Meet Pedro & Perdy the Penguins

Two penguin Chicks 2 - Paradise Park

Two rare Humboldt Penguin chicks named Pedro and Perdy are being reared by keepers at Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary.

Penguins typically lay two eggs a few days apart. When the first chick hatches, it receives all of mom and dad’s attention. Penguin chicks are very demanding and squeal loudly as they appeal for food, which is regurgitated by the parents.  By the time the second chick hatches a few days after its sibling, the older chick, which may have nearly doubled in size by now, continues to get all the attention and parents may ignore the younger chick. The younger chicks in penguin nests often do not survive in nature.

Because Humboldt Penguins are rare, keepers took the Pedro and Perdy, who were both second chicks, into their care to ensure the birds’ survival.

Two penguin Chicks - Paradise Park
Two penguin Chicks 4 - Paradise ParkPhoto Credit: Paradise Park
Keeper Bev Tanner explains, “Pedro and Perdy are being hand-reared as often in a nest with two chicks only one is successfully raised by the parents. As this is an endangered species it is very worthwhile for us to take the second chick and rear it to increase our flock.”   

When chicks are in the nest, they have fluffy grey down feathers. They remain in the nest for about three months, at which time they have developed the waterproof plumage needed for swimming. Juveniles are grey and white, developing the distinctive black-and-white adult plumage at one year old. The pattern of dark speckles on the adult’s lower chest is unique to each Penguin and helps to identify each individual.

Humboldt Penguins are native to the western coast of South America, where they fish in the cold Humboldt current for which they are named.  They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Historically, Humboldt Penguins were threatened by extensive mining for their guano (accumulated droppings), which was used for fertilizer. Today, the main threats are habitat loss and competition with invasive species.

See more photos of Pedro and Perdy below.

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‘Mother’s Day’ for Critically Endangered Bongo

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On April 27, Annakiya, an Eastern Bongo, gave birth to a female calf at Franklin Park Zoo.

The morning after her birth, the 42-pound-calf had her well-baby examination, which included a general physical examination and blood work.

Dr. Alex Becket, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian in the department of Animal Health and Conservation Medicine, remarked after the exam, “The calf appears healthy. She is bright, alert and responsive, and is also very strong and active. As with any new birth, we are monitoring the mother and baby closely. Annakiya is an experienced mother and is doing everything a mother bongo should.”

The calf is expected to be on exhibit for short periods of time for Mother’s Day weekend, weather permitting.

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4_bongo baby April 2017 - Credit Zoo New EnglandPhoto Credits: Kayla St. George (Images 1-3) / Zoo New England (Images 4, 5)

The Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is herbivorous and mostly nocturnal. It is among the largest of the African forest antelope species.

Bongos are characterized by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns (both sexes have horns).

Bongos are classified into two subspecies. The Western or Lowland Bongo (T. e. eurycerus) faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN classified it as “Near Threatened” on the conservation status scale.

The Eastern or Mountain Bongo (T. e. isaaci) is found in Kenya. It has a more vibrant coat than the Western Bongo.

The IUCN Antelope Specialist Group has classified the Eastern Bongo as “Critically Endangered”. There are currently more specimens in captivity than in the wild.

Franklin Park Zoo has played a key role in growing the North American captive population through successful breeding. Since 1984, 17 Bongo calves have been born at Franklin Park Zoo.

Zoo New England participates in the Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This latest birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Patrick (age 6) and Annakiya (age 14). This is Annakiya’s third calf, but it is her first with Patrick.

Bongos are the largest, and often considered the most beautiful, forest-dwelling antelope found in the rainforests of equatorial Africa. Shy and elusive, Bongos are known for being almost silent as they move through dense forests.

5_bongo baby April 2017- Credit Zoo New England (2)


Zoo Provides Special Care for Special Little Lemur

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On April 9, a rare Blue-eyed Black Lemur at La Palmyre Zoo gave birth to a tiny female. Due to a low birth weight, the newborn was transferred to the zoo’s nursery.

According to the zoo, there are only about thirty individuals in the Blue-eyed Black Lemur European Endangered Species Programme (EEP); therefore, each birth is of crucial importance.

For the past month, the nursery team at La Palmyre Zoo has been taking care of the small, fragile female, who has been named Ikopa. Keepers feed her milk every two hours, from 8am to 9pm. Since two weeks of age, she has also been given fruits (apple, pear, kiwi) and vegetables (salad, cucumber).

Ikopa’s parents and older brother (born in 2015) have been transferred to an adjacent cage so the family can maintain visual and sound contact between all the individuals. When weaning is completed, Ikopa will be reintroduced to her parents and sibling.

As for the keepers, they are in contact with the baby only for feeding her or when the incubator is to be cleaned (imprinting being the worst enemy of the animals raised at the nursery).

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4_MG_2419Photo Credits: F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre

The Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), also known as the “Sclater's Lemur”, is a species of true lemur. It inhabits primary and secondary sub-tropical moist and dry forests in the northwestern tip of Madagascar.

The species can attain a body length of 39–45 cm, a tail length of 51–65 cm- a total length of 90–100 cm, and a weight of 1.8-1.9 kg. A primate, this lemur has strong hands with palms like a human, which have a rubbery texture to give it a firm grip on branches. Its tail is longer than its body and non-prehensile.

Active during day and night, the Blue-eyed Black Lemur lives in multi-male/multi-female groups of up to a dozen individuals. It feeds mainly on fruits and leaves. Like many other lemur species, females are dominant over males.

In the wild, females give birth to one or two offspring in June or July, after a gestation of 120 to 129 days. The young are weaned after about 5–6 months, and reach maturity at about 2 years of age. They may live between 15–30 years in captivity.

A victim of habitat fragmentation (slash and burn destruction) and poaching, it is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. It is believed that only about 1,000 individuals remain in the wild.

The Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens (AEECL), supported by La Palmyre Zoo since 2002, has been developing a conservation program in the home range of the species in Sahamalaza (northwestern Madagascar), where eco-guards protect the forest from fires and illegal incursions, the area being recognized as a national park since 2007. The AEECL also supports the education of children and the sustainable development of communities.

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Cotswold Wildlife Park First in UK to Breed Rare Lizard

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Cotswold Wildlife Park has become the first zoological collection in the UK to breed the rare Chinese Crocodile Lizard.

The sex of the newborn is currently unknown, and the baby Lizard is currently off-show in the specialist Reptile rearing room. However, visitors to Cotswold can see the adults in their enclosure in the Reptile House. In the future, the newest Lizard will go on to be part of a breeding programme for this rare species.

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3_Chinese Crocodile Lizard baby side view (photo Debbie Ryan)

4_Chinese Crocodile Lizard baby 1 (photo Debbie Ryan)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park (Images: 1,2,5,6) / Debbie Ryan (3,4,8) / Callum O'Flaherty (7) 

The Chinese Crocodile Lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) is semiaquatic and found only in the cool forests of the Hunan, Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces of southern China, and the Quảng Ninh Province in northern Vietnam. Very little is known about this rare species. It was first collected in 1928, and it remains the most recently named Lizard genus.

The species is viviparous, meaning it gives birth to live young. It has a gestation period of approximately nine months and litters consist of between 1-12 young.

In the wild, it frequently spends hours, motionless, perched on rocks or branches above slow-moving streams and ponds.

Due to habit destruction, illegal poaching, capture for the pet trade, and local consumption, population numbers of this Lizard are under serious threat. Unfortunately, this species is still widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Lizard’s ability to remain immobile for hours, occasionally days, led to the belief that it could cure insomnia. In China they are also known as “the sleeping serpent”.

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Meet the First Andean Bear Cub Born in NYC

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An Andean Bear cub, born over the winter at Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Queens Zoo, recently made his public debut. This is the first Andean Bear born in New York City!

The male cub was born over the winter to mother, Nicole, and father, Bouba. Now weighing 25lbs, the yet-to-be-named cub is ready to venture into the zoo’s bear habitat with mom to start exploring.

Exhibit times will vary until the cub becomes fully acclimated to its outdoor exhibit.

Andean Bears are the only bear species native to South America. They are also known as “Spectacled Bears” due to the markings on their faces that sometimes resemble glasses. They have characteristically short faces and are relatively small in comparison to some other bear species. As adults, males weigh between 250-350 pounds, while adult females rarely exceed 200 pounds.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_1638_Andean Bear and Cub_QZ_05 01 17Photo Credits: WCS / Megan Maher (Images 1,5) / Julie Larsen Maher (Images 2-4, 6-8)

The Queens Zoo is breeding Andean Bears as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

The cub’s sire, Bouba (age six), moved to Queens from a zoo in France to breed with Nicole (age four), who born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC and arrived at the Queens Zoo in 2015. This is the first cub born to this pair. There are currently only 42 bears in AZA accredited zoos and only six potentially viable breeding pairs in the SSP population.

Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator, Scott Silver, leads the national breeding program as the SSP coordinator. Silver said, “This is a significant birth for the Queens Zoo and the Andean Bear SSP breeding program. This little guy may be adorable, but more importantly he reminds us of what we stand to lose when a species is in danger of extinction. We are excited to introduce the cub to New York and to share the work WCS and our partners are doing to save Andean Bears and many other species in the wild.”

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Endangered Penguins Hatch at Zoo Vienna

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Since mid-April, Zoo Vienna Tiergarten Schönbrunn has welcomed eleven Northern Rockhopper Penguin chicks!

After about 33 days of incubation, the hatchlings were greeted by caring penguin parents that have since been providing all the food and warmth they need.

The species is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Therefore, conservation efforts in zoos around the world are important for their survival.

"The Northern Rockhopper Penguin breeds on the island group around Tristan da Cunha, in the southern Atlantic, and is strongly endangered. The main causes of its threat are the overfishing and pollution of the seas, as well as climate change," explains Animal Garden Director, Dagmar Schratter.

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3_PA_Felsenpinguin3Photo Credits: Daniel Zupanc

Currently, only 96 Northern Rockhopper Penguins live in European zoos. The largest colony, with 45 adults, can be found in Schönbrunn. The Tiergarten also runs the European Conservation Program (EEP) for this endangered and distinctive penguin. Since 2004, the Tiergarten has delivered 41 Rockhopper Penguins to other zoos.

Schratter continued, "Through our many years of experience in breeding, we would like to help build up colonies in other zoos..."

The Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi) is also known as “Moseley's Rockhopper Penguin”, or “Moseley's Penguin”.

More than 99% of them breed on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Rockhopper Penguins have been considered to consist of two species: Northern and Southern Rockhopper (research published in 2006 demonstrated morphological, vocal, and genetic differences between the two populations).

In the wild, the Northern Rockhopper Penguin feeds on krill and other sea life such as crustaceans, squid, octopus and fish.

The species prefers to breed in colonies in a range of locations from sea level or on cliff sides, to sometimes inland. An interesting difference between the two subspecies is their mating ritual. They both use different songs and head ornaments in their mating signals. The reproductive isolation has led to not only physical difference but also behavioral. Adults feed their chicks lower trophic level prey than they themselves consume.

A study published in 2009 showed that the world population of the Northern Rockhopper had declined by 90% since the 1950s, possibly because of climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing for squid and octopus by humans. Other possible factors in the decline include: disturbance and pollution from ecotourism and fishing, egg harvesting, and predation and competition from sub Antarctic fur seals. Surveys show that the birds are also at risk of infection by goose barnacles. House mice (Mus musculus) have also been introduced into their environment by human sea expeditions, and the mice have proven to be invasive, consuming Northern Rockhopper eggs, as well as hunting their young.


Tiny Tiger Cub Reunited With Mom at Minnesota Zoo

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A newborn endangered Amur Tiger cub has been reunited with her mother thanks to the work of keepers at the Minnesota Zoo.

The female cub was born on April 26 and removed for hand-raising when Sundari, a first-time mom, wasn’t showing the necessary level of care for her baby. Although the tiny cub needed immediate feeding by zoo staff, they did not give up on their goal of keeping mom and baby together. Sundari just needed a little encouragement.

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TigerCub Reunited 1Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo



Keepers repeatedly showed the cub to Sundari through a protective barrier over several days.  When Sundari showed no signs of aggression toward her cub, keepers successfully reunited the pair.

So far, mom and cub appear to be bonding, and the staff closely monitors the cub to make sure she is getting enough milk.  Keepers still provide supplemental feedings to ensure the baby’s health.

Mom and baby will remain behind the scenes while the keeper staff monitors their health. The zoo has set up a special webpage that will soon include a live web cam to view the new Tiger cub.

This is the first offspring for mother, Sundari, who was born at the Minnesota Zoo in June of 2012. Father, 7-year-old Putin has sired two other litters in Denmark, where he lived before coming to the Minnesota Zoo in 2015. Putin was brought to the Minnesota Zoo as a recommendation of the Amur Tiger Global Species Management Plan, which is co-coordinated by Minnesota Zoo staff. He is the most genetically valuable Amur Tiger in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), underscoring the zoo’s groundbreaking efforts to reunite this cub with her mother. Coordinated by Minnesota Zoo staff for more than three decades, the Tiger SSP recommended Sundari and Putin as a breeding pair.

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Frogmouth Chicks Hatch at Paradise Park

Tawny Frogmouth Chicks 2 - Paradise Park CornwallTwo Tawny Frogmouth chicks that hatched in early April are being hand-reared at Paradise Park in the United Kingdom.

“The parents have sadly not been very successful in the past at raising their own chicks. So the decision was made to hand-rear these two to give them the best chance of survival,” explains zoo keeper Sarah-Jayne Cooke. The chicks are weighed regularly and are thriving on a diet of tasty worms.

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Tawny Frogmouth Chick eating worms - Paradise Park Cornwall
Tawny Frogmouth Chick - Paradise Park Cornwall
Tawny Frogmouth Chicks - Paradise Park CornwallPhoto Credit:  Paradise Park

Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are known for their ability to sit nearly undetected in the trees during the day. Their cryptic coloration allows them to blend in against tree trunks, and their habit of sitting immobile with head pointed upward gives the appearance of a broken branch.

Frogmouths are considered one of Australia’s most important pest-controlling birds. They feed at night on spiders, worms, slugs, wasps, ants, and other invertebrates.  

These birds mate for life and typically raise one to three chicks in loose grass-and-stick nest.

At present, Tawny Frogmouths are not threatened with extinction, but human activity is having an impact on the wild population. House cats prey on these birds, and Frogmouths are often struck by cars as they pursue flying insects illuminated by vehicle headlights.  Because Frogmouths tend to remain in the same home area for up to a decade, they become vulnerable when forests are cut for development. 

 


Zoo’s New Lion Cub Bonds With Foster Mom

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Idaho Falls Zoo is thrilled to announce the extraordinary birth of a male African Lion cub! The cub was born February 17 to first-time parents, Kimani and Dahoma.

“Unfortunately, shortly after his birth, the cub had to be removed from his mom to be treated for a medical issue. We are pleased to report that he has completely recovered and is almost ready to be returned to his mother,” states Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Rhonda Aliah.

Because of the advanced age of the parents and the unique genetics of the couple, this adorable little guy is extremely important to the captive African Lion population in North American zoos. Although reintroducing this genetically valuable cub to his parents is essential for his development, the process is not simple or straightforward.

To lessen any risk, the cub will be returned to his mother when he is bigger and more mobile. The AZA and other zoo professionals explored all possible options for the cub. “Everyone agreed that the only option available was to keep the cub at the Idaho Falls Zoo and eventually reintroduce him to his parents,” states Aliah.

When the time comes for the cub to re-join his family, a Lion manager from the Denver Zoo, who has experience with conducting these types of reintroductions and who serves as an advisor to the AZA’s Lion SSP, will be onsite during the reintroduction. The Lion manager will help interpret behaviors and guide zoo staff during what will be a very stressful and potentially dangerous, yet important, time in the cub’s life.

In the meantime, the cub needs to be socialized. Lions are the most social of the big cat species, and sociability is incredibly important for behavioral and psychological reasons. Young cubs rely on other members of their pride to teach them how to be adults. A cub that has been away from his parents is at risk for not being easily accepted back into the pride and could be injured or killed when reintroduced.

So, how do you keep a Lion cub social without being around other Lions? ...meet Justice, another new member of the zoo family.

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20170419_083024_resizedPhoto Credits: Idaho Falls Zoo (Images 1 & 4) / City of Idaho Falls News (Images 2,3,5)

Justice is a not a lion, but a Great Pyrenees with wonderful mothering instincts. Two-year-old Justice is a rescue dog that has had at least one litter of puppies. When rescued, representatives with the Humane Society of the Upper Valley found her alone caring for her puppies, as well as a weak sheep. Her puppies have all been rehomed, and now Justice has a new role: nursemaid to a rambunctious two-month old African Lion cub!

Zoo Curator, Darrell Markum, explains, “An important aspect of animal development, particularly with baby carnivores, is having an adult animal teach ‘animal etiquette.’ This includes not biting other animals hard enough to injure them and not using your claws to climb on your elders. Justice is a very patient teacher.”

Given the unique situation, the use of domestic dogs to raise young carnivores is an accepted practice in modern zoos.

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Oregon Zoo Fosters Orphaned Cougar Cub

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A tiny, orphaned Cougar cub has briefly taken up residence behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo’s veterinary medical center.

The cub, described as “loud and rambunctious” by zoo vet staff, was recently rescued by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, after a landslide separated the young Cougar from its mother. After a short stopover in Portland, the cub will be headed to a new permanent home at the Minnesota Zoo.

“It was the victim of a landslide that occurred on Sunday [April 23] in Pend Oreille County,” said Rich Beausoleil, WDFW Bear and Cougar specialist. “A member of the public found it the day after in the mud and called WDFW.”

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4_6I0B7060Photo Credits: Oregon Zoo

The cub, a five-week-old male weighing around four pounds, wouldn’t stand a chance alone in the wild, so Beausoleil contacted Oregon Zoo keeper, Michelle Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ species coordinator for Cougars.

“Without a mother, young Cougars can’t survive on their own in the wild, so I work to find them good homes,” Schireman said. “We would rather they grow up with their moms, but when that’s not an option we want them to have the best lives possible.”

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