Memphis Zoo

Meet Justin the Red Panda Cub

Panda3

Ryo and Pele, Red Pandas at the Memphis Zoo, welcomed their first cub on July 1.  Unfortunately, mom was unable to care for her tiny cub, named Justin, so he was moved to the zoo’s hospital where he is being hand-reared.

Justin is being bottle fed at the hospital, where he will remain for another month. Keepers will gradually begin to thicken his milk to a gruel-like consistency with crushed leaf-eater biscuits, which adult Red Pandas enjoy in their daily diet.  Once he is adjusted to the gruel mix, Justin will be weaned off the bottle and begin eating his food from a bowl.

In addition to a new diet, Justin is also getting a potential mate. Because it’s best to hand-rear Red Panda cubs in pairs, a female Red Panda cub born at the Bronx Zoo is being transferred to the Memphis Zoo to be raised alongside Justin.

Panda1

Panda2

“We are very excited about the birth of Justin,” Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs said. “Red Pandas are endangered. There are some estimates that put the number of adult Red Pandas in the wild around 2,500. Justin has a very favorable genetic lineage, and we’re hopeful that he’ll be one of many Red Panda cubs born here at the Memphis Zoo.”

Red Pandas, once thought to be related to Giant Pandas, are actually related to raccoons. These nocturnal animals are tree dwellers, and have large, bushy tails to maintain balance while climbing. Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan Mountains in Asia.

Photo Credit:  Memphis Zoo


Komodo Kool: Baby Lizard Hatches in Memphis

CU

A baby Komodo dragon hatched on October 8 at the Memphis Zoo for the first time in the Zoo's history. Zoo keepers still don’t know the sex of the lizard, who weighed just 99 grams when it was born, after 222 days of incubation. Komodo Dragons are the world’s largest lizard species; once grown they can weigh up to 250 pounds.

“We’ll keep the baby until it measures about three to four feet in length,” said Dr. Steve Reichling, the zoo’s curator of reptiles and amphibians. “Then, we will most likely send it to another institution based on Species Survival Plan recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.”

The lizard was the first born at the zoo.

“This was the culmination of over a decade of hard work by the animal staff,” said Reichling. “This hatchling is the start of what we expect will be a very successful Komodo dragon breeding program.”

The animal’s mother, an eight-year-old named “Norberta,” laid eight eggs in February, only one of which was fertile. However, zookeepers aren’t sure which of the zoo’s two male dragons are responsible. In fact, a zoo spokesperson said it’s possible that neither “Jeff” nor “Voltron” is a proud papa.

“It is also possible for female komodo dragons to fertilize their own eggs through a process known as parthenogenesis,” a spokesperson said in a written statement. “This form of reproduction has been documented several times in captive dragons.”

The zoo says it will determine paternity and name the baby lizard before the end of the year.

Full

Kom
Photo Credit: Memphis Zoo

 


Newborn Giraffe Calf Finds Her Feet

At approximately 11:30 Thursday morning, the Memphis Zoo welcomed a female baby reticulated giraffe. This is the Zoo’s fourth baby giraffe in four years, following the births of “Angela Kate” in 2006 and “Kofi” and “Sesi” in 2008.  This is the second baby for mom “Marilyn” and the fourth sired by dad “Kenya.”  This addition brings the Zoo’s giraffe herd to a total of seven. Zookeepers have named her "Akili" meaning smart in Swahili. She is 6'3" and about 150 lbs. She is strong and healthy.

Newgiraffe_t607

18445_279778358814_27671983814_3378298_1088096_n

18445_279778353814_27671983814_3378297_3080634_n

Top Photo by Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal Bottom Two Photos Courtesy of The Memphis Zoo