The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is celebrating the birth of four critically endangered wildcat kittens at Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore.
Visitors now have a better chance of spotting the four playful kittens, named Strom, Eilein, Druim and Vaara, after the wildlife conservation charity reopened wildcat viewing areas at the park this week. Guests will be encouraged to wear a facemask in these areas to help keep the animals and others safe.
Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager at Highland Wildlife Park said, “We are thrilled to welcome the birth of four kittens, who were born during lockdown in May, to mum Fiain and dad Blair.
“We have one male, Strom, and three females, Eilein, Druim and Vaara. It has been great watching them grow and it is fantastic to now be able to welcome visitors to meet them too.”
Wildcats are one of Scotland’s rarest and most threatened mammals and RZSS is leading a new partnership project, Saving Wildcats, which aims to secure a future for this iconic species by breeding and releasing wildcats into the wild.
David Barclay, Saving Wildcats ex-situ conservation manager, said, “Following a sad history of habitat loss, persecution and, more recently, breeding with domestic cats, wildcats are on the brink of extinction in Scotland but it’s not too late.
“By bringing together the expertise and skills of national and international organisations, the Saving Wildcats project can secure a future for the Highland tiger by breeding and releasing wildcats into the wild, so every birth is a potential lifeline for the species.”
The conservation breeding and release of wildcats is being carried out by the Saving Wildcats partnership led by RZSS in collaboration with NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Norden’s Ark and Junta de Andalucía.
The project is funded with the contribution of the LIFE Programme of the European Union and the generous support of the Garfield Weston Foundation, The National Trust for Scotland, The People’s Trust for Endangered Species and The European Nature Trust.
A klipspringer was born at Brevard Zoo on Sunday, August 23 to four-year-old mother Deborah. Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on the newborn, who appeared to be in good health and was determined to be a male.
The calf, who does not yet have a name and weighed roughly 1.5 pounds at birth, was sired by five-year-old Ajabu. The youngster will spend several weeks bonding with his mother behind the scenes before transitioning to public view.
Klipspringer typically give birth to one calf following a gestation period of six to seven months. These tiny antelope—which weigh between 18 and 40 pounds as adults—live in rocky areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where their sure-footedness helps them elude predators like leopards, caracals and eagles.
Although this species does not face any major threats, it is sometimes hunted by humans for its meat and hide.
Two-toed Sloth at ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo has shared the first footage taken by keepers of its newest arrival - a baby two-toed sloth named Truffle, born to parents Marilyn and Leander at the iconic zoo last month.
The cute clip was taken as Marilyn took her young cub to explore its lush new surroundings for the first time earlier this week - after spending their initial days together snuggled high in the leafy treetops of the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit.
Eagle-eyed keepers first spotted the newborn on Thursday 13 August on their early morning rounds, when they were overjoyed to find the tiny baby clinging to slow-moving mum Marilyn, who had delivered the healthy youngster the night before – a few weeks earlier than expected.
ZSL sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said: “We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, but thought she had a little longer to go as we’d not seen any of her usual tell-tale signs – such as heading to a cosy corner or off-show area for privacy.
“But this is Marilyn and Leander’s fifth baby, so she had clearly taken it all in her stride, giving us a lovely surprise to wake up to.
“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are physically well-developed when they’re born and able to eat solid food right away,” explained Marcel. “At three-weeks-old Marilyn’s little one is already very inquisitive, constantly using its nose to sniff around for snacks - which is why we gave it the name Truffle.”
Lucky visitors to London’s famous zoo will now be able to see Truffle and Marilyn in the only living rainforest in the city - a lush, tropical paradise, heated to 28C all year round, which the family shares with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, emperor tamarin monkeys and red-footed tortoises.
Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until confirmed by vets after hair DNA is analysed. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.
Nocturnal mammals native to South America, two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) may be famously slow but they are impressive climbers: clinging tightly to mum for up to six months will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily from branch to branch, while its characteristically impressive claws - which will grow up to four inches in length - will also help when the youngster is ready to move through the trees on its own.
Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo
Baby kangaroos (called joeys) are starting to emerge from their mother's pouches just in time for the Zoo's poupular Kangaroo Kickabout to reopen for guests tomorrow, September 4.
“We are so happy to be able to reopen the kangaroo habitat and offer this unique experience to our guests and members,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo’s Contact Area Supervisor. “Marsupials, including kangaroos, are so different than most other mammals. To be able to have our guests see and learn about them is why we are here.”
After just 30 days of gestation, red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) are born about the size of a jellybean. They crawl up through the mother’s fur from the birth canal into the pouch where they continue developing for six months before poking their heads out to see the world. Nashville Zoo currently has 10 joeys in various stages of development including a few that can be seen hopping around their habitat.
Red kangaroos are native to Australia and are the largest of their species. Males can grow to six feet or more and weigh nearly 200 pounds. Females are smaller, growing to about 5 feet and 100 pounds. Kangaroos are not endangered and their populations are considered stable though their wild population and habitat were severely damaged during widespread brush fires in late 2019 and early 2020. In January, Nashville Zoo committed $30,000 to support Australia’s efforts to rescue and protect wildlife affected by the wildfires. Additionally, the Zoo will donate all funds from the 2020 Round Up initiative, a program offering guests the option to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount to donate to conservation.
Within twelve hours, a beluga whale and a Pacific white-sided dolphin at Shedd Aquarium both delivered calves. The arrivals follow the birth of another beluga calf just ten days earlier, on Friday, August 21. In an increasingly urbanized and nature-deficient world, the births are part of a deep commitment to understanding and connecting the public with these two incredible species for generations to come.
Sunday evening, Naya (NYE-ah), a 31-year-old beluga, delivered two calves -- an incredibly rare event that scientists believe occurs at a rate of less than 1% for the species. Naya gave birth to her first calf at 7:00 p.m. Hours later, she delivered a second calf that was stillborn.
At just 66 pounds, the first-born calf is considered premature -- a result of twinning, which brings a unique set of developmental hurdles. Naya is currently swimming with her surviving calf. Our hope is to witness nursing and bonding between the two, and significant growth in the calf, in coming days. Naya is recovering normally following the two deliveries.
There is no documented case of twin beluga calves born in the wild. To our knowledge, Naya’s calf represents just the second known instance of a surviving twin in any cetacean species.
Monday morning, Katrl (kuh-TREHL), a 33-year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin, delivered her calf at around 6:20 a.m. after about two hours of labor. Upon delivery, Katrl immediately helped the calf swim to the surface to take its first breath. The animal care team has already observed mom and calf swimming together and will be watching for nursing behavior in the hours to follow. Katrl is recovering normally.
“As we celebrate our new additions, we recognize the need to do all we can to support the mothers, and calves, so that they thrive,” said Peggy Sloan, chief animal operations officer at Shedd Aquarium. “In an extraordinary year of unpredictability, Naya’s historic pregnancy highlights our need to understand beluga reproduction. It also underscored that every birth is significant and contributes to advancing science. Even with a difficult outcome, such as the stillbirth of one of Naya’s twins, we understand the cycle of life and loss and continuously strive to learn from these experiences.”
Animal care and veterinary experts will continue around-the-clock monitoring to ensure that Naya, Katrl and their respective calves have all the support that they need. Scientific observation of the calves will continue as the animal care team collects data on nursing rates, calf growth, mother/calf interactions, etc.
Additional updates on all new arrivals will be shared via Shedd’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Shedd will also make an announcement when guests may have the opportunity to come in and see the calves for themselves.
Every birth at Shedd Aquarium is significant - both for our community and for our world. The aquarium continues to deeply invest in the health and welfare of all 32,000 animals who live there – including these new calves. This responsibility has even greater weight during this unprecedented time. We are grateful to our community who supports and enables this work through their visits, memberships and direct contributions. For those interested in providing important support during this time, you can learn more about ways to give at https://www.sheddaquarium.org/about-shedd/support-us.
We missed this one back in June, and thought you'd like to see it! WARNING – beginning portions of the video which show the actual birth may be considered too graphic for some!
June 15, 2020 -Zoo Miami is very happy to announce the birth of a Bactrian camel! After a pregnancy of approximately 14 months, “Sunny,” a 3 year old female that arrived at Zoo Miami in November of 2017 from her birthplace at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, gave birth to what appears to be a healthy baby girl! The newborn weighed just over 96 pounds! The father is 9 year old “Bubba,” and he arrived from his birthplace at the Minnesota Zoo in 2012. This is the first offspring for both parents.
Bactrian camels are critically endangered in the wild where it is believed that less than a thousand remain. They are found in isolated pockets of the Gobi desert in Mongolia and China and are distinguished from the Dromedary camel by having two humps as opposed to one. They can live up to 50 years and weigh over 1,500 pounds.
Contrary to popular belief, their humps are not full of water, but rather fat, which can enable them to go for long periods of time without any food. They rarely sweat and are extremely adept at conserving water which enables them to get much of the water they need from the vegetation they eat. When they do drink, they have the ability to drink up to 30 gallons at a time. They are also well adapted for living in extreme temperatures, growing a very thick coat to withstand winter temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit which they will shed in the summer when temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mom and baby will remain off exhibit until the staff feels that the two have bonded well and that the as yet unnamed newborn’s development is progressing well.
Happy Birthday! Pit and Paule, the adorable Panda twins born one year ago at Zoo Berlin, grow up before your eyes. Watch Zoo staff make and present an elaborate "Birthday Cake" for their beloved babies!
Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the arrival of a female Giraffe calf born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 1 July 2020.
The calf has been named Layla by her keepers, meaning born overnight in Swahili. Layla is the fifth calf for experienced mother Asmara and was sired by Unami.
“Layla is doing very well so far, she is a very confident calf and is already following the herd around rather than sitting in a secluded area of the paddock like most newborn calves,” said Giraffe Keeper Jack Foley.
“Visitors over the school holiday period were very lucky as she was out on exhibit with the herd from one day old, so lots of people saw her in those first couple of weeks as she was finding her feet.”
“Giraffe calves are like any other newborn, active for a period of time and then resting. The best time to see Layla is in the mornings when she is generally more active,” said Jack.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a successful history breeding Giraffe and has become the region’s breeding powerhouse for the species. The Zoo often transfers Giraffe to other Zoos throughout Australia. Recently a mother and calf were transferred to Taronga Zoo, Sydney and three males were transferred to the African Savannah exhibit in Dubbo to join the bachelor herd.
The gestation period for a giraffe is 14 – 16 months. Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade with the global population falling up to 40 per cent in the last 30 years as a result of poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment.
Taronga is active in supporting the plight of Giraffes in the wild, with a well-established partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, one of the largest community conservancies under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The conservancy has improved wildlife security in important animal populations including Giraffe, among other species, by creating a safer ground for their movement and improving rangeland health.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo now has 11 Giraffe in the main breeding herd and another seven Giraffe in the bachelor herd on the African Savannah.
The first set of Andean bear twins ever to be born in the UK have emerged from their den at Chester Zoo.
The playful cubs were born in January, but have only now started to venture out and explore, having spent their first six months cuddled up by the protective side of their mum, Lima (8).
Revealed as one boy and one girl, the rare cubs were spotted outside enjoying a bit of ‘friendly rough and tumble’ and attempting to climb trees, before following mum back to their den for a well-deserved nap.
Bear conservationists at the zoo – which recently reopened after three months of closure - have named the adorable duo Pacha (female) and Mateo (male), and have hailed the birth of the cubs as “very, very special.” Experts estimate that fewer than 10,000 Andean bears remain in the wild.
Lucy Edwards, Chester Zoo’s Assistant Team Manager of Carnivores, said:
“Andean bears are incredibly shy animals and, for this reason, are still something of mystery to conservationists. So to see mum Lima allowing her two little cubs to explore so freely and enjoy a bit of friendly rough and tumble is just wonderful – it’s very, very special. The twin cubs are so full of energy and their playful personalities are really starting to show - it looks like they will be keeping mum very busy.
“Just a few weeks ago, while the zoo was closed, a small team of keepers and vets managed to give the cubs a quick check over and we’re very happy to report that both were given a clean bill of health. It’s great that we can now safely welcome back visitors and they can learn more about Andean bears and see the twins for themselves – an incredibly rare sight, even for conservationists studying them out in the field day in and day out.”
The species was originally made famous by the classic children’s character Paddington Bear who, although found in a London train station in the books, was known to be from ‘deepest, darkest Peru’.
Andean bears are the only species of bear inhabit South America and, as well as Peru, they are found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. They are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction.
“Mum Lima is doing an incredible job caring for her new cubs and they seem to be really thriving under her watchful eye. Her new arrivals are vital additions to the endangered species breeding programme, which is working to preserve the species, help conservationists to learn more about them and, ultimately, protect the long-term future of these beautiful bears.
“Alongside this important work in the zoo, our conservationists have also been working in Bolivia, alongside our partners the local NGO PROMETA and the University of Oxford, to understand how Andean bears live in the wild. Together, we are striving to find new ways to prevent conflict between bears and humans – a key threat to this species. The project is the first of its kind in the region and aims to have bears and humans living side by side in harmony.”
Andean bears share their habitat with some of South America’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods are being severely challenged by climate change. Sadly, this means the bears are often targeted by farmers and land owners, as they can pose a threat to crops and livestock in their search for food sources, which are dwindling in their natural range. This is a direct result of habitat loss, brought about by mass-scale deforestation and climate change. Experts suggest that more than 30% of the forests in South America have disappeared in the last 20 years.
Andean bear facts:
The cubs were born on 10 January 2020
Mum Lima was born on 12/01/2012. She is 8 years old
Dad Bernie was born on 14/01/2010. He is 10 years old
Dallas Zoo is thrilled to share that they have welcomed a second blue duiker calf! This male calf was born on August 15 to mom Daisy and dad Viazi. He is 0.88 pounds of pure cuteness. 💚
With only about 35 individuals living in US zoos accredited by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, each blue duiker birth is a major win for the species! Dallas Zoo currently working hard behind the scenes to create an extensive blue duiker breeding program to bolster the genetic diversity of this population and ensure their long-term survival.
Auckland Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first baby rhino in 20 years – a healthy female delivered by first-time mum Jamila in a speedy one-hour labour 12 days ago.
The much-anticipated birth of the southern white rhino calf on 14 August to mum Jamila and 30-year-old dad Zambezi follows a 16-month pregnancy - confirmed last April by faecal hormone testing of Jamila’s progesterone levels that were tracked closely throughout her pregnancy.