Jack Sparrow Meets Jackie Sparrow, An Orphaned Bat

11894404_928868453838010_7212402528519399754_o_1It’s not every day that an orphaned animal meets a movie star, but that’s what happened to Jackie Sparrow, a Flying Fox Bat who lost its mother during a storm.

Screenshot 2015-09-28 21.33.27
Screenshot 2015-09-28 21.33.16Photo Credit:  Dean Morgan Photography/Rachael Wasiak

Staff at the Australian Bat Clinic introduced the Bat to Johnny Depp, who was shooting the latest “Pirates Of The Caribbean” film near the rescue center. 

Johnny expressed his love of Bats and offered to sponsor the little one as it undergoes rehabilitation at the clinic.  Dressed as the movie’s lead character Jack Sparrow, Depp visited the center to meet and feed the little Bat.

Extreme weather events are often devastating to Flying Fox populations.  Abnormally high temperatures and cyclonic winds can cause baby Bats to be separated from their mothers. 

Rescued Bats being cared for at the clinic frequently remain for many months before they are released back to the wild.

Flying Foxes are large, fruit-eating Bats native to tropical areas.  Unlike the smaller, insect-eating Bats found in temperate regions, Flying Foxes do not use echolocation to find food.  Instead, they rely on their excellent eyesight to locate fruiting trees.  They play an important role in seed dispersal of many tropical plants.  

See more photos below.

Continue reading "Jack Sparrow Meets Jackie Sparrow, An Orphaned Bat" »

Detroit Zoo Offers ‘Tofu’ to Lucky Visitors

1_Tofu - Roy Lewis

Visitors to the Detroit Zoo were recently treated to their first look at a female Red Panda cub. The new cub, born June 22, has been named Tofu and is the offspring of 10-year-old mother, Ta-Shi, and 6-year-old father, Shifu. 

“Ta-Shi took her time bringing her adorable baby girl out into public view, but it was worth the wait,” said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) chief life sciences officer. “We’re happy to welcome Tofu to the Detroit Zoo and to contribute to the captive population of this threatened species.” 

2_Tofu with Ta-Shi 2 - Roy Lewis

3_Tofu with Ta-shi - Roy Lewis

4_Tofu 2 - Roy LewisPhoto Credits: Roy Lewis/DZS (Images 1-5); Patti Truesdell/DZS (Image 6)

Found in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar and central China, Red Pandas are classified as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, due to deforestation. 

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a shy and solitary animal, except when mating. It is about the size of a house cat, with rust-colored fur and an 18-inch white-ringed tail. Red Pandas are skilled and agile climbers, spending most of their time hanging from tree branches or lounging on limbs. 

The Detroit Zoological Society conducts fieldwork in Nepal to study and conserve Red Pandas in the wild. Part of this work requires the use of trail cameras triggered by motion and heat to take pictures and remotely monitor populations of Red Pandas and other species. 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS)– a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo – is recognized as a leader in conservation, animal welfare and sustainability as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue.

The Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak, is 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats and home to 2,500 animals representing 270 species. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit and provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions, visit: www.detroitzoo.org

5_Tofu with Ta-Shi 3 - Roy Lewis

6_Tofu - Patti Truesdell

Milwaukee County Zoo Announces Giraffe Birth


The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce the September 16th birth of a male Reticulated Giraffe. The last giraffe birth at the Zoo was in 2003.

The newest calf was born to first-time mom, Ziggy, and first-time dad, Bahatika. On September 17th, veterinarians completed the calf’s first exam, and they recorded a weight of 157 pounds and a height of 5 feet 9 inches tall. Zookeepers have been monitoring mother and baby; Ziggy has been very attentive to the calf, which is nursing regularly.



4_MilwaukeeGiraffePhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Five-year-old Ziggy arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo, in 2013, from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Dad Bahatika is 10 years old and arrived at the Zoo, in 2006, from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.

The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos. They are known to often walk around with birds on their backs. These birds are called tickbirds. The tickbirds eat bugs that live on the giraffe’s coat, and alert the animals to danger by chirping loudly.

A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth. The young are weaned at around one year of age.

Continue reading "Milwaukee County Zoo Announces Giraffe Birth" »

Endangered Gorilla Born at Brookfield Zoo


The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla to 11-year-old Kamba, on September 23. Kamba has grown up in a strong, stable family group at Brookfield Zoo, where she has gained the social experience and confidence she needs to be a good mother.



4_DSC_1991Photo Credits: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

Kamba and her infant, named Zachary, can be seen in the zoo’s Tropic World: Africa habitat along with Koola (Kamba’s mother), age 20; Nora (Koola’s second daughter), almost 2; Binti Jua (Koola’s mother), 27; and JoJo (the infant’s sire), 35. This birth marks four generations of Western Lowland Gorillas currently in the group at Brookfield Zoo.

The pairing of the adult female gorillas at Brookfield Zoo, including Kamba, with JoJo, who arrived in 2012 from Lincoln Park Zoo, is based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan. A Species Survival Plan is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Currently, 339 Western Lowland Gorillas live in 48 accredited North American zoos.

JoJo is one of the most genetically valuable males in the Western Lowland Gorilla SSP population and is an especially good match for the adult females at Brookfield Zoo. “Having JoJo come here has been a great success story and demonstrates the collaboration among the zoo community to effectively care for this critically endangered species,” said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates for the Society. JoJo has a calm disposition. He was very playful with his offspring at Lincoln Park Zoo and he has shown the same interaction with Nora at Brookfield Zoo. “We anticipate he will continue to be playful with Kamba’s infant as it gets older,” added Demitros.

Continue reading "Endangered Gorilla Born at Brookfield Zoo" »

Rhino Calf Arrives in Time for World Rhino Day

1_Whipsnade Rhino Calf

Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating the birth of a Greater One-Horned Rhino calf.

Weighing in at a whopping 76kg (almost 12 stone or 167 lbs.), the calf, which keepers have named Bali (Nepali for ‘strong’) was born on the evening of September 6th, after a 17-month gestation. This is the fourth calf for 19-year-old mother, Behan. Her other calves have all moved to other Zoos to breed, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

2_Whipsnade Rhino Calf

3_Whipsnade Rhino Calf

4_Whipsnade Rhino CalfPhoto Credits: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Bali is the 14th Greater One-Horned Rhino calf to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, which has an exceptional record with its breeding programme for the species. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo was one of the first Zoos in the world to breed the species in 1957. ln the past 12 months, there have been only four Greater One-Horned Rhino births in three European zoos, with only one other in the United States of America. Young Bali was born just in time to celebrate World Rhino Day on September 22nd.

Deputy Team Leader Veronica Watkins, said, “The whole team is very excited to see the safe arrival of our newest rhino. To be involved in bringing one of these endangered animals into the world makes all of our efforts feel worthwhile, and it makes celebrating World Rhino Day this year feel extra special.

“The labour was relatively straightforward. Behan was restless the previous night so we suspected the birth was imminent, but once her waters broke we were able to monitor her carefully through CCTV cameras, without interfering in the process.

“The following day Bali was up and about, looking around at everything inquisitively. Behan, who has always been an excellent mother to her calves, was staying very close to him.”

Continue reading "Rhino Calf Arrives in Time for World Rhino Day" »

Sumatran Tiger Born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Baby Tiger_WEB

A single male Sumatran Tiger cub was born at 1:54 a.m. Sept. 14, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail, to first-time parents Teddy and Joanne.

Although Joanne cared for the cub the first few days, keepers noticed the cub was losing weight, and felt he wasn’t receiving the proper care he needed to thrive. The Safari Park’s animal care team made the difficult decision to hand-rear the cub. He was moved to the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center, at the Safari Park, where he is now being cared for around the clock.

Baby Tiger Closeup_WEB

Baby Tiger Feeding_WEBPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The cub is the 26th endangered Sumatran Tiger to be born at the Safari Park, and he is the first cub to be hand-reared at the park since 1984. At the care center, he’s being bottle fed seven times a day with an easily digestible goats’ milk formula, made especially for carnivores.

“We’re very happy with our little cub’s progress; he took to the bottle and started nursing right away,” said Lissa McCaffree, Lead Keeper, Mammal Department. “He’s been gaining weight very consistently each day, and last night he reached a milestone—he opened his eyes for the first time.”

The cub now weighs 3.36 pounds and is gaining strength in his legs, walking around his nursery enclosure. He’s also learning to make tiger vocalizations, such as meows, grunts, and low chuffing sounds. Chuffing is a vocalization tigers make as a way to express excitement, or as a greeting.

Guests will be able to see the cub in the near future at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center in the Safari Park during his bottle feeding times, which will be posted daily in front of the viewing window.

With the addition of this tiny cub, the Safari Park is now home to seven Sumatran Tigers. There are fewer than 350 Sumatran Tigers in the wild, and that number continues to drop. Scientists estimate that this species could be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020, unless measures are taken to protect and preserve it.

Tigers face many challenges in the wild, from loss of habitat to conflicts with humans, but the biggest threat continues to be poaching. Tigers are killed by poachers who illegally sell tiger body parts, mostly for folk remedies. People can help protect wild tigers by avoiding products made with non-sustainable palm oil, an industry that harms tiger habitat; and by refusing to purchase items made from endangered wildlife.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

First Chilean Flamingo Hatchling for Lincoln Park Zoo

1_Lincoln Park flamingo_3

Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, is thrilled to announce its first-ever Chilean Flamingo hatchling.

The flamingo chick emerged on September 11, and the zoo is cautiously optimistic that several remaining incubating eggs may hatch within the coming weeks.

2_Lincoln Park flamingo_2

3_Lincoln Park flamingo_8

4_Lincoln Park flamingo_9Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“We are absolutely elated to welcome our first Chilean Flamingo chick,” said Curator of Birds Sunny Nelson. “As a first hatching for Lincoln Park Zoo and for the flock, the chick is currently raised behind-the-scenes and will be re-introduced to the flock once the chick is more independent.”

The sex of the first-born chick has yet to be determined but shell fragments have been collected and will be sent for DNA testing as a non-invasive method of determining the sex. While a Chilean Flamingo can weigh up to 3.5 kg, the chick was 95 g at hatch--roughly the weight of a bar of soap.

The zoo received breeding recommendations, for its flock, as part of the Chilean Flamingo Species Survival Plan, which cooperatively manages the accredited population.  

Currently, the flamingo chick remains behind-the-scenes, receiving around-the-clock care. In the meantime, the flock of adult Chilean Flamingos is on exhibit daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon.

Continue reading "First Chilean Flamingo Hatchling for Lincoln Park Zoo" »

Denver Zoo Announces Birth of Lion Cubs


Two African Lion cubs were born, at Denver Zoo, on September 10 to lioness Neliah. The brother and sister are currently with their mother, behind the scenes, in the Zoo's Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Zookeepers are monitoring the family via a closed circuit camera and giving them space during this critical bonding period. They will remain off exhibit during this time.

"This is the first time we've had lion cubs at Denver Zoo since 2006, and we are thrilled," says Denver Zoo Vice President of Animal Care Hollie Colahan. 


3_Mother 'Neliah'_o

4_Father 'Sango'_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo (Image 3: Mom 'Neliah'; Image 4: Dad 'Sango')

The cubs were born in the early morning to parents Neliah and Sango, and, so far, mother and cubs are doing great. Zookeepers say they are precocious, moving around frequently, vocalizing and naturally competing when trying to nurse at the same time. Neliah, a first-time mother, has done a wonderful job. Keepers say she is very calm and attentive, regularly grooming the two and allowing them to nurse.

Neliah arrived from Florida's Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in November of last year. The 3-year-old joined the Zoo's young lion pride, with male Sango and female Sabi, both also 3-years-old. Neliah was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on June 30, 2012 and arrived at Denver Zoo through a recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Sango, the Zoo's only adult male lion, was born on July 28, 2012 at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas, and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2013. The cubs are his first offspring, as well.

African Lion cubs are born after a relatively short gestation period of between 100 and 110 days, and they come into the world with spotted coats and their eyes closed. Lionesses normally give birth to between two and four cubs. For the first two months, the cubs drink only their mother's milk and are fully weaned by the time they are seven months old.

The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African Lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa. With some males exceeding 550 lbs. (250 kg) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. The lion is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, having seen a major population decline in its African range of 30-50% per two decades during the second half of the 20th century.

Continue reading "Denver Zoo Announces Birth of Lion Cubs" »

Red Panda Duo Debuts at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

1_RGZ red panda 1_JaimeAlvarez

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, is pleased to announce the birth of two Red Pandas. The male cubs, named Pumori and Rohan, were born on June 25. The zoo estimates that the cubs weighed around two to three ounces at birth, as staff was hands-off for the first 10 days of life. Rohan currently weighs a little over one pound and Pumori a little under.

Their mother, Tabei, is a two-year-old first-time mom. Their father, Ketu, is a four-year-old first-time dad. He came to Syracuse from Hamilton Zoo, in New Zealand, and is valuable to the genetic pool of the North American Red Panda population. 

2_RGZ red panda 2_JaimeAlvarez

3_RGZ red panda 3_TerriRedhead

4_RGZ red panda 5_Pumori_MariaSimmonsPhoto Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Like his father Ketu, little Pumori is named after a Himalayan mountain. Rohan means  “ascend” in Sanskrit. Their mother, Tabei, is named after Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. These Red Panda cubs are important to the North American population and a testament to the hard work of our zoo staff. I commend the dedicated keepers and veterinarians for their continued success,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very proud of our Red Panda parents, Tabei and Ketu, and the work of our animal staff. We continue to have a successful Red Panda breeding program here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of the Species Survival Plan. The births of Pumori and Rohan will help ensure the survival of this endangered species,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox.

Red Pandas are born blind. Their mother cares for them for the first two to three months of life, until they are weaned. They typically open their eyes around two to three weeks of age. Pumori and Rohan are currently being weaned and will be on exhibit during the day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the zoo’s former birthday party room, located near the Jungle Café seating area. (Schedule subject to change.)

Continue reading "Red Panda Duo Debuts at Rosamond Gifford Zoo" »

UPDATE: Latest on Giant Panda Cub at National Zoo


In August, ZooBorns excitedly shared news of the birth of twin Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo. The cubs were born on August 22 and the story quickly spread worldwide. Unfortunately, the smaller and weaker of the two cubs died just a few days after birth. Keepers at the National Zoo have continued their diligent care of the remaining cub.

In one of the latest updates from the zoo, keepers reported that, on a recent evening, Mei Xiang decided to eat some sugarcane and drink diluted apple juice left for her. Two hours later, she left the den to urinate and defecate, which was only the second time she had done so since giving birth. Keepers expect that she will become more comfortable leaving her cub in the den for increasingly longer periods of time to eat and drink over the next few weeks.

During these times Mei Xiang is away from the den, veterinarians and keepers often take the opportunity to give the cub quick checkups. On September 5, he weighed 409.6 grams, which was 119 grams more than he weighed on Sept. 2. On September 14, he was up to 881.5 grams (1.9 lbs.). Cubs at this stage usually gain between 40 and 50 grams per day. Veterinarians also listened to his heart and lungs, which all sounded normal. 



4_21255859399_c9ced62049_oPhoto Credits: Smithsonian National Zoo & Meghan Murphy (Images 1,2) ; Erika Bauer (Image 7)

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics confirmed that the Giant Panda cub born Aug. 22 at the National Zoo is male. A paternity analysis showed that Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN) is the cub's father. Scientists also confirmed the deceased cub, delivered by Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), was a male, also sired by Tian Tian. The cubs were fraternal twins.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Latest on Giant Panda Cub at National Zoo" »