Two Baby Lemurs Are Twice the Fun

_AT_042720151016Taronga Western Plains Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of not one, but two Ring-tailed Lemur babies!

A male baby was born on September 1 to mother Rakitra. He was joined eight weeks later on October 28 by a female, born to mother Cleopatra. Both Rakitra and Cleopatra came to the Zoo from Italy in 2012 to boost the Ring-tailed Lemur breeding program.

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Photo Credit: Rick Stevens

“It’s very exciting to welcome two healthy Ring-tailed Lemur babies this year, and particularly special to have one of each sex,” Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Both babies are being well cared for by their experienced mothers, and can be spotted riding on their mothers’ backs at the Ring-tailed Lemur breeding facility,” Sasha said.

“At three months of age, Rakitra’s male baby is already spending more time away from his mother and interacting with the two sets of twins born last year. He spends lots of time wrestling with them, and it’s great to see the twins playing gently with the baby,” Sasha said.

“At nearly five weeks of age, Cleopatra’s female baby is still developing her coordination skills, but we have noticed her also start to bounce away from her mother for short periods of time. Cleopatra is particularly relaxed around her keepers, so she doesn’t mind her baby exploring. “We’ll start to see the female baby play with others soon, including her older brother, but for now it’s very positive that she’s bonding with her mother,” Sasha said.

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Tiny Cockatoo Chick Charms His Keepers

Herbert next to his egg at Paradise Park
A Palm Cockatoo chick named Herbert is being hand-reared at Paradise Park in the United Kingdom, and he is charming the zoo keepers who care for him.

Keeper Leanne feeding Herbert
Keeper Leanne feeding HerbertPhoto Credit: Paradise Park

Keepers are raising the chick because his parents, Tess and Ziggy, have produced eggs before but the eggs broke before they could hatch. When keepers noticed Tess and Ziggy squabbling over their newly-laid egg, they were concerned that the egg would be crushed. “We stepped in and took the egg to an incubator,” says keeper Leanne Gilbert.

Parrots, including Palm Cockatoos, are completely featherless upon hatching, and Herbert was no exception. Despite his tiny size and helpless state, Herbert managed to be quite demanding of his keepers, who of course meet Herbert’s every need.

Now three months old and covered in sleek black feathers, Herbert is almost ready to eat solid food. For now, he eats a mixture of blended carrot, apple, broccoli, macadamia nuts, smooth peanut butter, Macaw formula, called “Witches Brew,” from a syringe. He is already interested in nibbling carrot sticks with his sharp and powerful beak.

Herbert is the first Palm Cockatoo chick to successfully hatch at Paradise Park in more than 20 years.

Parrot chicks start small but grow rapidly, reaching near-adult size within just a few months.  One way to tell adults from juveniles is by the length of the tail feathers – those of adults are longer.

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Three Bundles of Joy Arrive at the Pueblo Zoo

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The Pueblo Zoo recently announced the arrival of three “precocious, bundles of joy”. African Lioness, Mashavu, gave birth to the two females and one male on October 25. The trio was sired by Taz Jahari (father of Pueblo Zoo’s ‘Mumford’).

The cubs have been under the watch and care of their mother. At their first checkup, in November, the male and two females weighed 9.5 lbs., 9.3 lbs., and 7.9 pounds, respectively.

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2_DSC01484Photo Credits: Ashley Bowen

The Zoo is excited to be able to share video and photos of the cubs as they grow and will be posting regular updates to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once they are vaccinated and ready to brave the outdoors, the cubs will be given access (weather permitting) to the outdoor Lion enclosure in late December.

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Unique Crocodile Species Hatches at Zoo Miami

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A False Gavial has hatched at Zoo Miami! This is the Zoo’s first successful hatching, in over 25 years, of this very unique species of crocodile from Indonesia and Malaysia.

After an incubation period of 89 days, at a temperature of 89 degrees, the baby hatched on September 1st and was one of two hatchlings that emerged from a clutch of 25 eggs. Unfortunately, the second hatchling did not survive.

The parents are 45-year-old male, Lockjaw, and 31- year-old female, Nessi. At 14 feet long, Lockjaw is the largest crocodile at the zoo, while Nessi is a bit smaller at 9 feet long.

The False Gavial's numbers are low in the wild (less than 2,500). As late as the year 2000, they were classified by the IUCN as “Endangered”. The species was reassessed in 2011, and they are now at the status of “Vulnerable”. However, they are still threatened by habitat destruction, overfishing of food sources and, to a limited extent, the skin trade.

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2_24172844_1588876784467952_7125887576147272089_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Miami 

The False Gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii), also known as False Gharial, Malayan Gharial, Sunda Gharial and Tomistoma, is a freshwater crocodile that is native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

The specific name “schlegelii” honors the German herpetologist, Hermann Schlegel.

The False Gavial has one of the slimmest snouts of any living crocodilian, comparable to the slender-snouted crocodile and the freshwater crocodile. The False Gavial measures slightly smaller than the Gavial.

Until recently, very little was known about the diet or behavior of the species in the wild. In the past, it was thought to have a diet of only fish and very small vertebrates. But more recent evidence and observation indicates that it has a generalist diet despite its narrow snout. In addition to fish and smaller aquatic animals, mature adults prey on larger vertebrates, including proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, deer, water birds, and reptiles.

False Gavials are mound-nesters. In the wild, females lay small clutches of 13 to 35 eggs per nest, and appear to produce the largest eggs of extant crocodilians.

It is not known when they breed in the wild or when the nesting season is. Once the eggs are laid, and construction of the mound is completed, the female abandons her nest. Unlike most other crocodiles, the young receive no parental care and are at risk of being eaten by predators. The young hatch after 90 days and are left to fend for themselves.

The False Gavial is threatened with extinction throughout most of its range due to the drainage of its freshwater swamplands and clearance of surrounding rainforests. The species is also hunted frequently for its skin and meat, and the eggs are often harvested for human consumption.


Koala Joey Emerges For Warm Holiday Season

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Taronga Zoo is delighted to share images of their new male Koala joey. The tiny face has appeared just in time to catch the warmer weather of an Australian summer.

The joey has been named ‘Banks’ after naturalist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks. This continues Taronga’s tradition of choosing names for their Koalas while honoring Australian heritage.

Banks is nine months old and is the second joey to mum Malleey, who gave birth to Baxter three years ago.

According to keeper, Laura Jones, Banks is now eating eucalyptus leaves, supplemented with mum’s milk. Soon he will be weaned and his diet will consist of only Eucalyptus leaves.

Banks has also now completely emerged from the pouch. “At ninth months old, he’s already experimenting with sitting on his own, which usually happens around 10 months, so he is a bit advanced for his age,” remarked Laura.

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3_Banks and Malleey 9 (1)Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo

Koalas are one of Australia’s most iconic species. Unfortunately, Koala numbers are declining in the wild due to habitat encroachment, so every birth helps to secure a future for this iconic species.

Found along the East Coast of Australia, Koala’s are losing their homes due to deforestation. Being a sensitive animal, Koala’s do not translocate habitats well. Rather than cutting down trees and planting new ones elsewhere in the hope that wildlife will relocate, it is very important to protect their home today.

“It is particularly important for people to watch out for Koalas on the roads with the arrival of the busy Christmas period,” Laura added.

Taronga’s Koala breeding program has now produced three joeys this year. A great time to see the new Koala joey, in the zoo’s Aussie Walkthrough exhibit, is during the daily keeper talks at 3:30pm.

More great pics below the fold!

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Giant Anteater Twins Born at Santa Barbara Zoo

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The Santa Barbara Zoo’s Giant Anteater, Anara, recently gave birth to a rare set of twins! The female pups were born overnight and discovered by keepers on Monday, November 21.

Twins are unusual in this species, and the likelihood for survival of both pups, if left with the mother, is extremely low.

“We monitored the newborn pups and allowed them both to stay with their mother for as long as possible,” says Dr. Julie Barnes, Director of Animal Care and Health. “We had several plans to implement, depending on how they progressed. Although Anara did an amazing job in the first few days, we were starting to see a significant weight discrepancy between the pups. That indicated it was time to start hand-rearing the smaller pup in order to increase the chances of survival of both pups.”

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SB Zoo Giant Anteater pups 11.17Photo Credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

Giant Anteater babies grow fast, and providing enough milk for more than one infant is difficult. In addition, the mother carries the baby on her back until they are nearly her size. Therefore, carrying both twins would prove impossible for the mother after just a few weeks. Anara herself is a twin and was hand- raised at the Fresno Zoo.

Keepers identify the larger pup by two black stripes on her back, while the smallest of the pair has only one stripe. Currently, the smaller pup is in an incubator at the Animal Hospital and is being fed every three hours, around the clock. She will not be on view to the public for several months.

Anara and the larger pup she is caring for are expected to go out on exhibit within the next two weeks, and the pup will be seen clinging to her mother’s back.

“Anara is doing well and is a great mother,” adds Dr. Barnes. “We are delighted that both pups are female, as her previous two surviving pups were male. We need more females in order to ensure we have a genetically healthy population for his species in North America. Her mate Ridley, who came from Germany, has valuable genes that are not well represented so far. Those genes go with his offspring and help diversity the genes of Giant Anteaters in human care in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.”

Although the birth of twins is rare for Anteaters, it is not so much the case for Anara, as this is her second set of twins out of three pregnancies with Ridley. The pair’s first offspring were twins, a male and female, born in March 2014, but the female newborn did not survive. The male pup was hand-reared and is now at the Tennessee Zoo. Nine months later, another male pup was born and successfully raised by Anara. He now resides at the Birmingham Zoo.

Since 1975, a total of 29 Giant Anteaters have now been born at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Prior to Anara and Ridley’s first litter in 2014, the last time a Giant Anteater was born there was in 2006.

The Zoo was a leader in an early nationwide study of Giant Anteaters, thanks in great part to a special female named ‘Grandma’. The average lifespan for this species is between 20 and 23 years of age, and Grandma lived to be 31 years old. During her life she produced fifteen offspring. She was the oldest Giant Anteater in captivity when she died in 2002.

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) was once found from northern Argentina to southern Belize, in savannas, grasslands, swampy areas, and humid forests. They have since disappeared from Belize, Guatemala, and probably Costa Rica. In South America, they are also gone from Uruguay and portions of Brazil.

The Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates population loss of at least 30% over the past 10 years, and classifies the species as “Vulnerable.”

Giant Anteaters have a body length of 3 to 4 feet with a tail that is an additional 2 to 3 feet, and weigh 40 to 85 pounds, though some captive Anteaters have weighed more than 100 pounds.

This species uses powerful claws to rip apart termite and ant mounds, and an 18 to 24 inch tongue to eat termites, ants, and grubs. In the wild, they may consume as many as 35,000 ants in a single day. At the Santa Barbara Zoo, they eat a specially formulated insectivore diet, plus avocados, bananas, crickets, and worms. The avocados must be ripe because anteaters do not have teeth; they break open the skin with their long sharp claws.

Anteaters in the wild are solitary, except for females with young, and spend most of their days with their noses to the ground searching for food using exceptional senses of smell and hearing. Their sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than a human’s.

Giant Anteaters typically spend their first months of life clinging to their mother’s backs, where their black and gray stripes line up with those of the mother.

The new Giant Anteaters twins, like many of the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo, can be named by making a donation to the Zoo. By donating for a chance to name the pups, sponsors also support the AZA Giant Anteater cooperative breeding program, with the goal of increased genetic diversity in North American zoos.

For more information, visit www.sbzoo.org .


Spotted Hyena Twins Born at Monarto Zoo

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Two adorable faces have joined Monarto Zoo’s Spotted Hyena clan. Twins were born on September 13 to first-time parents Thandi and Piltengi.

Carnivore Keeper, Rachel Robbins, said the little cubs were thriving under the careful watch of doting first-time mum Thandi.

“Thandi is doing incredibly well as a first-time mum,” Rachel said. “Due to their unique reproductive anatomy, first-time Hyena mums have a very high chance of something going wrong during birth, and a high percentage of first-time mothers in the wild die, so it’s incredible to see Thandi successfully rearing two cubs.”

Rachel continued, “It’s also really exciting to see Piltengi father his first cubs, as he has wild parentage which provides incredibly valuable genetics for the region.”

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3_Monarto Zoo Spotted Hyena cubs health check  credit Geoff Brooks  Zoos SA (18)Photo Credits: Adrian Mann

The cubs are currently spending most of their time in a private habitat with their parents and grandma, Kigali. Keepers expect they will be ready for their big public debut in a few months, once they become more confident.

“The cubs are still quite shy, sticking close to mum and their den, but every day they grow a little more confident,” Rachel Robbins said. “For now, the best time to catch a glimpse of the youngsters is during our ‘Lions at Bedtime’ tour.”

As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, Monarto Zoo is proud to have bred a total of ten Spotted Hyena. The newest little cubs will act as ambassadors for their species, educating Australians about the plight of their wild cousins.

The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), also known as the Laughing Hyena, is a species currently classed as the sole member of the genus Crocuta. It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Spotted Hyena has a widespread range and large numbers, estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals, however, the species is experiencing declines outside of protected areas due to habitat loss and poaching.

Hyenas can sometimes be a misunderstood species, but, in fact, they are excellent hunters with a success rate of up to 95 per cent, are extremely intelligent and have wonderful characters.

Research has proven Hyenas to be excellent problem solvers, sometimes even out-performing great apes in problem solving tests.


Tiger Cubs Get Their First Checkup at Jacksonville Zoo

Cub one with closed eyesJacksonville Zoo and Gardens is celebrating the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger cubs. The cubs’ mother, 6-year-old Dorcas, gave birth at 11:40 a.m. on November 20. The Tigers’ keepers were able to keep an eye on the process using a closed-circuit camera system.

Both cubs are male and represent the second litter for Dorcas and father, Berani. The Zoo’s first Sumatran Tiger birth in its 102-year history is big sister Kinleigh Rose, born on November 19, 2015 – two years and a day before the arrival of her little brothers. 

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Cub one with closed eyesPhoto Credit: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

“One of the biggest pleasures as the Zoo’s Tiger-management program evolves, is watching the effect that it has on the wellness of our animals,” said Dan Dembiec, Supervisor of Mammals. “Dorcas started out as a skittish and shy Tigress, but she is now a confident and skilled mother.  She is a natural at providing her cubs with the necessary care to help them develop, and this is reflective of the care that she has received from the staff at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.”

The cubs received their first medical exam on November 28. Zoo Animal Health staff were able to quickly and efficiently examine the cubs because of the exceptional bonding and training the keeper staff has established with the mother. Dorcas trusted her keepers and was therefore willing to be separated from the cubs when keepers requested it.

Dr. Yousuf Jafarey gave the cubs’ brief physical examinations and determined they look healthy, are nursing well, and have no congenital health problems. Both cubs weighed 4.5 pounds. Within minutes the cubs were back with their mother in the nesting box, behind-the-scenes in the Tiger viewing building.

The cubs will not be on exhibit for several months. They still require a series of health examinations and vaccinations. They’ll continue to strengthen the bond with their mom, and even require a swim test before the cubs are ready to explore their outdoor habitat in public viewing areas. A live video feed of the nest box can be seen in the Tiger viewing building, on either side of the donor wall.

The birth of two Sumatran Tiger cubs is especially significant because the Zoo’s Tigers are part of a globally-managed species program. Zoological facilities around the world, including Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ work to maintain a healthy population. There are currently less than 400 Sumatran Tigers in the wild.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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A Pile of Otter Pups at NatureZoo Rheine


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A furry pile of tiny baby Otters snuggled in the nest box at Germany’s NaturZoo Rheine represents the first-ever birth of Asian Small-clawed Otters at the zoo.

The pups, which were born on October 31, stay so close together that the staff is unsure how many pups are in the nest, but they expect there are four or five little ones.

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Photo Credit: NaturZoo Rheine

Four adult Asian Small-clawed Otters, all about six years old, arrived at NaturZoo Rheine in the summer of 2017. The staff allowed the female to select her mate from among the three males in the group and she became pregnant shortly after.

Keepers knew that the female had given birth because they heard the pups chirping loudly from within the nest box. The female did not come out of the box for four days.  Keepers respected her privacy and allowed her to bond with her newborns. Two of the males cared for the female and her pups by bringing her food during this time. Later, when the female left the nest box for brief periods, the males guarded the nest. The males also brought fresh bedding, cleaned waste from the nest, and helped transfer the pups to a second nest box when the pups were about three weeks old.

Keepers have not disturbed the nest, but one day, when all the adults were out of the box, they peeked inside to check on the pups. At first glance, they thought there were three pups in the box, but then realized there were at least four.  Later, another keeper thought she saw five pups. The number will remain a mystery until the pups come out of the nest with their mom, probably in late December.

Asian Small-clawed Otters, which are the smallest of all Otter species, are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They inhabit wetlands, mangrove swamps, and waterways in Southeast Asia.  Many of these areas are rapidly being converted for aquaculture production, which diminishes the quality of the habitat.  Many surrounding hillsides are being converted to tea and coffee plantations, with the pesticides used in those plantations running off into waterways where Otters live.