One male cub was given the name Ariun, which means ‘pure’ in Mongolian. Now the keepers are asking the public to help them name the second male cub. A favorite shortlist of names will be picked by the zoo’s carnivore keepers and the public can decide their preferred name. The prize is an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at the Snow Leopard home.

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Photo Credit: Marwell Zoo

These cubs represent something very important. Marwell’s conservation biologist, Heidi Mitchell, said: “Snow leopards, like all big cat species, are threatened in the wild. This means that maintaining a healthy captive population of Snow Leopards is of vital importance to the global conservation strategy for the species.” 

Read more after the fold: 

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A Quartet of Critically Endangered Egyptian Tortoises

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A Quartet of tiny Tortoises (critically endangered Egyptian Tortoises to be exact) has hatched at Marwell Wildlife in Hampshire, U.K. The first youngster to hatch weighed just 3.9g and measures slightly taller than the height of a nickel! New hatchlings may be small but this species can go on to live for up to 50 years.

Egyptian Tprtoises are nearly extinct in the wild. Their habitat (two small populations remain in Libya) has been largely destroyed by human activity. The species is also threatened by the illegal pet trade.

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Marwell currently houses 10 adults in its Cold Blooded Corner. A full size adult can grow to around 15 centimeters long and weigh 500 grams. Two of Marwell's females laid eggs earlier in the year and these were removed and placed in an incubator to ensure optimal conditions for their development; precisely 30 degrees centigrade and 75% humidity.


January Baby: New Giraffe for Marwell Wildlife

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As of January 31 a new baby giraffe joined the herd at Marwelle Wildlife in the UK! Keepers cannot confirm whether the calf is a boy or a girl but a closer examination will take place in the next few days. This is the first baby for mom Ursula. She went into labor with all the other giraffes around her. Everything went well as the feet made their appearance, which is the typical way giraffes are born. The hooves come out striaght like Superman's arms, and then the long neck and finally the body.The final drop into the hay is not as far because so much of the baby is out and half-way to the floor in the process. 

The other giraffes gathered around while Ursula went through the motions and after the calf was given it's first clean up by Mom, the herd gather round to meet the new arrival. 

The baby, which is a Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), is part of a European Breeding Program. Currently the species is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Giraffes face many threats in the wild including habitat loss and poaching for meat and hides. It is thought there may be only a few hundred individuals left in the wild.

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Photo Credit: Marwell Wildlife