Tiger Sisters Raise Awareness for Endangered Species

Tiger cubs jan 23 2017

Remarkably, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s ten-year-old Amur Tiger, Changbai, gave birth to four cubs on November 25.

However, only two survived. When keepers observed Changbai showing little interest in caring for the two surviving females, the cubs were removed and taken into the care of the keepers.

Zoo staff members were aware of the Changbai’s pregnancy through fecal hormone testing, and had been keeping a 24-hour watch on the expectant mom. A female tiger at the age of ten has only a twenty percent change of a successful pregnancy, so good husbandry and a quick response from the animal care team makes a difference. When Zoo staff saw that the first-born kitten unresponsive, and that Changbai was not interested in grooming or nursing the remaining kittens, a decision was made to remove them to begin feeding. A second kitten died later that first night.

Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff have since been providing around the clock care and supervision for the remaining cubs, named Reka and Zeya. The two kittens’ survival is an important step forward in maintaining the genetic diversity of Amur Tigers worldwide, an endangered species that is rapidly disappearing from the wild.

Tiger Cub Reka

Tiger cub by olivia grahamPhoto Credits: Beardsley Zoo (Images 1,2,4)/ Olivia Graham (Image 3)

Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), also known as Siberian Tigers, are very rare. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) statistics, today’s Tigers are thought to occupy less than seven percent of their original range: Korea, north-eastern China, Russian Far East, and eastern Mongolia. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, and loss of prey, four of nine subspecies have disappeared from the wild just in the past hundred years. The future of the Amur Tiger has been a major concern of the world’s zoos for many years.

All Tigers now have protected status in the wild, but that doesn’t guarantee their safety. A breeding program recommendation comes from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in accredited zoos. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is home to the parents: male, Petya, and female, Changbai, who joined the Zoo family last winter. Managed by the SSP, inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity in the hope that successful breeding will take place.

The Zoo recently announced that a webcam was installed in the nursery of Reka and Zeya, and it is now streaming images in real time, all thanks to Zoo sponsor, Blue Buffalo. Viewers can enjoy watching the cubs live from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The cubcam is set up in the nursery in the Zoo’s on-site Animal Health Care Center, where the two sisters have been cared for since their birth. To view the cubs, visit the Zoo website at: www.beardsleyzoo.org/tiger-cam/ .

The Zoo recently launched a fundraising campaign through The Impact Vine to raise funds for the planning and design of a renovated Tiger habitat, raising more than $5,000 in a record six days. Donations are still being accepted for enlargement and enhancements to the habitat, which can be made through a link on the cubcam page. There has been intense interest in the cubs, which has helped to raise awareness about endangered species around the world.

Tiger cubs with raised paw


Baby Colobus Joins Saint Louis Zoo Troop

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A male Black-and-white Colobus Monkey was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on December 29. Zookeepers will name the baby at a later date, but visitors can see the new family at the Primate House during regular Zoo hours.

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Colobus baby 2018_4_Credit Robin Winkelman Saint Louis Zoo_web2Photo Credits: Saint Louis Zoo & Ethan Riepl (Images 1-3) / Robin Winkelman (Image 4)

Colobus infants are born with all white hair and a pink face. In contrast, adults are primarily black, with white hair encircling their faces and half of their tails. Adults have a distinctive mantle of long white hair extending from their shoulders around the edge of their backs. An infant’s hair coat will change gradually until they reach adult coloration at about 6 months.

Colobus live in multi-female families and take turns caring for each other’s newborns, which is known as ‘allomothering’. Eighteen-year-old, Cecelia, is the dominant female and an experienced mother who is taking great care of the newborn, as well as her one-year-old daughter, Willow. Also in the family, or troop, are brothers Ziggy (age 2) and Simon (3), and their half-sister, Binti (4). Eleven-year-old father Kima can be seen watching stoically over his family and interacting with the youngsters.

The baby will stay with mom for nursing and sleeping. But at other times throughout the day, it’s will be common to see older sister, Binti, take the baby while mom eats or interacts with other members of the family, according to zookeepers. This is a skill necessary for female youngsters to learn so they become successful mothers in the future.

“The new baby is doing really well and becoming very interested in everything happening around him,” says Brooke Johnson, Saint Louis Zoo primate keeper and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutional representative for the Black-and-white Colobus Monkey. “Brother and sister, Binti and Simon, are doing a great job taking care of and looking after their new sibling; and one-year old Willow is adjusting very well to sharing her mom with her baby brother."

The Abyssinian Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza), also known as the Mantled Guereza, the Guereza, or the Eastern Black-and-white Colobus is a Black-and-white Colobus (a type of Old World monkey).

Black-and-white Colobuses (or colobi) are monkeys of the genus Colobus and are native to Africa. They are closely related to the Brown Colobus Monkeys of genus Piliocolobus.

The new birth at the Saint Louis Zoo is part of the AZA Colobus Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in North American zoos.


Feathertail Gliders Fill Their Nests at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo is celebrating the breeding success of more than twenty Feathertail Gliders, one of the smallest mammals in the world.

Twelve different female adult Feathertail Glider’s fell pregnant at a similar time with the joeys, and the mothers now communally care for one another’s young.

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4_IMG_5183_CC_Hi_ResPhoto Credits: Taronga Zoo

The emergence of the joeys from their mother’s pouch typically occurs around 63 days, when the pouch usually gets so large that mom’s feet cannot touch the ground.

Keepers at Taronga Zoo can’t be sure exactly how many joeys have been born, as the speedy little Gliders race around their exhibit gliding between branches, however they estimate to have spotted approximately twenty new offspring.

“The remarkable breeding success means the tiny Gliders will become important ambassadors for their species,” said Australian Fauna Keeper, Rob Dockerill.

“We were the first Zoo to ever breed these tiny marsupials, so it’s always exciting when such a large group like this is born,” added Keeper Rob. “When they’re born, they’re only half the size of a grain of rice. The adults only weigh 13 grams and are about 7cm long.”

“We started breeding the Gliders in 1988, and in only the past decade, we’ve seen up to 200 joeys emerge,” he said.

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Tiny New “Dear” Debuts at Chester Zoo

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A rare, tiny Philippine Spotted Deer now makes her home at Chester Zoo. The fawn was born December 15 to five-year-old mum, Tala, and six-year-old dad, Bulan. The new little “dear” was led out for her first public appearance by the proud parents.

The zoo’s new arrival is the latest to be born to an acclaimed conservation breeding programme, set up at the request of the Philippine government, which is working to ensure a healthy and genetically viable back-up population of the animals in Europe.

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4_Adorable rare Philippine spotted deer makes Chester Zoo debut (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The species is currently listed as “endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list, and conservation experts fear that fewer than 2,500 now remain in the wild. They have already become extinct on several islands in the Philippines, largely due to intensive, illegal hunting and huge deforestation.

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Meet Milwaukee's Newest Penguin Chick

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Meet the new Gentoo Penguin at Milwaukee County Zoo! The chick hatched on December 18 to parents Oscar and Fiona.

The chick still has its soft, fluffy down feathers, which provide warmth but are not suited for swimming. Only when the chick molts into its waterproof plumage, usually around one or two months of age, will it begin learning to swim.

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Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Gentoo Penguin parents take turns feeding and caring for their chicks. Both Oscar and Fiona have reared chicks before. The gender of the new chick is not yet known, and will be determined by a blood test. It’s not possible to tell males from females by sight alone.

Penguin chicks at the zoo must learn to take fish from zoo keepers, and this training usually occurs after they have been weaned from their parents and begin to molt. It’s during the molt that the chick’s “baby fuzz” is replaced by sleek, waterproof feathers.

Once the chick has its shiny new feathers, it will be gradually introduced to the exhibit pool and to the other birds in the habitat.

Gentoo Penguins are native to Antarctica. They stand two to three feet tall as adults, making them the third-largest Penguin species, after Emperor and King Penguins. Gentoos live in colonies of several hundred birds along the Antarctic Coast and surrounding islands. These Penguins may dive as many as 500 times per day in search of fish, krill, and squid to eat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Gentoo Penguin as a “Species of Least Concern,” though some individual populations have declined rapidly in recent years.

 


Peek at a 2-day-old Baby Sloth

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Denver Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, who was born on January 28 to Charlotte Greenie, the zoo’s 21-year-old female Sloth, and her 27-year-old mate, Elliot. Charlotte and the baby, whose name has not yet been chosen or gender identified, are both healthy and thriving and made their public debut on February 1.

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Sloth_Baby_Day2Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

Throughout her 10-month pregnancy, Charlotte, who came to Denver Zoo from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2015, and her baby were closely monitored by zoo experts with regular ultrasounds, checkups and weigh-ins to ensure they were healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. Keepers even devised an innovative method to weigh Charlotte by training her to come to a specific branch connected to a scale. The baby clung to Charlotte immediately after birth and will continue to cling to her almost exclusively for at least six months.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths, which are also known as the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth or Southern Two-toed Sloth, are found in the rainforests of South America, primarily in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. They are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping.  They become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise.

See more photos below.

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Peoria Zoo Welcomes Female Giraffe Calf

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On January 7, the Peoria Zoo welcomed their newest Giraffe calf. Mom, Vivian, gave birth to a 5 foot 10 inch, 122 pound baby girl!

The Zoo endeavored to carefully document this latest Giraffe birth. Their goal was to not only celebrate the incredible birth, but to continue to improve husbandry techniques and share their birthing experience with other zoos around the world.

A camera was installed in Vivian's maternity holding stall to monitor and record the birth. Staff had been monitoring the camera, 24/7, for months in preparation of the birth. When the big moment finally came, the entire process was captured on video.

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4_Peoria Zoo Giraffe Calf 9 Jan 2018Photo Credits: Peoria Zoo

Because Giraffes are threatened in their native habitat, every birth is important. The process gives zoologists, conservationists, and researchers the opportunity to study the species and their offspring, as well as educate and inspire zoo visitors.

In conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), Peoria Zoo participates in cooperative breeding programs dedicated to building healthy, thriving Giraffe populations, with an emphasis on maintaining genetic diversity. Information gained through SSP husbandry and reproduction programs is used to promote meaningful initiatives meant to foster growth in wild giraffe populations.

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First Female Okapi Calf for L.A. Zoo

Female Okapi Calf - Photo By Jamie Pham

The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce the birth of its first-ever female Okapi calf.

The calf was born on November 10, 2017 and is the second offspring for 14-year-old mother, Opey, and the first for three-year-old father, Jackson. The couple was paired together as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) program with the goal of increasing the Okapi population, which is rapidly declining in the wild. The yet-to-be-named calf spent the first couple of months, behind the scenes, bonding with mother and familiarizing herself with her new home and the animal care staff.

"I am thrilled to welcome this new Angeleno into the world, and congratulate the staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, and her mom, Opey, on the birth of this Okapi calf," said District 4 Councilmember David Ryu. "This rare and beautiful animal is a testament to the Los Angeles Zoo’s incredible work caring for and fostering endangered animals."

Okapi Mom & Calf - Photo By Tad MotoyamaPhoto Credits: Jamie Pham (Image 1) / Tad Motoyama (2)

The Los Angeles Zoo contributes funds to The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP), a conservation group initiated in 1987 with the objective of eliciting support for the conservation of wild Okapi from individuals, foundations, and zoological institutions managing Okapi around the world. The Okapi is an important flagship species for the rainforest habitat that is rapidly vanishing due to expansion of human settlement, deforestation, and forest degradation. Over the last decade, the wild Okapi population has dropped and there are estimated to be between 10,000 and 50,000 left in the wild. There are currently close to 100 Okapi in U.S. AZA-accredited facilities.

“There was a time not so long ago when having Okapis in a Zoo was extraordinarily rare,” said Josh Sisk, Curator of Mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. “But, due to Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs being so proactive and being able to breed these animals in Zoos, the captive population is doing extremely well. This is just one example of how important zoos are for helping sustain such an endangered species. By guests being able to see an Okapi in a Zoo, it starts a conversation about how we can save this species and their habitat in the wild.”

Native to central Africa, the Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), also known as the “forest giraffe”, this reclusive species is rarely seen in the wild and was discovered by Europeans in 1901. Because of their naturally shy nature and inclination to live deep in the dense forest, researchers and people passing through the area rarely spot an Okapi in its native habitat. Observing this beautiful animal in a Zoological setting is most likely a person’s only opportunity to get up close to an Okapi in their lifetime.

While some guests may confuse this shy, solitary animal with a zebra due to the brilliant black and white striped patterns on its front and hind legs; it is actually the closest living relative to the giraffe. The markings act as a kind of “follow me” sign so that offspring can stay close to their mothers in the dark central African forests they inhabit. The thick coat that covers most of the Okapi’s body is velvety and very oily. The adult has a 14-18 inch long, prehensile tongue, stands at over six feet tall, and weighs between 400-700 pounds.

Guests can now view the female calf and her mother out in their habitat daily, weather permitting. The female calf brings the Zoo’s Okapi group to four, including mother Opey, father Jackson, and a four-year-old male Okapi born in August 2013 named Berani. Berani was the first calf ever born at the L.A. Zoo since the species was added to the Zoo’s collection in 2005.


Franklin Park Zoo's 'Baby New Year' Needs a Name

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Franklin Park Zoo’s new Baird’s Tapir made her exhibit debut last week, and now the sweet calf needs a name!

Zoo New England is running a naming contest via CrowdRise, with donations supporting Global Wildlife Conservation’s Nicaragua Tapir Project. With a $5 minimum donation, members of the public can vote for their favorite name for the calf, now through January 31. Follow this link to vote: https://www.crowdrise.com/babytapir

The female calf was born on January 1 to 28-year-old dad, Milton, and 13-year-old mom, Abby. This is the fourth offspring for both parents.

ZooBorns featured news of the birth in a January 8 post: “New Year, New Tapir at Franklin Park Zoo”.

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4_Tapir Jan 2018 (9)Photo Credits: Franklin Park Zoo / Zoo New England

Zoo New England participates in the Baird’s Tapir Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Because the AZA managed Tapir population is so small – 29 males and 20 females (including the new calf) – every successful birth and survival helps to secure the captive population. The new female calf at Franklin Park Zoo helps to balance out this small, but male skewed population.

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Red Panda Cub Helps Shed Light on Rescue Efforts

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Perth Zoo’s new Nepalese Red Panda cub was given its first health check, just as an Australian conservation organization helped rescue six Red Pandas being trafficked across international borders.

Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland said, “We were very excited to welcome a new cub to the Zoo family, however it coincides with the rescue of six Red Pandas from wildlife traffickers, emphasizing just how perilous it is out there for these animals.”

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AlexAsbury_RedPandaDSC_1200_0361Photo Credits: Alex Asbury/ Perth Zoo 

The rescued Red Pandas, destined for the illegal wildlife trade, were taken into the care of one of Perth Zoo’s conservation partners, Free the Bears, after being seized on the border of Laos and China. Tragically, only three of the six survived their first night due to severe stress and potential exposure to disease.

“The recent rescue in Laos highlights how vital coordinated zoo breeding programs are for the survival of this endangered species. It ensures we have an insurance population in place to fight extinction.”

Including the new cub, Perth Zoo has successfully reared 19 Nepalese Red Pandas since 1997.

The two-month old Red Panda was born to 9-year-old mother, Anusha, who was also born at Perth Zoo, and 6-year-old father, Makula, who was born in Canberra.

"Today our veterinarians gave our furry new arrival a quick health check of its body condition, eyes, teeth, ears and weight,” Marty said. “The Perth Zoo team are also consulting with Free the Bears, providing advice on appropriate diets and how to reduce heat stress for the rescued pandas.”

Nepalese Red Pandas are found across the Himalayan Mountain and foothills of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Deforestation and illegal poaching continue to be significant threats to remaining populations. Less than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild.

Apart from coordinated breeding programs, Perth Zoo is committed to saving wildlife and has several conservation partners, including Free the Bears, and an ongoing partnership with TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade monitoring network. Jointly we help fund a Wildlife Crime Analyst position to fight wildlife trafficking and poaching.

Perth Zoo’s Red Panda cub is expected to emerge from the nest box in April.

Those wanting to help Red Pandas are encouraged to donate to Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action program, which supports organizations including Free the Bears and TRAFFIC, helping protect animals beyond the Zoo’s borders.

More information can be found at: https://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/get-involved/donation-conservation