San Diego Zoo

First Male Golden Takin Born in the Western Hemisphere Receives a Name at the San Diego Zoo

SAN DIEGO (May 20, 2022) – The San Diego Zoo celebrated another milestone as wildlife care staff welcomed the birth of a rare male golden takin—the second of this takin subspecies to be born in the Western Hemisphere and the first male. The takin calf, named Jin Tong (pronounced jean tong), and means Golden boy in Mandarin Chinese, was born on March 21 to mom, Bona. The Zoo’s wildlife care specialists performed a comprehensive first exam and confirmed Jin Tong is doing well and adjusting to life within the herd.


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Infant Orangutan Kaja Update

Kaja update: Kaja and Indah continue to have “intro” sessions every day under supervision at San Diego Zoo, but there has not been any progression with their bond. The Wildlife Care Specialists will begin introductions with his sibling, Aisha, to assess her capacity as a surrogate. 


Kaja is perfectly healthy and right on track for a nearly 3-month-old orangutan. He has even begun teething which is just as taxing for him as it would be for a human child. Stay tuned for more updates and see Kaja’s previous clips at the links below.

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Kaja Update

Kaja and Indah, San Diego Zoo's Orangutan Son and Mom, had their best interaction yet this week, spending over two hours together. The two have "intro" sessions every day under supervision where Indah has shown all the appropriate signs of care except for nursing. Wildlife Care Specialist are unsure if Indah recognizes Kaja has her own, but her interactions with him are gentle and careful.

Kaja gets stronger every day and is now able to hold himself sitting up! As he develops his strength, Wildlife Care Specialists wear shirts that mimic Indah's hair for him to hold onto. He currently weighs 3165 grams (roughly 7 pounds) and is fed six times per day. Kaja will remain off habitat for the foreseeable future as he and Indah continue to develop their relationship.

San Diego Zoo Celebrates the Birth of a Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Infant

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 18, 2022) – A new year brings new beginnings—and that is especially true for Indah, a 35-year-old female Sumatran orangutan at the San Diego Zoo, who gave birth to her third infant earlier this month. The healthy 2-week-old male was born on January 4, and has been named Kaja, after an island in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, that houses rehabilitated orangutans prior to release in the wild. He is the first orangutan born at the Zoo in more than seven years, when Indah gave birth to her daughter Aisha back in 2014.

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Say Hello to Mawe: A 3-week-old Giraffe Calf Gets a Name at the San Diego Zoo

Just in time for the holidays, a newborn giraffe calf at the San Diego Zoo has received the perfect gift—a name. The 3-week-old female calf will be called Mawe (pronounced “maw way”), meaning stone in Swahili. She was born to first-time mom Saba; and at birth, she weighed a little under 150 pounds and stood approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Mawe has been introduced to the other members of the herd, and both mom and baby are doing well.

Science teams have estimated that fewer than 100,000 giraffes are left in their native habitats—a decrease of more than 40 percent over the last 20 years. It is believed that the downward trend is due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and poaching in certain regions. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has partnered with numerous conservation organizations on large-scale conservation projects, in an effort to slow and eventually stop the continued decline of giraffe populations.

Infant Squirrel Monkey Rides Piggy-back

Welcome to the world, baby squirrel monkey. The adorable infant, born at San Diego Zoo, is already a big kid and rides "jockey style" on mama's back instead of clinging to her chest like other primate species do.

It's too soon to tell if baby is male or female, but Wildlife Care Specialists will have a better idea as it continues to develop more distinguishing features. Our squirrel monkeys are currently off-habitat, but will live in the Zoo’s new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp habitat opening early next year.

San Diego Zoo Surprised with Siamang Birth


A 37-year-old Siamang, named Eloise, was recently photographed holding her infant after giving birth on exhibit, as volunteers and guests looked on, providing the San Diego Zoo with its first Siamang infant in more than 12 years.

Eloise and 35-year-old male, Unkie, had already been successful parents, and their genes are well represented in the Zoo’s Siamang population, so the pair’s breeding had been restricted for a number of years by chemical contraception. For that reason, the arrival of their newest youngster this week was a welcome surprise for animal care staff.

_A3P7439Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Global

The Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus) is an arboreal black-furred gibbon that is native to the forests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It is the largest of the species and can be twice the size of other gibbons. Siamangs, like many of the animals at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, take part in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a breeding program designed to ensure healthy, genetically diverse populations of threatened and endangered species through a network of accredited zoos. The Siamang is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

Animal care staff plans to perform a full exam on the infant in the months ahead, and will be able to determine its sex at that time. Currently, Eloise, Unkie, and their newest addition are doing well, and Zoo guests can visit the trio in their habitat along Orangutan Trail, inside the Zoo’s Lost Forest.

Dwarf Crocodiles Hatch at San Diego Zoo

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On November 6, eight West African Dwarf Crocodiles hatched from eggs at the San Diego Zoo’s Reptile House—the first hatching of its kind in the zoo’s 101-year history. Three baby Crocs successfully hatched on their own, keepers assisted a fourth one in hatching, and more emerged from their eggs throughout the day. The hatchlings are being cared for behind the scenes—and the parents, an 11-year-old female named Yendi and a 50-year-old male named Kumba, can be seen by guests in the Africa Rocks exhibit.

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Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.36
Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.36Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo

The eggs were laid by Yendi on August 13. To ensure the eggs’ viability, animal care staff collected the eggs and incubated them in an off-exhibit area at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Like other Crocodilian species, the gender of West African Dwarf Crocodiles is influenced by incubation temperatures, with higher temperatures required for the development of males. Although it is too soon to tell whether the hatchlings are male or female, keepers hope to determine the Crocodiles’ genders in a few days.

West African Dwarf Crocodiles are the smallest of the world’s Crocodile species, with an average adult length of about five feet.  They inhabit small waterways, wetlands, and swamps in Sub-Saharan West Africa and Central Africa. They are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There is little data currently available on this species in the wild, so San Diego Zoo Global supports research projects in Africa to better understand the status of West African Dwarf Crocodiles.


Life Is Going Swimmingly for New Hippo Calf

1_SDZ Hippo calf

The San Diego Zoo welcomed a newborn Hippopotamus calf to its Lost Forest habitat on September 22.

The curious baby is reported to be healthy and is staying close to mother, Funani. This is the 12th calf born to Funani and father, Otis. Keepers will give the calf a name when they are able to confirm the sex. For now, guests of the San Diego Zoo can hope to catch a glimpse of the baby with Funani during normal operating hours.

2_SDZ Hippo calf

3_SDZ Hippo calfPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo

The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous and aggressive mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

Although the Hippo is currently only classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, their habitat has been greatly reduced over the last 200 years. Even more devastating to Hippo populations is the current trade in illegal ivory. Following the 1989 ban on Elephant ivory, demand for Hippo ivory has sharply increased. The large canines that Hippos use to protect themselves are made of the same material as Elephants’ tusks. In fact, they are slightly softer and easier to carve than Elephant ivory, making them even more appealing to ivory buyers. As a result, Hippo numbers are rapidly decreasing.

According to the Zoo, if Hippos were to disappear completely, the effect on their habitat would be catastrophic. The large amount of waste that Hippos produce provides important nutrients for their African ecosystem. In addition, many species of fish eat the dung and feed on the small parasites that live on the Hippos’ skin.