Downtown Aquarium-Denver Welcomes Baby Alejandro

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The Downtown Aquarium at Denver welcomed a new Three Banded Armadillo on July 15.

The new guy, who has been named Alejandro, was born to first-time parents Lady Gaga and Howard Caruso. At his first weigh-in, Alejandro was 62g (2.2 oz.) and 1.5 inches long.

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4_20229122_10155541341000148_6662293227210638679_nPhoto Credits: Downtown Aquarium-Denver

The Three Banded Armadillo can roll completely into a ball to protect itself from predators and thorny vegetation. The yellow-brown sides of the carapace extend beyond the skin, giving the armadillo a space to retreat its head, legs, and tail when curling up. The armor plating that covers the body is divided into two domed shells, with three armored bands in between, joined by flexible bands of skin.

Three Banded Armadillos reach a length of about 9 to 13 inches and weigh a max of about 3 to 3.5lbs.

They are found throughout the central region of South America: Southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina. They prefer mountain, tropical and temperate grasslands, as well as rainforest, tropical dry forest and swamps.

In the wild, they eat primarily insects, which includes: beetle larvae, ants, and termites. They are also known to consume plants, and other small animals.

In zoos, they are primarily fed cooked sweet potatoes, bananas, wax worms, crickets, and mealworms.

The gestation period is about 120 days. The female will typically give birth to a single young (pup). Pups are about the size of a golf ball at birth. The young will nurse for 10 weeks.

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Lulu the Giraffe Calf Frolics on Her First Day Out

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Last week marked a big milestone for Lulu, Woodland Park Zoo’s baby girl Giraffe. For the first time, the 1½-month-old Giraffe ventured onto the vast African Savanna exhibit with mom Tufani and the herd.

“Lulu’s adventurous spirit and self-confidence were on full display during her first introduction on the savanna. She crossed out to the savanna cautiously, but once she was out there, she explored, galloped, and met our Gazelle, Guinea Fowl and a few Ducks,” said Katie Ahl, a lead keeper at the zoo. “Lulu is very independent but you could tell mom and Lulu were keeping an eye on each other and it was good to see them check in with each other throughout the introduction.”

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2017_08_01 Lula savanna intro 900-12Photo Credits: Dennis Dow/WPZ (2); Jeremy Dwyer-Lundgren/WPZ (1,3,4,5,6,7); J Loughlin/WPZ (8)

Lulu’s aunt Olivia and dad Dave also joined Lulu on the savanna, their first time since Lulu’s birth.

Like human parents who “baby-proof” their homes, keepers prepared the Giraffe exhibit for Lulu’s arrival. “Giraffe-style baby bumpers were added to the exhibit in the form of branches and logs laid along steeper slopes. We also closed up any gaps where she could potentially wedge herself. The baby bumpers and the watchful eyes of her mom and aunt are a great safety net as she explores her new surroundings,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator.

Lulu was born June 20 to first-time parents Tufani, age 9, and 4-year-old Dave. Born  5’9” tall, Lulu currently stands at 7’6” and weighs 267 pounds. Her birth marked the second viable birth of a Giraffe at the zoo since 2013 and the third in 20 years.

Dave and Tufani were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across North American accredited zoos that seeks to ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Giraffes.

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New surveys estimate a 36-40% percent decline in Africa’s Giraffe population in the last 30 years. Numbers fell from about 160,000 Giraffes in 1985 to just over 97,000 in 2015. Of the nine Giraffe subspecies, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable.

See more photos of Lulu below.

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Warthog Piglets Debut at Zoo Miami

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Four Warthog piglets, born June 20 at Zoo Miami, made their exhibit debut this week alongside their parents. At six weeks old, the piglets (one female and three males) explored the exhibit, rooted around in the soil, and tasted fresh vegetation under the watchful eyes of mom and dad.

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Three-year-old mother Erica came from the Indianapolis Zoo and three-year-old father Beebop is from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This litter of piglets is the first for both parents and the second successful birth of Warthogs at Zoo Miami.

Warthogs are found through much of sub-Saharan Africa and skyrocketed to fame following the release of “The Lion King,” which starred a lovable Warthog named Pumba.

Warthogs use their large, powerful tusks to dig for roots, tubers, and grubs to eat. Males develop larger tusks than females and use their tusks in combat to establish dominance. The tusks also offer protection: Warthogs enter their burrows rear-first, allowing the tusks to face outward at the burrow entrance to deter predators.

The large facial bumps or “warts” are not warts at all. Instead, they are fatty growths which protect Warthogs’ faces from the tusks of other Warthogs during skirmishes.

Warthogs are fairly numerous across their range. They are not currently threatened, but some localized extinctions have been recorded due to overhunting or drought.

See more photos of the piglets below!

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Zoo Provides Foster Mom for Amur Tiger Cub

1_3 Sumatran cubs with Amur tiger cub Zoya on scale_ Zoya 2nd from Left 7.21.17 photo by Gretchen Cole

On July 21, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden received a female Amur Tiger cub. The cub’s journey to Oklahoma is the result of the combined efforts of two amazing zoo teams and tiger conservation experts.

Born at the Philadelphia Zoo on July 10, the cub is named Zoya, meaning “life” in Russian. Zoya is the first offspring of 10-year-old mother, Koosaka, and 9-year-old father, Grom. Koosaka gave birth to five cubs, a large litter for tigers. Unfortunately, two were stillborn, a third was accidentally injured by Koosaka and did not survive, and a fourth developed a critical gastro intestinal issue that proved fatal, even with medical intervention by Philadelphia Zoo veterinarians.

The surviving cub, Zoya, was not being nurtured by Koosaka. According to experts, a lack of maternal behavior is not uncommon among first-time mother tigers who sometimes neglect or reject cubs. As a result, Philadelphia Zoo’s animal care team bottle-fed and continuously cared for the cub who continued to do well, gaining weight from about 2 pounds at birth to almost 4 pounds at 10 days old.

However, the Philadelphia Zoo’s animal care team was concerned about hand-rearing a single cub without the social opportunities that would be provided with either a mother or littermates.

“With this single cub, we knew that the best scenario for her was to find an opportunity for her to grow up with other tigers,” said Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer.

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4_Philadelphia Zoo Tiger Team feeding Amur cub Zoya at OKC ZooPhoto Credits: Gretchen Cole (Image 1); Philadelphia Zoo (2-4); Oklahoma City Zoo (5); Gillian Lang (6,7)

In discussions with colleagues involved in the Tiger Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Oklahoma City Zoo offered to attempt to integrate the Philadelphia Zoo cub with their new litter of Sumatran Tigers.

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s litter of three Sumatran Tiger cubs was born just one day before the Philadelphia Zoo’s Amur Tiger litter. Oklahoma’s six-year-old Sumatran Tiger mom, Lola, has been taking very good care of her own cubs.

After consultation between Philadelphia Zoo, the Oklahoma City Zoo, and other AZA colleagues, the teams decided the best option for the cub to grow up in a good social environment was for the Oklahoma City Zoo to attempt to cross-foster Zoya with Lola and her cubs.

Cross-fostering is the process of removing offspring from one mother and transferring them to another lactating mother with offspring of the same approximate age. “Cross-fostering in tigers is unusual, but with less than 500 Amur Tigers in the wild, every cub is important for the species’ survival,” said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, curator of conservation and science, Oklahoma City Zoo.

In 2011, the Oklahoma City Zoo successfully cross-fostered a litter of endangered African Painted Dogs with a Golden Retriever who had recently given birth. However, cross-fostering among tigers is rare, with only a few cases having ever been attempted and documented.

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Belfast Zoo Celebrates Five Kits in Red Squirrel Nook

1_(4)  Photo credit - Jon Lees    Belfast Zoo born red squirrels have been released to protected areas as a ground-breaking conservation effort.

Belfast Zoo is celebrating another conservation success with the birth of five Red Squirrel kittens.

The kits were spotted outside of their drey (squirrel nest) for the first time at the start of July and can now be spotted in the zoo’s Red Squirrel Nook.

2_(6) The kittens stay in the drey (nest) for the first few months and are starting to explore their surroundings.

3_(1)  Photo credit - Jon Lees    Belfast Zoo is celebrating another conservation success with the birth of five red squirrel kittens.

4_(2)  Photo credit - Jon Lees     The kits were spotted outside of their drey for the first time at the start of July and can now be spotted in red squirrel nookPhoto Credits: Images 1,3-5: Jon Lees (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) / Images 2,6: Belfast Zoo

The Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a small, tree-living rodent, which is believed to have been present in Ireland for more than 10,000 years. Many people are familiar with this iconic native species, its bright red coat, creamy white belly, bushy tail and distinctive ear tufts. However, the Red Squirrel in Northern Ireland is in serious trouble. The population has dramatically declined due to the loss of their forest habitats in addition to competition from the invasive Grey Squirrel that carries a lethal pox virus.

Zoo Manager, Alyn Cairns, explained, “Here at Belfast Zoo, we care for some of the most endangered species from around the globe but the problem is closer to home than most people think! Animals on our own doorstep are facing increasing threats and populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. Recognizing this alarming trend, the Belfast Zoo team formed a native species group in 2004 to work on a number of native species projects. In 2012, following the culmination of many years of work and consultation with local wildlife organizations, we opened Red Squirrel Nook.”

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Golden Jackal Pups Emerge at Burgers’ Zoo

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Burgers’ Zoo is now home to five Golden Jackal pups!

Until recently, they have been safely tucked away with mum in their underground den, which makes it difficult for keepers to pinpoint their exact birthdate. They are now spending more time above ground and keepers estimate them to be about three-months-old.

The little Jackals are becoming quite popular with visitors to Burgers’ Zoo, and staff describes one of the pups as being especially curious and “cheeky”.

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3_LI9A7724Photo Credits: Burgers' Zoo

The Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) is a canid native to southeastern and central Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East and South Asia.

A social species, its basic social unit consists of a breeding pair and any offspring it might have. The Golden Jackal is omnivorous and an opportunistic forager; its diet varies according to season and habitat.

Although similar to a small Grey Wolf, the Golden Jackal is distinguished by a more slender build, a narrower, more pointed muzzle, a shorter tail, and a lighter tread. Its winter fur is also more reddish in color.

Golden jackals are monogamous. The number of pups in a single litter varies geographically. Pups are born with shut eyelids and soft fur, which ranges in color from light grey to dark brown. At the age of one month, their fur is shed and replaced with a new reddish colored pelt with black speckles. Their eyes typically open after 8–11 days, with the ears standing erect after 10–13 days. The length of the nursing period varies with region. The pups begin to eat solid food at the age of 15–20 days. Once the lactation period concludes, the female drives off the pups.

Golden Jackals feature prominently in Middle-Eastern and Asian folklore and literature, where they are often described as tricksters (very much like the fox and coyote of European and North American tales).

The Golden Jackal is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, due to its widespread range in areas with optimum food and shelter. According to the IUCN: “The Golden Jackal is a widespread species. It is fairly common throughout its range with high densities observed in areas with abundant food and cover. A minimum population estimate of over 80,000 is estimated for the Indian sub-continent. Population estimates for Africa are not available. Due to their tolerance of dry habitats and their omnivorous diet, the golden jackal can live in a wide variety of habitats. They are opportunistic and will venture into human habitation at night to feed on garbage.”


UPDATE: Toronto Zoo’s Clouded Leopard Cubs Growing

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The Clouded Leopard cubs at Toronto Zoo are growing! ZooBorns introduced readers to the pair when they were almost one-month-old: “Clouded Leopard Cubs a First for Toronto Zoo”.

The two-month old cubs were born May 13 to mom, Pavarti, and dad, Mingma. Toronto Zoo staff recently reported that the siblings are progressing and growing stronger. The cubs are now very close in size and currently weigh about 1.78 kgs (3.9 lbs) and 1.81 kgs (4 lbs), respectively.

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4_20247650_1391123080924133_231200329107239544_oPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo 

Pavarti is a first time mom. Immediately after the cubs’ birth, she showed signs of having all the necessary maternal instincts. However, as the first day progressed, staff observed that she started spending less time with her cubs and was not seen nursing or mothering them. Toronto Zoo’s Wildlife Care staff continued to monitor the new family by camera, and a veterinarian checked the cubs the day after they were born. The veterinarian provided the cubs with supplemental fluids to help them through the critical first 24 hours. Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the cubs, hoping for a change in the new mom’s behavior toward her cubs. Finally, a decision was made to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre to provide them with the neonatal care they required and give them the best chance at survival.

Both cubs are currently fed a diet that includes formula (consisting of Esbilac and chicken baby food) and feline meat offered to them separately. As they continue to grow in size, they are beginning to transition from being fed from a bottle to eating out of a dish. Right now the cubs are fed four times a day by Wildlife Health and Wildlife Care staff and have been living in the new Wildlife Health Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

This is an exciting time for Wildlife Health Care staff and Wildlife Care staff as they begin to see the Clouded Leopard cub’s different personalities. One cub is slightly darker in color, and is more energetic and ‘sassy’, always taking the bottle very quickly when offered. The second cub is slightly lighter in color, and although also energetic, is not as bold as its sibling.

Both cubs are said to vocalize in a bird-like ‘chirping’ sound and love to leap, run, explore and climb anything and everything they can find. Wrestling with each other is another favorite thing for these siblings to do. Both Clouded Leopard cubs have very long tails, and their teeth are getting to be quite big in size, which is bringing out their teething behaviors.

The Toronto Zoo is a participant in the Clouded Leopard conservation breeding program through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. The Clouded Leopard has been listed as “Vulnerable”, on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, since 2008.

*Please note: the Clouded Leopard cubs are not visible to the public at this time.

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Painted Dog Pups Get Names - and Their First Checkup

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Eleven endangered African Painted Dog puppies were given their first hands-on health check following their birth in April at Perth Zoo. The pups also received their names!

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The puppies were each individually medically assessed, weighed, vaccinated just like domestic Dogs and their sex determined by two teams of veterinarians who worked efficiently to reunite them with their protective parents quickly.

Senior Zoo Keeper Becky Thomasson said, “Since their birth in April, we’ve taken a hands-off approach to allow the pack to develop as they would naturally in the wild, but it is important to give each of the new arrivals a veterinary examination.”

Thomasson said the exam revealed that the pack includes seven females and four males. “Importantly they were all in excellent shape, with one tipping the scales over six kilograms [13 pounds], a very healthy weight for a 12 week old African Painted Dog pup!”

The zoo held a naming contest for the pups, and chose these names suggested by fans: Aisha, Baraka, Chikondi, Kamali, Muhumhi, Onika, Skabenga, Tokwe, Tamba, Umfazi, and Zuberi

The eleven puppies were the result of matchmaking a Perth Zoo-born adult female with a male from Altina Wildlife Park, introducing a new bloodline into the regional breeding program.

“Mother Kisuri and father Hasani have been perfect first time parents. They let the pups eat first, but also discipline them, setting the boundaries when required.”

“With less than 6,000 of these Dogs in the wild, there is a real risk of this species going extinct in our lifetime,” said Thomasson. “Zoo breeding programs have never been more important and the birth of these eleven puppies helps put their species a step further away from extinction.”

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Update: Cheetah Quints Growing Up at Prague Zoo

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Five Cheetah cubs born May 15 at Prague Zoo are growing up fast!  We introduced you to these fluffy quintuplets on ZooBorns back in June and the cubs are now thriving under the care of their six-year-old mother, Savannah.

The cubs are still behind the scenes at the zoo, but should move into their exhibit yard later this summer.

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20294273_1423188637765062_9021034933225721409_n (1)Photo Credit: Prague Zoo

Cheetah cubs remain with their mother for one to one-and-a-half years, and they are weaned at three to six months. The cubs spend a lot of time napping and playing. Play helps the cubs develop agility, as well as hone their chase and attack behaviors.  

Every cub born under human care is important to the future of Cheetahs as a species. They are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Fewer than 7,000 Cheetahs remain in eastern and southern Africa. Threats include conflict with humans, shrinking wild areas as farms and cities expand, and illegal trafficking in body parts. 

As a population, Cheetahs have very low genetic diversity, a possible cause of their low reproductive rates. Current conservation measures include cooperative programs across all countries in which wild Cheetahs are found.

 


Third Gorilla Birth for BIOPARC Valencia

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On the evening of July 21, BIOPARC Valencia welcomed their third Western Lowland Gorilla birth!

The Spanish zoo is calling the infant by the name Ali and, although keepers haven’t confirmed, they suspect it is a female.

The new baby is an important member of the zoo’s Gorilla troop. Experienced mom, Nalani, and father, Mambie, are doing an excellent job caring for their new offspring. Aside from the proud parents and their new baby, the troop at BIOPARC Valencia includes: Mambie’s firstborn, Ebo (4-years-old), female Fossey, and Virunga (Nalani and Mambie’s 11-month-old daughter).

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The Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is one of two subspecies of the Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) that lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It is the Gorilla most common to zoos.

The main diet of the Gorilla species is roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark and pulp, which are provided for in the thick forests of central and West Africa. An adult will eat around 18 kg (40 lb) of food per day. Gorillas will climb trees up to 15 meters in height in search of food.

Females do not produce many offspring, due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 or 9. Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny (weighing about four pounds) and able only to cling to their mothers' fur. The infant will ride on mother’s back from the age of four months through the first two or three years of life. Infants can be dependent on the mother for up to five years.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Population in the wild is faced with a number of factors that threaten it to extinction. Such factors include: deforestation, farming, grazing, and the expanding human settlements that cause forest loss. There is also said to be a correlation between human intervention in the wild and the destruction of habitats with an increase in bush meat hunting.