Very few European zoos hold these charismatic African foxes. Bat-eared Foxes differ from other members of the Canid family in many ways. Instead of 34 differentiated teeth, they have nearly 50 needle-sharp teeth, which are used to chew their favorite food – insects (mainly termites). Their large ears help them locate insects hiding below ground and help cool the body as blood passes through the ears’ thin skin.
Bat-eared Foxes live on the grasslands and savannahs of eastern and southern Africa. They are not under significant threat at this time, though changing land use patterns could pose a threat in the future.
The Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo welcomed a litter of five Cheetah cubs on May 15.
Mother Savannah, age 6, is caring for her quintuplets behind the scenes. The litter includes three male and two female cubs. The family is expected to move into their viewing habitat later this summer.
Photo Credit: Prague Zoo
Well known as the world’s fastest land animals, Cheetahs are skilled hunters. Their bodies are built for efficient sprinting. Reaching speeds of up to 70 mph, Cheetahs can run down even the fastest of prey. However, they maintain these high speeds for only a minute or two, then give up the chase. Cheetahs are successful in about half of their hunts.
Depending on where they live, Cheetahs target small Gazelles or the young of larger Antelope species when hunting. Prey is taken down with a swat of the dewclaw or a bite to the neck.
Cheetahs are in steep decline in the wild. Found only in Africa and a small part of Iran, fewer than 7,000 wild Cheetahs remain. As farms and cities expand, Cheetahs’ home ranges are reduced. Due to a genetic bottleneck in the population during the Ice Age, all Cheetahs exhibit genetic similarity. This can lead to reproductive problems and low birth rates, especially when Cheetahs are under human care. Some zoos have found success breeding these Cats by keeping them in large groups, rather than individual pairs.
Currently, Cheetahs are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but conservationists have called for reclassifying Cheetahs as Endangered. Most of the African countries where Cheetahs live have created action plans for protecting these majestic Cats.
Zoo Brno is home to five incredibly adorable Arctic Wolf pups. A male pup and four females were born just two-months-ago. The siblings can now be seen on-exhibit with their parents.
Photo Credits: Zoo Brno
The Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the Melville Island wolf, is a subspecies of Gray Wolf native to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.
The Arctic Wolf’s medium-size distinguishes it from the Northwestern Wolf, which is smaller in comparison.
They are carnivorous hunters, and by nature they help to control the populations of other animals in the region like the Musk Ox, Caribou and Arctic Hares.
Unlike other species of Wolf, the Arctic Wolf rarely comes into contact with humans and is not threatened by hunting or persecution. However, industrial development is a threat as an increasing number of mines, roads, and pipelines encroach on its territory and interrupt its food supply.
A forty-year-old dream has come true with the birth of the first Amur Tiger cub at Debrecen Zoo & Amusement Park. The handsome cub is now more than 7-weeks-old and has remained in healthy condition.
There are only around 3,600 tigers in the World, and half of them are living in Zoos and Wildlife sanctuaries. Debrecen Zoo & Amusement Park has been keeping the Amur Tiger subspecies since 1973.
This subspecies, along with the Sumatran Tiger subspecies, is part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (EAZA) European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
The parents of the new tiger cub are: Mishka, who arrived from Zoo African Safari, and first-time mother, Rose, who was born at Port Lympne Reserve. The pair arrived at Debrecen in 2014 and, according to keepers, quickly “fell in love”.
Photo Credits: Debrecen Zoo & Amusement Park
Unfortunately, new mother Rose’s maternal instincts did not kick in after the cub was born. Zookeepers made the important decision to hand-raise the cub in an effort to ensure his proper care. Debrecen staff relates that it’s not uncommon for first-time tiger moms not to know what to do. They want to communicate that their colleagues are doing their best to help him grow strong and healthy.
The curious cub is now welcoming visitors every day at 10AM and 2PM, in the Zoo’s Tiger Exhibit.
Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of four Red Ruffed Lemurs on May 30. A little male, who has been named Emilio, and his three demure sisters (named Demi, Ally, and Andie) are the second group of Lemurs to be born at Nashville Zoo since the Zoo moved to their Grassmere property in 1996. This is also the second litter for their nine-year-old mom, Lyra.
The new babies weighed roughly 75 to 90 grams each at birth, and were approximately 8-10 inches long.
With the addition of the four babies, Nashville Zoo is now home to a total of nine Red Ruffed Lemurs.
Unlike other primate species, Red Ruffed Lemurs do not carry their young. Instead, they keep their young in a nest, nursing and caring for them until they are more independent and mobile.
Zoo guests can see the new litter’s three older siblings and dad, Dino, on exhibit along ‘Bamboo Trail’. The four newest additions will remain indoors with mom until they are old enough to venture outside, which zookeepers estimate to be in about a month.
Red Ruffed Lemurs (Varecia rubra) are one of more than 100 species of Lemurs on the island of Madagascar. The IUCN has classified the species as “Critically Endangered” in the wild due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and pet trade.
Seeni, one of three African Elephants rescued from Botswana in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, delivered her calf one month early. The premature little female was born on May 31 at the International Conservation Center’s Maternal Care Barn.
“To say that we were shocked when we walked into the barn that morning is understatement,” says Willie Theison, Elephant Manager at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and International Conservation Center. “Seeni wasn’t expected to calve until the end of June, so to walk in in the morning and see this tiny little elephant attempting to stand on wobbly legs was a total surprise.”
Photo Credits: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Keepers immediately began using towels to warm the calf. “Our first concern was to ensure that the calf was ok,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “Being born one month early, she weighted only 184 pounds, which is 52 pounds below the median birth weight of a calf born full-term.” Normal elephant calf weighs between 207-290 pounds at birth.
After a physical exam of both mother and calf, it was determined that Seeni had not begun producing the milk needed to feed the little calf, so Theison immediately began teaching the calf to bottle feed, using cow calf bottles.
It is very important in the first 48 hours that the elephant calf receives colostrum through milk to stimulate its immune system. Normally the calf would nurse and mom would pass along the important antibodies. Cow colostrum was used initially to feed the calf, and then the switch was made to African Elephant milk that was shipped in for the daily feedings.
Theison knew that there was a possibility that Seeni might not bond with her calf. “Seeni was orphaned at an early age due to the culling of her parents in South Africa,” says Theison. “Her only companions were Thandi and Sukuri, so she never had a bonding relationship with her mother. She doesn’t understand how to care for a young calf.”
Mom, Binti, gave birth to the healthy 76-pound girl on March 23, and the sassy little Hippo soon became a Zoo favorite.
“This is one of our most significant births in a long, long time,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo, after the calf’s debut. “It’s also incredibly special – as Binti and her baby are carrying on our legacy of Hippos in their brand new home, Zambezi River Hippo Camp.”
The new Hippo made her public debut April 8, and the Zoo immediately organized a naming contest for the new girl. After almost 23,000 votes were cast, the Zoo announced the winning name was “Winnie”.
Photo Credits: Memphis Zoo
This infant is the second for mother, Binti, and first for father, Uzazi. Nineteen-year-old Binti was born at the Denver Zoo. She arrived at Memphis in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her name means “daughter,” or “young lady,” in Swahili. Uzazi, the 16-year-old father, arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2016 in preparation for the opening of Zambezi River Hippo Camp. His name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “good parent.”
Memphis Zoo plans to have little Winnie and her mom, Binti, on exhibit everyday. However, they will rotate on exhibit with the Zoo’s other two adult Hippos, Splish and Uzazi.
On the first Wednesday of every month, the Zoo provides video updates on Winnie. Check their website: www.memphiszoo.org/hippo or Facebook page for news on Winnie.
A baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born on June 2 at the Philadelphia Zoo with assistance from a team of veterinarians and human medical specialists.
The baby, a boy, has already integrated with the zoo’s Gorilla troop and can be seen with mom, 17-year-old Kira. This is Kira’s first baby.
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo
Mother and baby appear healthy, but will be monitored carefully in the coming weeks and months. Like a newborn human, a baby Gorilla is essentially helpless, relying completely on its mother for care. “We are very excited to welcome Kira’s new baby,” says Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “This important birth is an opportunity to engage the world in caring about the future of Gorillas in the wild.”
Kira, a 17-year-old female Gorilla, went into labor on June 1, but had not delivered her baby by the next morning. Kira appeared to tire and behaved as if she were feeling worse over the course of the morning and there were no signs of the labor progressing. Typically, Gorilla labor is quick and the mother does not appear tired, distressed, or show symptoms of feeling poorly.
Concerned about the health of both Kira and her baby, Philadelphia Zoo’s veterinary staff contacted a pre-determined team of consultants who were prepared to assist if there were any problems with the pregnancy or delivery. The team of professionals from the veterinary and human medical field included an ob-gyn, surgeons, anesthesiologists and others, from leading area institutions such as University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Once onsite, the medical team examined Kira after she had been placed under anesthesia and determined that she was fully dilated and that the baby was in position for a vaginal delivery.
After 1.5 hours the team delivered a healthy 5lb, 0 oz. baby boy, the process requiring many of the same tools and techniques used for human deliveries, including forceps and episiotomy. While there have been several successful C-section deliveries for Gorillas, the most recent known case of an assisted vaginal delivery occurred in 2000.
Because Kira was recovering from anesthesia, vet staff provided the newborn with initial neonatal care, holding and feeding him through the night. By the next morning, Kira was fully recovered and was quickly reunited with her new baby, and has been continuously cradling and nursing him since.
“Our veterinary team had an advance plan in place that had us prepared for scenarios like this – and in this case that plan, and the skill of our keeper team, enabled a safe delivery for both Kira and her baby,” says Dr. Andy Baker. “We often take advantage of the expertise in Philadelphia to optimize health care for our animals, and working with valued partners such as U of P Health System, Penn Vet, and Jefferson, we were able to intervene and save both lives. It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one,” said Baker.
“Though Kira is a first-time mom, we’re not surprised she’s acting like an expert already. She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female Gorilla Honi has raised baby Amani,” says Baker. “Everybody is excited about these two future playmates.”
Western Lowland Gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with threats including habitat destruction due to palm oil and timber plantations as global demand for palm oil and paper continues to rise. The zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to protect and sustain populations of endangered and other species across AZA zoos.
For the first time in the Toronto Zoo’s history, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born on the afternoon of Saturday, May 13 to mom Pavarti and dad Mingma.
Pavarti is a first-time mother and she initially showed maternal instincts. However, Pavarti started spending less time with her cubs and was not observed nursing or mothering them. Wildlife Care staff monitored the new family by camera throughout the night and the cubs were checked by a veterinarian on Sunday. Fluids were given to the cubs to help them through the critical first 24 hours.
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the tiny cubs and on Monday morning, they decided to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the zoo’s new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre. After receiving neonatal care, the cubs’ health stabilized.
Fortunately, when they discovered Pavarti was pregnant the zoo developed a Clouded Leopard hand-rearing protocol just in case Pavarti failed to care for her cubs. The protocol is based on best practices shared by other zoos with experience hand-rearing these cats.
The two cubs are thriving under their keepers’ care. They have gone from weighing around six ounces each at birth to nearly 14 ounces each at about three weeks of age. The two cubs have fully opened their eyes, have discovered their 'meow,’ and are even starting to walk.
A rare Przewalski’s Horse foal has been born at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. The youngster can now be spotted trotting around the main reserve with the small herd.
The arrival of the foal represents a potentially important contribution to Przewalski’s Horse conservation, with the species currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The species had previously been listed as extinct in the wild, following the last official sighting in 1968, but was reclassified in 2011 following the success of a number of reintroduction projects, including to its native Mongolia.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “For the Przewalski’s Horse to go from being extinct in the wild to once again roaming the Mongolian Steppe is directly attributable to the efforts of the legitimate zoo community. Had it not been for the managed captive population, there would have been no horses to return to the wild. Although there is still a need to continue to augment the small wild herds, and our latest foal may play a part, the story of the horse’s recovery is a classic example of the important conservation role that good zoos are uniquely equipped to fulfill.”
Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)
The Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is the last true wild horse. They are the only living, wild ancestor of the domestic horse that has survived to the present day.
They are named after Nikolai Przewalski, the Russian explorer who first brought specimens back for a formal description in the 1870s. But the first time the species was made known to the West was in the 1763 published accounts of a Scottish doctor, John Bell, who travelled with Tsar Peter the Great.
This wild horse has a stocky body with robust, short legs, a short neck and an erect mane. Typical height of the species is about 12–14 hands (48–56 inches, 122–142 cm), and their length is about 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in). On average, they weigh around 300 kilograms (660 lb).
The hooves of the Przewalski's Horse are longer in the back and have a thick sole horn. This characteristic improves the performance of the hooves.