Cat

First Leopard Cubs, Now a Baby Lion For Jacksonville Zoo!

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There is more cause for celebration at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. On the heels of the arrival of two Amur Leopard cubs comes a 3 and one-half pound bundle of joy. A tiny female lion cub was born June 30th to second time mother Tamu and father Mshoni. Mshoni is one of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' most genetically valuable Lions, making this a significant addition the AZA's population. With so little maternal experience, Tamu is unable to adequately nurse the newborn. Zookeepers and veterinarians have stepped in to supplement the cub's diet with formula bottle feedings and to closely monitor her to ensure her good health. This is first surviving lion birth at Jacksonville Zoo since 1974.

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Photo credit: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens


Scottish Wildcat Kitten Twins Debut

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Meet Merida and Brave, Highland Wildlife Park's 10 week old Scottish Wildcat twins. Born April 8th, the brother and sister pair are quite adventurous, exploring their exhibit, wrestling, and practicing their pounce. The kittens are certainly keeping proud parents, five year old mum Seasaidh and eight year old dad Hamish, busy.

Scottish Wildcats, also known as Highland Tigers, are one of Britain’s rarest animals with as few as 400 thought to be left in the UK, mainly in the Scottish Highlands. These felines at first glance could be mistaken for a feral domestic cat, but have wider heads, distinctive striped coats, and blunt, bushy tails.

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Una Richardson, head keeper at the Highland Wildlife Park, said:

“As there are thought to be less than 400 Scottish Wildcats left in the Highlands, these cats are incredibly rare and endangered so this is a huge milestone for this species and the park. The kittens will play a vital role in the conservation of this historic Scottish species along withincreasing visitor awareness of the problems facing this most iconic Scottish animal.”


Minnesota Welcomes A Tiny Striped Bundle of Joy

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The Minnesota Zoo is hand raising a brand new bundle of joy. On June 17, two endangered Amur Tiger cubs were born to first-time mother Angara and father Molniy after a 105 day gestation period. After observing the mother with her cubs overnight, Zoo officials decided to pull the babies for hand-rearing. Angara wasn't displaying the quality of maternal care required to successfully raise the cubs. During the critical first days under round the clock human care, the smaller of the two cubs passed away. About two thirds of Amur Tiger cubs survive the first 30 days of life.

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Photo credits: Minnesota Zoo

The Amur Tiger’s home range, reputation as a threat to livestock and humans, and value to poachers has led to its population decline. Around 1940, the wild Amur Tiger population in Russia was estimated to be as low as 20 or 30. In 2005, scientists estimated that the population had recovered to 430-500 individuals, but it is thought that wild Amur Tigers have declined since then to about 350. Concerted conservation efforts help protect these remaining endangered Tigers from the persistent threats of poaching and habitat loss.

Continue reading "Minnesota Welcomes A Tiny Striped Bundle of Joy" »


It's Winter In Australia, But Spring Is In The Air

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It may be winter in Australia, but Monarto Zoo got a taste of Spring on June 2 when it welcomed its first Cheetah cub in several years. Keepers were surprised by the birth because recent pregnancy tests on mother Nakula came up negative. Anna Bennet, Team Leader of Carnivores, said the cub stayed with Mom until keepers decided it was best to hand raise her.

“Normally it’s very rare for Cheetah to raise a single cub as mum tends to not produce enough milk to feed just one,” Anna said.

“It’s hard to say why this happens, however the recommendations we’ve had from other institutions indicate that a single cub has the best chance of survival if it is hand-raised.

“Most importantly she’s strong, healthy and very cute! Our only problem now is deciding who gets to take care of the little fluff ball as she needs feeding every few hours.”

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Zoos South Australia Head of Life Sciences, Peter Clark, said the little cub will act as an ambassador for its species educating Australians on the plight of Cheetahs in the wild.

“In the last 35 years we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population. Currently there are approximately 7,500 Cheetah left in the wild whereas in the mid 1970s the population was estimated to be around 15,000,” Peter said.

“The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetahs to protect livestock against predation.”

Monarto’s little cub is not yet on public display, however it’s hoped visitors will get the chance to meet her in the not to distant future. Mum Nakula was born at Monarto Zoo in 2003. Dad Jala was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in 2000 and arrived at Monarto Zoo in 2010.


National Zoo Heralds Its First Fishing Cat Births!

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is closer to cracking the code for breeding one of Asia’s most elusive species with the birth of two Fishing Cats (Prionailurus viverrinus). Seven-year-old Electra delivered the kittens between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. May 18 in an off-exhibit den. Their birth marks an important milestone: this is the first time fishing cats have successfully bred and produced young at the National Zoo.

Keepers are monitoring the mother and her offspring through a closed-circuit camera, allowing the family time to bond. Although the kittens will not make their public debut until later this summer, Zoo visitors can see their father, two-year-old Lek, on Asia Trail.

“Many months of behavior watch, introductions and research allowed us to get to this point,” said Zoo Director Dennis Kelly. “It’s very rewarding that our efforts have paid off. The future of their wild cousins hangs in the balance, so it’s imperative that we do all we can to ensure their survival.”

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Photo credits: Courtney Janney / Smithsonian's National Zoo

Read the story of this exceptional breeding success and see tons of pictures below the fold!

Continue reading "National Zoo Heralds Its First Fishing Cat Births!" »


Checking-in on Nashville Zoo's Clouded Leopard Cubs

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Photo credit: Amiee Stubbs

Back in March, we brought you news of Nashville Zoo's back-to-back litters of Clouded Leopard cubs. Now three and four months old, we check back in on the curious felines as they explore their exhibit. As demonstrated in the video below, Clouded Leopards are among the best feline tree climbers and have been observed walking down trees head first among other feats of arboreal acrobatics. 


Ever Wanna Bottle Feed a Cheetah?

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Three weeks after their unconventional and rocky entrance into the world, two 3-week-old Cheetahs were transported May 18 to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in good health, thanks to the hard work and swift actions of animal care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The cubs are being hand-raised at the Zoo and will require around-the-clock care until they are ready to make their public debut late this summer.

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Photo credits: All photos by Adrienne Crosier, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute apart from 2, 6,7, and 8 by Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

Five-year-old Cheetah and first-time mom Ally gave birth to the first cub, a male, April 23. However, instead of nursing and cleaning the cub, she abandoned him, which is relatively common for first-time mothers under human care. Cheetah keepers moved the cub to the veterinary hospital to be treated for severe hypothermia. When Ally suddenly stopped having contractions hours later, SCBI head vet Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer anesthetized her to see if she had additional cubs. Aitken-Palmer heard additional heartbeats and performed a radiograph to determine that three cubs remained. She performed a cesarean section, a procedure rarely used on Cheetahs and one that cubs do not often survive. A team of veterinarians, keepers and scientists worked for three hours to resuscitate the three cubs, performing CPR, administrating medications and rubbing the cubs to dry and warm them. One of the three cubs, a female, did survive.

Read more about the cubs and see all their first photos below the fold...

Continue reading "Ever Wanna Bottle Feed a Cheetah?" »


Puma Cubs Greet the Day in the UK

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The UK's Exmoor Zoo just announced the birth of three beautiful Puma cubs! Born on March 31, the zoo kept them a secret until they could be seen at the mouth of their den in their enclosure. These five-week-old cubs look nothing like their parents as they are all covered in camouflaging spots.
Curator Danny Reynolds said “We are all so proud of Fu and Nikko, our adult pumas, as this is the first time either have been parents." The parents and cubs progress has been carefully monitored by zoo staff and the babies are thriving.
 
Pumas are one of the most secretive large cats in the world. They go by many names, from Mountain lion to Cougar. Very few are maintained in Zoos compared to years ago; Fu and Nikko have both been bred in Europe and brought to the UK to help reverse that scenario. The UK has less than three actual pairs spread around its shores. In the wild, this cat has one of the largest distributions of any mammal covering two of the biggest land masses on earth -- North and South America encompassing both the Andes and Rockies as well as the Amazon rainforest. Like the leopard, the puma is extremely adaptable and able to live around people without being seen or noticed in the wild. Their terriroty often can cover an area of 100 square miles.
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Photo credit: John Hammond 
 

Spot On! Newly Born Jaguar Cubs at San Diego Zoo

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One of two Jaguar cubs born at the San Diego Zoo on April 27 takes its turn on the scale. The 12-day-old cub, which weighs 4.2 pounds, is still too young to get on and off the scale on its own. The two unnamed siblings will remain in the den for a couple of months until they are able to walk outdoors on their own. Keepers have yet to determine the sex of the cubs. The pair are the first Jaguars born at the San Diego Zoo since 1989.

Although these two young cubs may look adorable, females can grow to 70 pounds while males can reach 120 pounds. Jaguars are the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere and the third largest of the world's cats. The South American native word for Jaguar, yaguara, means "animal that kills in a single bound."

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Photo credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

Unfortunately, demand for the Jaguar's beautiful rosette-covered fur is one of the reasons this species is endangered. In addition, loss of habitat and the human-animal conflict have reduced populations of Jaguars throughout their range from North America through South America.