Oregon Zoo

Name Dropping at the Oregon Zoo

OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_2On September 8th, beautiful African Lion Cubs were born at the Oregon Zoo. The healthy trio was the first offspring for their seven-year-old mother, ‘Kya’, and father, ‘Zawadi Mungu’. Now, the cubs are 4-weeks-old, adventurous, feisty…and they need names! 

OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_1

OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_4

OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_5Photo Credits: Michael Durham /Oregon Zoo

Until now, the zoo's animal-care staff has referred to the two females and one male by the last digit of the numbers they were assigned as part of the International Species Information System: 6, 7 and 8.

"They're bonding well, and we're starting to see their personalities," Laura Weiner, senior keeper for the zoo’s Africa section said. "We think it's time to give them names that suit them."

Keepers have selected two possible names for each cub and are asking the public to vote.

Votes can be cast via an online survey, linked here: “Lion Cub Name Vote

Votes will be accepted through Thursday, Oct. 9. The zoo will announce the winning names on Friday, Oct. 10.

"A lot of animals at the zoo get their names from nations or cultures associated with their species' native habitats," Weiner said. "And for these cubs, we wanted to bring attention to what's happening in their range countries. Just two decades ago, lions were plentiful in much of Africa, but today they are vanishing at alarming rates. The wild lion population is estimated to have dropped by 75 percent since 1990."

The zoo's three adult lions (Zawadi, Neka and Kya) came to the Oregon Zoo, in 2009, based on a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for African Lions. Zawadi, the male, came from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the females, Neka and Kya, came from the Virginia Zoo and Wisconsin's Racine Zoo respectively.

Continue reading "Name Dropping at the Oregon Zoo" »


African Pygmy Hoglets Poke About at Oregon Zoo

Oregon_hoglets_126

Hakuna Matata, an African Pygmy Hedgehog at the Oregon Zoo, gave birth to a litter of five on July 7!  The tiny, spiny hoglets weigh just a tenth of a pound each, and when curled up in a ball they are about the size of a doughnut hole. 

Oregon_hoglets_119

Oregon_hoglets_122

Oregon_hoglets_134Photo Credits: Oregon Zoo/Michael Durham

 

Keepers aren't completely sure of the little ones' sexes yet, but they believe there are three males and two females. Two of the hoglets resemble their mother, a black-eyed cinnicot with mostly white spines; the other three take after their father, Burundi, who is a dark gray. Their quills are actually modified hairs, which fall out and grow back throughout their lives.

"When we think of African predators, we often think of lions and cheetahs and painted dogs," said Tanya Paul, who supervises the Oregon Zoo's education program animals. "But African Pygmy Hedgehogs are a great example of a smaller predator that is also important. They are insectivores, so they help keep bug populations down. They can also tolerate a fair amount of toxins in their diet, and sometimes will even feast on scorpions."

Although hedgehogs are cute, Paul warns, people should think twice before considering one as a pet. "They're very difficult to care for because of their diet and the need for special veterinary care," she said. "Many vets don't specialize in treating exotic animals like a hedgehog."

For now the hoglets are not viewable by visitors, but staff are working on ways to let people see them once the babies are about six weeks old and have been weaned. 

See more photos below.

Continue reading "African Pygmy Hoglets Poke About at Oregon Zoo" »


It's Pool Time for Lily the Baby Elephant!

10382337_10152170705216109_2175553080066726608_oLily, a one-and-a-half-year-old Asian Elephant, enjoyed some splash time with the entire herd this week at the Oregon Zoo.

10517419_10152170708971109_5653724768025646388_o
10497069_10152170708481109_7533033204958836463_o
10499631_10152170709181109_8182557338239275986_o
10460907_10152170708686109_3506961265514086908_oPhoto Credit:  Shervin Hess

The Oregon Zoo’s Elephant herd includes Lily, her mother Rose-Tu, her father Tusko, brother Samudra, adult males Rama and Packy, and adult females Chendra and Sung-Surin.

Elephants regularly enter lakes and rivers to drink, bathe, and play.  Elephants are also good swimmers!  They paddle with their legs and use their trunks as snorkels.  Elephants are rarely far from fresh water, and drink up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Once ranging across Southeast Asia, their habitat is now fragmented due to extensive development for agriculture and a growing human population.  


The Penguins are Hatching at Oregon Zoo

1 penguin

Three new chicks have joined the Oregon Zoo’s Humboldt Penguin colony! Visitors can look for the young penguins this summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the rugged terrain of the zoo’s penguinarium, which simulates the endangered birds’ native habitat along the rocky coast of Chile and Peru.

For now, keepers say, the recent arrivals are keeping cozy in their nest boxes, growing strong on a diet of regurgitated 'fish smoothie' provided by their parents. The first Humboldt hatchling of the year, who arrived March 11 to parents Milo and Vivo, has already been eating with enough gusto to have earned the nickname Porker.

2 penguin

3 penguinPhoto credit: Oregon Zoo / Michael Durham

“The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys,” said curator Michael Illig, who oversees the zoo’s birds and species recovery programs. “They weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand.”

By summer, the chicks will be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts, but easy to tell apart by their plumage: They will be grayish-brown all over and won’t develop the distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings for a couple more years.

Read more after the fold.

Continue reading "The Penguins are Hatching at Oregon Zoo" »


UPDATE: Ziggy the Otter Learns to Swim at Oregon Zoo

011714_Ziggy-26

Ziggy, a two-month-old North American River Otter at the Oregon Zoo, is living up to his name as he learns to swim with the help of his mom, Tilly.

ZiggySwimLesson
011714_Ziggy-17
011714_Ziggy-25
Photo Credit:  Shervin Hess, courtesy Oregon Zoo

 
The pup, born November 8 and named after Oregon’s Zigzag River, is growing into his name, keepers say — zigging this way and that and scampering away from his mom, Tilly, when she tries to lead him indoors.  “He’s a little motorboat,” said senior keeper Julie Christie. 

“Otter pups are very dependent on their mother and they don’t know how to swim right away,” said Christie. “The mother actually has to teach them.”

Tilly is experienced in giving swim lessons – Ziggy’s older brother Molalla, nicknamed Mo, learned to swim under her tutelage just last year. 

Recently Tilly has been offering similar instruction to Ziggy, nudging her new pup to the water’s edge and then plunging in with a firm grip on the scruff of his neck, just as Otter moms do in the wild.

“Tilly has been teaching Ziggy to do some deep dives,” Christie said. “Otter pups are very buoyant, so it takes them a little bit to learn how to go underwater.”

Both of Ziggy’s parents — mom, Tilly, and dad, B.C. — are rescue animals who had a rough start to life.

Tilly was found orphaned in 2009. She was about 4 months old, had been wounded by an animal attack and was seriously malnourished. Once her health had stabilized, Tilly came to the Oregon Zoo.   B.C. was also orphaned in 2009 and after being taken in by the Little Rock Zoo, moved to Oregon as a companion for Tilly.

North American River Otters are relatively abundant in healthy river systems in parts of their range, but were extirpated (locally extinct) in many areas of the United States in the 20th century.  Thanks to reintroduction programs, Otters have been reestablished in several states.   


Rescued Cougar Cubs Arrive at Oregon Zoo

Cougar heroPhoto credit: Oregon Zoo

More Cougars! This time, it's a trio of two-week-old cubs that were orphaned in the wild. They were rescued last week by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife brought to Oregon Zoo's Veterinary Medical Center for care. 

At just two weeks old, Cougar cubs are completely dependent on their mother, who raises them without the help of a mate. Their eyes have been open for just a few days. They wouldn't have made it on their own without a mother to nurse them, protect them, and teach them the survival skills they will need. 

These guys are now in experienced, caring hands. They'll receive care at Oregon Zoo until they move to their permanent home at the North Carolina Zoo

See video of a bottle-feeding and checkup:

 


Oregon Zoo's Otter Pup Has a Name!

OtterPup

A North American River Otter pup born at the Oregon Zoo on November 8 now has a name!  The zoo’s River Otter staff came up with three waterway-inspired names for their fans to choose from, and the winner is…Zigzag, or Ziggy for short.  

Nearly half of the 8,000 voters chose this name over two other options, Willamette and Trask.  All three names are references to Oregon rivers.

902586_10151782058576109_1408170927_oPhoto Credit:  Oregon Zoo

ZooBorns first reported on the birth of this pup here.  Born to experienced mother Tilly, the pup has been growing quickly under her diligent care.  Young River Otters are completely dependent on their mothers, and even need to be taught how to swim. 

North American River Otters are relatively common in the Pacific Northwest, but are rare in other parts of the United States.  These sleek, playful mammals require healthy river systems to thrive.  They feed on mollusks, fish, crayfish, and other river fauna.

Related articles


River Otter Delivers Her Second Pup at Oregon Zoo

1 otter

Tilly, a North American River Otter at the Oregon Zoo, gave birth to a pup on November 8 —her second this year. The new arrival weighed just shy of 5 ounces (28.3 g) at birth and has nearly tripled that thanks to mom’s naturally high-fat milk.

“We’re pretty sure this pup’s a male,” said Julie Christie, the zoo’s senior North America keeper. “But Tilly is very protective, so we can’t be positive until our vets conduct a more thorough exam.”

Tilly and her pup are currently in a private maternity den, and it will be another month or two before visitors can see them in their Cascade Stream and Pond habitat. Young River Otters usually open their eyes after three to six weeks, and begin walking at about five weeks.

“Young River Otters are very dependent on their moms, and Tilly has been very nurturing,” said Christie. “She did a great job with her first pup, Mo, earlier this year. She raised him up from this tiny, helpless creature into the sleek, agile, full-grown otter he is today. We’re confident Tilly will be a great mom to her new pup as well.”

2 otter

3 otterPhoto credits: Oregon Zoo

Surprisingly, swimming does not come naturally to River Otters; pups must be taught to swim by their moms. Earlier this year, this video of Tilly teaching Mo to swim drew more than half a million views on the zoo’s YouTube channel.

 

Take a peek behind the scenes as the newborn pup is weighed:

 

Keepers have yet to decide on a name for the new pup, though it is likely he will be named after a local river or waterway. (Mo is short for Molalla, after the Molalla River.)

North American River Otters typically give birth from late winter to spring, but Tilly seems to be on her own schedule, keepers say. The breeding season for River Otters is December through April, and actual gestation only lasts a couple of months. Unlike their European cousins however, North American River Otters usually delay implantation so that the time between conception and birth can stretch to as much as a year. That hasn’t been the case with Tilly. 

Christie said it is also unusual — though not unheard of — for an otter to give birth to a single pup, as Tilly has now done twice. Litters usually consist of two or three pups, though the range is anywhere from one to six. Family groups typically consist of an adult female otter and her pups, with males moving away once they reach adulthood.

Since both Tilly and the pup’s father, B.C., were born in the wild, they and their offspring are considered genetically important for the breeding otter population in North American zoos. Both parents are rescued animals who had a rough start to life.

Tilly, named after the Tillamook River, was found orphaned near Johnson Creek in 2009. She was about four months old, had been wounded by an animal attack and was seriously malnourished. Once her health had stabilized, Tilly came to the Oregon Zoo in a transfer facilitated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees the species’ protection. 

The pup’s father, B.C. (short for Buttercup), was found orphaned near Star City, Ark., also in 2009. He was initially taken in by the Little Rock Zoo, but transferred to Oregon the following year as a companion for Tilly. The two otters hit it off quickly and have been playful visitor favorites ever since.

Now that the threat from fur trappers has declined, North American River Otters are once again relatively abundant in healthy river systems of the Pacific Northwest and the lakes and tributaries that feed them. Good populations exist in suitable habitat in northeast and southeast Oregon, but they are scarce in heavily settled areas, especially if waterways are compromised. Because of habitat destruction and water pollution, River Otters are considered rare outside the Pacific Northwest.

Metro, the regional government that manages the Oregon Zoo, has preserved and restored more than 90 miles of river and stream banks in the region through its voter-supported natural area programs. By protecting water quality and habitat, these programs are helping to provide the healthy ecosystems needed for otters, fish and other wildlife to thrive. River Otters are frequently observed in Metro region waterways.


Oregon Zoo Finds Homes for Orphaned Cougar Cubs

1 cougar

A trio of Cougar cubs quietly moved in behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo’s veterinary medical center. The three cubs were found orphaned in southwest Oregon in late October and stayed at the zoo temporarily while they awaited flights out of town to new, permanent homes in New York and Kansas. 

Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman described the seven week-old Cougar siblings, all female, as “incredibly cute, but definitely not cuddly.”

“They are tiny and feisty,” Schireman said. “They’re only 8 pounds [2.26 kg] right now— about the size of small house cats— but with feet the size of hockey pucks. They still have blue eyes and fuzzy spotted coats, which they will eventually grow out of.” 

Two of the cubs arrived October 29, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) found and delivered the third a couple of days later.

2 cougar

3 cougar

4 cougarPhoto credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo

“They’re nervous of course,” Schireman said. “But they’re starting to calm down. When we brought the third cub in, the first two were huddled in back of their crate, growling. Within 20 minutes, the third cub slinked out of her crate and joined her sisters, and then they all settled down together.”

Once they learned of the orphaned cubs, ODFW officials quickly contacted Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) species coordinator for Cougars.

“I’m usually the first person wildlife departments call when orphaned cubs are found,” Schireman said. “Without a mother, young Cougars lack the skills and resources they need to survive on their own in the wild.”

Two of the cubs will be moving to the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas, which recently opened a $1 million Cat Canyon habitat housing Bobcats, Jaguars and Cougars — including a 12 year-old male named Payton, who will be housed in an adjacent area, separate from the young pair.

The third cub will go to the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, joining Ninja, a 2 year-old male placed there by Schireman in 2011. Ninja’s name was suggested by a New York kindergarten class “because he jumps like a ninja.”

“He’s been waiting for a buddy to get pouncy with,” Schireman said. “Both zoos have a history of excellent care for Cougars, and they have spaces all ready for these cubs.”

As an AZA species coordinator, Schireman has found homes for close to 85 Cougar cubs in zoos around the country. Most of the Cougars currently living in U.S. zoos are orphans placed by Schireman. In 2011, the National Association of Zoo Keepers recognized Schireman with a Certificate of Merit in Conservation for “outstanding work developing an orphaned animal placement program that gives assistance to state wildlife agencies and zoological institutions in placing orphaned pumas."

Cougars — also known as Mountain Lions, Pumas and, in Florida, Panthers — live mostly in the western United States and Canada. They weigh from 75 to 150 pounds (34 to 68 kg) and have a carnivorous diet both in the wild and at the zoo. Females are either pregnant or raising cubs for the majority of their lives. After three months of gestation, two to three cubs are usually born in a litter and live with their mother for up to two years. With the exception of the Florida panthers, Cougars are not listed as Endangered, but they do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.


UPDATE! Help Name Oregon Zoo's Lion Cubs

1 lion

Oregon Zoo's lions cubs are growing up strong. The three females are now one month old, healthy and playful. The littlest cub, who had some health issues and received some supplemental bottle-feeding, is still the smallest of the trio, but she is doing much better.

See our original story about the cubs here.
 
Want to vote for your favorite potential names? The lions' keepers have picked out their favorites, and want to know yours. 

2 lion

Lion

3 lion
Photo credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo

See more photos after the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE! Help Name Oregon Zoo's Lion Cubs " »