Jacksonville Zoo Set to Debut Sumatran Tiger Cub

1_Cub peeking out of her den Credit - John Reed

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ (JZG) first Tiger cub in 35 years will make her public debut on Saturday, February 13 at 10:00 a.m.

The 18-pound Sumatran Tiger cub will be on exhibit for the first time in JZG’s ‘Land of the Tiger’. The award-winning exhibit features a fortified trail system for her to explore that spans the length of two football fields—plenty of choices for the adventurous cub.  

“It has been so much fun watching our Tiger cub grow and play, and I can’t wait to share her with our visitors,” said Elana Kopel, Senior Mammal Keeper at JZG. “It is my hope that when they see her, it inspires them to support the conservation of these incredible, endangered animals.”

2_Cub sees a bug Credit - John Reed

3_Cub getting used to her surroundings in preparation for her debut Credit - John ReedPhoto Credits: John Reed

This will be an exciting time for the cub, allowing her the first opportunity to explore her new surroundings with her feline curiosity. She has spent the first few months of her life in a den, off-exhibit, to encourage and strengthen the loving bond with her mother, Dorcas. Her impressive new home provides a fully immersive experience for both guests and animals, and JZG can’t wait to introduce the Jacksonville community to this adorable youngster.

The Zoo will also announce the cub’s name, given by a generous donor, when she makes her exhibit debut.

The cub was born in the early morning hours of November 19. She is the first Tiger born at JZG in 35 years and was the fifth Sumatran Tiger born in the U.S. in 2015. First-time mother Dorcas (also known as Lucy) is 4-years-old, and first-time dad, Berani, is 14-years-old.

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“Hello, My Name Is…”

Polar Bear Cub 9168 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The public has spoken! Following a worldwide online poll, the three-month-old Polar Bear cub born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium finally has a name…Nora!

The name was one of four options the Zoo put to a public vote between January 19 and February 3.

The name ‘Nora’, a combination of the cub’s parents’ names, Nanuq and Aurora, garnered the most votes followed by: ‘Kaya’, meaning “little but wise”; ‘Sakari’, meaning “sweet”; and ‘Desna’, meaning “boss”. The Columbus Zoo’s animal care staff had selected the four names, and participants were able to cast their vote online once every 24 hours.

Polar Bear Cub 9208 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Polar Bear Cub 9246 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo

 

The cub has gathered a strong following on the Columbus Zoo’s social media pages, where fans have been able to watch videos of her growth. Voting participants spanned the globe, with 115 countries represented in the voting. The top five participating countries were the United States, France, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom for a grand total of 88,061 votes.

“We are thrilled and inspired that so many people around the world helped name this young Polar Bear,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “We hope that those who have been watching Nora grow will continue to do so throughout her life, and remember that we all have a role to play in protecting wild Polar Bears for generations to come.”

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Giant Anteater Birth Is a First for Prague Zoo

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Prague Zoo is celebrating yet another breeding success. On January 20, a baby Giant Anteater was born. For Prague Zoo it is the first baby anteater born in its breeding history. The proud parents are mom, Ella, and dad, Hannibal, who arrived at the zoo in summer 2014.

A baby Giant Anteater is truly an exceptional sight; it looks like a miniature version of its parents, and spends the first few weeks on its mother's back. When visitors carefully focus on the mom Ella, they will see the small anteater holding firmly on to her.

1 1IMG_9806_exportPhoto Credits: Prague Zoo /Petr Hamerník (Image 1) and Miroslav Bobek (Image 2)

Ella and Hannibal came to Prague Zoo in 2014, after a twelve-year break in the breeding of Giant Anteaters. Ella comes from Warsaw, and Hannibal from Madrid. They both grew accustomed to their new environment quite quickly, but it took roughly three months for them to bond. A certain role in this may also have been played by the fact that, in nature, male anteaters are normally larger than females, but for the Prague pair it was the opposite case. Ella, who is now three years old, was roughly one quarter larger than Hannibal when she arrived, and weighed ten kilograms more, even though they are both the same age.

Ella takes exemplary care of her baby, and, when she feels danger, actively defends it. The baby anteater currently weighs 1,990 grams (4.4 lb), and is doing well. Starting February 5, visitors to Prague Zoo have been able to see him in the ‘Exhibition of Giant Anteaters’.

For now, the mother and baby spend most of their time in the nesting box, which will remain covered for some time. Visitors will have the greatest chance of seeing them when Ella walks to the exhibition next door, where she gets fed around noon.

Giant Anteaters arrived in Prague Zoo in the 1950s, but attempts to breed them always ended in failure. That is why this year's baby is a huge success, and the breeders themselves are, obviously, extremely happy with the birth.

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), also known as the Ant Bear, is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is one of four living species of anteaters and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa.

Giant Anteaters have a very peculiar appearance. Their tubular snout conceals a long, sticky tongue up to 60 cm long. They specialize in collecting social insects, especially termites and ants, of which they can consume up to 30 thousand a day (in the zoo they are fed a special mash). They rake apart hard termite mounds using their strong, long claws.

The Giant Anteater is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “Myrmecophaga tridactyla is at risk from habitat loss in parts of its range, and this is a significant threat to Central American populations in particular. Where this species inhabits grassland habitats it is particularly susceptible to fires. In Brazil, burning of sugar cane plantations prior to their harvest leads to the death of significant numbers of giant anteaters due to severe burn injuries (F. Miranda pers. comm. 2013). Animals are sometimes killed on roads or by dogs. Giant anteaters are hunted for food throughout their distribution, and are additionally hunted as a pest, for pets or for illegal trade in some parts of their range.”

“It has been recorded from many protected areas. It is listed on several national Red Data lists, and is protected as a national heritage species in some provinces in Argentina. There is a need to improve fire management practices, especially in sugarcane plantations and within the regions of grassland habitat occupied by this species. Population and genetic data, as well as habitat use information, are needed, especially for areas that are being subjected to land use change. A reintroduction program is being carried out in Corrientes province, Argentina.”


New Moon at BIOPARC Valencia

1_CRÍA DE JIRAFA - 5 semanas de vida - BIOPARC Valencia

BIOPARC Valencia’s ‘baby New Year’, a female Rothschild Giraffe, has been given a name. Fans of the Spanish zoo voted via social media, and the winning name is…Lluna (moon in Valencian)!

ZooBorns introduced readers to the endangered giraffe calf last month: “New Year, New Baby at Bioparc Valencia

The young giraffe continues to spend all of her time with experienced mother Zora, and Auntie Che. Father, Julius, is the only adult male specimen living at BIOPARC Valencia and is the progenitor of the rest of the calves born in the park.

Lluna and her family can now be seen enjoying their outdoor enclosure. She is also slowly being introduced to other species that inhabit the Zoo’s savannah exhibit.

2_CRÍA DE JIRAFA - 5 semanas de vida - BIOPARC Valencia - adulta y cría

3_Detalle de la CRÍA DE JIRAFA - 5 semanas de vida - BIOPARC Valencia (3)

4_CRÍA DE JIRAFA - 5 semanas de vida - BIOPARC Valencia (2)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

 

The Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also known as the Baringo Giraffe, is one of the most threatened of the nine sub-species of giraffe. It is named after the Tring Museum’s founder, Walter Rothschild.

All individuals living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda. The Rothschild Giraffe is at risk of hybridization and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due to habitat destruction and poaching. Its geographic distribution includes central Kenya, northern Uganda and southern Sudan. According to latest figures, there are fewer than 1,500 individuals in the wild. BIOPARC Valencia participates in the EEP (captive breeding program for endangered species), and this new breeding is involved in this important initiative to preserve biodiversity.

The Rothschild Giraffe is distinguishable from other subspecies because of its coloring. Where as the Reticulated Giraffe has very defined dark patches with bright channels between, the Rothschild has paler, orange-brown patches that are less defined. Also, the Rothschild has no markings on the lower leg.

This subspecies mate any time of year and have a gestation period of 14 to 16 months, typically giving birth to a single calf. They prefer to live in small herds, with adult males and females only mixing for mating. Males are larger than females and tend to be darker in color.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: “Current estimates of population size [of the Rothschild Giraffe] are well below 2,500 mature individuals, numbers are declining overall and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals. The population is potentially close to meeting the population threshold for Critically Endangered under criterion C, depending on the number of individuals, if any, that survive in south Sudan.”


Rare Tiger Cubs Are Off and Running

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Two critically endangered Amur Tiger cubs born September 17 at the United Kingdom’s Woburn Safari Park are off and running as they explore their nine-acre habitat.

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Image001Photo Credit:  Woburn Safari Park

The playful five-month-old cubs, both females, are now old enough to live in the main Tiger reserve where they are being given the grand tour by their mother, four-year-old Minerva.

You first met the cubs here on ZooBorns when they were just one month old.  Since birth, the cubs have been living with their mother in a den, much like they would in the wild.  In the safety of the den, the cubs learned to play, pounce, sharpen their claws, feed on meat, and cause plenty of mischief. 

These are the first Tiger cubs to be born at Woburn Safari Park in 23 years, so their birth is an important landmark for keepers.  The latest estimates show that numbers of Amur Tigers (also referred to as Siberian Tigers) are as low as 520 in the wild.  Less than 100 years ago, only about 40 Amur Tigers remained in the wild.  Despite this perceived comeback, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists these cats, which are the largest of all Tiger subspecies, as Critically Endangered due to the persistent threat of poaching and loss of habitat. The international Amur Tiger captive breeding program is of vital importance for the future of this magnificent species.

See more photos below.

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Meerkat Pups Go Exploring At Taronga Zoo

Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (5)
Two Meerkat pups born January 7 at Australia’s Taronga Zoo are already practicing the skills they’ll need as adults. 

Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (9)
Meerkat Pups_Photo by Paul Fahy (15)Photo Credit:  Paul Fahy

 
The pups, which are the first to be born at Taronga Zoo in nearly seven years, have just started venturing out of their nest box.  At less than one month old, they’re already eating solid food like mealworms and insect larvae.  The pups are also practicing to be sentries by standing on their hind legs.  Meerkats take turns standing as sentries to protect their social group from predators and other threats.

Keepers think that the pups are a male and a female, but the genders will be confirmed later this month when they have their first vaccinations and veterinary exam.   Keepers perform quick health checks and weigh-ins regularly to ensure that the pups are healthy and comfortable in the presence of keepers.

As with all Meerkat young, the yet-to-be named pups are developing very quickly. Despite only weighing less than an ounce at birth, they now weigh more than a quarter of a pound.  

Meerkats are native to southern Africa, where they inhabit arid locales such as the Kalahari and Namib Deserts.  Living in clans of about 20 individuals, Meerkats construct large networks of underground burrows.  Aside from acting as sentries, they exhibit other social behaviors such as babysitting and protecting young of other group members.  Meerkats are not under significant threat and are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Meerkat pups below.

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Tierpark Berlin Shares a Secret…Don’t Squeal!

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Djamila, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig, hit lucky number 7 with the birth of her litter. The piglets arrived January 27 at Tierpark Berlin.

The farrow has been happily confined to their stable, where it is warm and cozy. Except for the occasional squeak or wriggle, the piglets are content to stay close to mom, for now.

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4_csm_Haengebauchschweine_Tierpark_Berlin_2016__10__5946037c73Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin

Djamila is a ‘native’ Berliner and was born at the Zoo in 2011. The Tierpark Berlin introduced this dwarf breed to Europe in 1958.

The Pot-bellied Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) is a domesticated pig originating in Vietnam. Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, adults can weigh about 43 to 136 kg (100 to 300 lb).

Pot-bellied Pigs are considered fully-grown by six years of age, when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones of the legs finally close.

Because Pot-bellied Pigs are the same species as ordinary farmyard pigs and wild boars, they are capable of interbreeding. However, a 2004 study revealed extreme genetic diversity in indigenous Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs. They were also genetically different from each other according to location of origin in Vietnam.

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Diminutive Duiker Born at Los Angeles Zoo

12486097_10156425933595273_5020895740945745106_oPhoto Credit: Susan Pearson

A Red-flanked Duiker was born the end of January, at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The diminutive bovid was recently photographed enjoying the California sun.

The Red-flanked Duiker (Cephalophus rufilatus) is a species of small antelope found in western and central Africa. They grow to almost 15 in (35 cm) in height and weigh up to 31 lb (14 kg). Their coats are russet, with greyish-black legs and backs, and white underbellies.

Red-flanked Duiker feed on leaves, fallen fruits, seeds and flowers, and sometimes twigs and shoots. The adults are territorial, living in savannah and lightly wooded habitats.

The females usually produce a single offspring each year. Breeding and births tend to occur year round as young animals have been seen during the wet and dry season. Gestation is about five-and-a-half months. Duikers are considered precocial but are concealed in vegetation by their mother for several weeks after birth. They are sexually mature when they are about one year old, but probably do not breed until later. Lifespan in captivity is up to 10 years.

Adult males and females are, in general, similar in appearance, but males have short backward-pointing horns up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long. Females are often hornless, or may have shorter horns. Both males and females have large preorbital glands on their snout in front of their eyes, which form bulges in their cheeks. These are common to all members of the genus Cephalophus but they are larger in the Red-flanked Duiker than in other species.

The Red-flanked Duiker is an adaptable species. The removal of trees by logging and the conversion of its natural habitat into more open savannah and farmland have allowed it to increase its range. It is fairly common in the areas in which it is found, though numbers are decreasing, in general, due to severe hunting pressure.

The Red-flanked Duiker was one of the four most frequent species of bushmeat on sale in the Republic of Guinea, along with Maxwell's Duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli), the Greater Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus), and the Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus).

However, the Red-flanked Duiker occurs in a number of reserves and protected areas where it is less liable to be killed for meat, and it is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.


Compatriot of the Dinosaurs Bred at Chester Zoo

1_A unique tuatara has hatched at Chester Zoo. It’s the world’s first ever breeding of the species outside of their native New Zealand.  (1)

A unique Tuatara has hatched at Chester Zoo. It is a species believed to have pre-dated the dinosaurs, having been on the planet more than 225 million years.

This is also the first ever breeding of Tuatara outside of their native New Zealand!

The egg from which the youngster hatched was laid on April 11, 2015, and it hatched on December 5. The rare newcomer arrived weighing 4.21 grams.

Reptile experts at the zoo have described the hatching as an “amazing event” after dedicating several decades to the project.

Keeper Isolde McGeorge has taken care of the species at Chester Zoo since 1977. “Breeding Tuatara is an incredible achievement,” said Isolde. “They are notoriously difficult to breed and it’s probably fair to say that I know that better than most, as it has taken me 38 years to get here. It has taken lots of hard work, lots of stressful moments and lots of tweaking of the conditions in which we keep the animals along the way but it has all been very much worth it.”

“This animal has been on the planet for over a quarter of a billion years and to be the first zoo to ever breed them, outside of their homeland in New Zealand, is undoubtedly an amazing event. It’s one of the most momentous events for the reptile team at the zoo since we discovered Komodo dragons are capable of virgin births, in 2006,” Isolde continued.

2_A unique tuatara has hatched at Chester Zoo. It’s the world’s first ever breeding of the species outside of their native New Zealand.  (6)

3_A unique tuatara has hatched at Chester Zoo. It’s the world’s first ever breeding of the species outside of their native New Zealand.  (4)

4_Keeper Isolde McGeorge attends to the newly hatched tuatara (1)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The new arrival is the offspring of mother Mustard and father Pixie. A Māori Chief accompanied the duo, along with four other females, when they ceremoniously arrived in Chester from Wellington Zoo in 1994.

Isolde added, “When you’ve worked with Tuatara for as long as I have you come to realize that they don’t do anything in a hurry. Their metabolism is incredibly slow - they take only five breaths and just six to eight heartbeats per minute, and they only reproduce every four years, with their eggs taking a year to hatch.”

“We’ve waited a very, very long time --- 12 years with this particular pairing. The night before it hatched, I spotted two beads of sweat on the egg. I had a feeling something incredible was about to happen, so I raced in early the next day and there she was. Immediately I broke down in tears; I was completely overwhelmed by what we had achieved. Now that we have all of the key factors in place, the challenge is to repeat our success and to do it again and again.”

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Three New Antelope Calves for the Maryland Zoo

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The Maryland Zoo, in Baltimore, recently welcomed a male Lesser Kudu on December 18, 2015…the first Lesser Kudu to be born at the Zoo!

The Zoo also welcomed two more members of the genus Tragelaphus, female Sitatunga calves born on December 7 and Christmas Day, 2015. The girls are the third and fourth Sitatunga calves born this season at the Zoo, joining males Riri and Carl (born in April and June respectively).

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4_Sitatunga Remy & calf Jess _JFB6820  Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo / Images 1,2,5,6 : Lesser Kudu / Images 3 and 4 : Sitatunga

The first of the female Sitatunga calves was born to two-year-old Remy and has been named Jess by zookeepers. She currently weighs approximately 21 pounds. The second female calf, named Noel, weighed almost 15 pounds at her last health check. Her mother is two-year-old Mousse. Eight-year-old Lou sired both girls.

“Both calves are healthy and are being well cared for by their mothers, inside the warmth of the Africa Barn,” stated Carey Ricciardone, Mammal Collection and Conservation Manager at the Zoo. “As a first time dam, Mousse is very protective of Noel, but Remy is a much more relaxed mother.”

Both calves will remain behind the scenes in the barn until warm weather returns.

The male Lesser Kudu calf, Kaiser, was born to two-year-old Meringue and sired by five-year-old Ritter. “This little guy has long, spindly legs and huge ears right now; he’s adorable,” continued Ricciardone. “Meringue is taking great care of him and we are pleased with his progress so far.”

Kaiser stands about three-feet-tall and weighs in at 26 pounds. He will also remain off exhibit with his mother until spring.

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