Brookfield Zoo

Immaculate Epaulette Shark Conception!

Female shark pup born through parthenogenesis (without fertilization)

Brookfield, Ill. — On August 23, an epaulette shark pup hatched at Brookfield Zoo. The hatching wasn’t unusual, but what is, is the way the shark embryo developed. The adult female shark had not been housed with a male since arriving at the Zoo in 2019. At that time, she was only 3 years old, and the species reaches sexual maturity around 7 years of age. Under these circumstances, animal care staff believe the female produced a fertile egg without needing to be fertilized by a male’s genetic material. This reproductive process known as parthenogenesis is when an embryo develops from an unfertilized egg cell.

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Long-Awaited Arrival of Reticulated Giraffe Calf Sparks Joy at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. — The approximately 15-month wait is over! The Chicago Zoological Society is excited to announce that Arnieta, a 16-year-old reticulated giraffe at Brookfield Zoo, gave birth to a female calf in the early morning hours of August 19. It will be a few weeks before the calf makes her public debut outdoors at Habitat Africa! The Savannah and she and Arnieta are reunited with other members of the giraffe herd. Staff anticipates the two will remain behind the scenes until early September to allow time for maternal bonding. This calf is the 60th giraffe born at the Zoo since 1940, and has had giraffes since it first opened in 1934.

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Gibbon and Otter Encounter

Recently, Brookfield Zoo’s nearly 10-month-old Asian small-clawed otter pups had access to their habitat along with the white-cheeked gibbons. Last Friday (September 9), one of the pups seemed very inquisitive about the new “neighbors” and went over to investigate. Neubo, an 8-year-old male white-cheeked gibbon, didn’t seem to mind the curious otter. In the past, animal care staff has observed similar interactions with introductions between the two species. For this particular instance, staff is not sure if these encounters will continue or if the novelty will wear off. Guests can see the gibbons and otters in Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic Word: Asia habitat.

 (credit Lynette Kleisner/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

News You Otter Know!

The Asian small-clawed otters at Brookfield Zoo have been behind the scenes due to maintenance work in their habitat in Tropic World: Asia. As you can see, they continue to grow and thrive, and are receiving lots of enrichment thanks to their care team!

Previously on ZooBorns:

Brookfield Zoo’s 2-Month-Old South American Tapir Calf Now Outdoors

Brookfield, Ill. — Guests visiting Brookfield Zoo can now see a South American tapir calf, who turned 2 months old on July 22, in his outdoor habitat, located on the north side of Pachyderm House. While getting acclimated to his new surroundings, he, and his mother Sorghum (SOAR-gum) also will have access to their indoor space.

One characteristic that zoogoers will notice are the calf’s white stripes that serve as an excellent camouflage. Baby tapirs are born with the stripes, which will begin to fade in a few months, and are completely gone by 6 months of age. Currently, the male calf weighs approximately 70 pounds. He will reach full size at about 18 months of age and could weigh as much as 500 pounds.

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Puggle—a Baby Short-beaked Echidna—Hatches at Brookfield Zoo

First Time Egg-Laying Mammal, Hatches at Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. — The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the hatching of a short-beaked echidna (pronounced ih·KID·nuh). The hatching of this baby echidna, which is called a puggle, is a first in the zoo’s history. Echidnas are very unique. They are one of only two mammal species (the duck-billed platypus is the other) that are in the order Monotremata, or mammals that lay eggs.

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Ali The Gorilla Has Turned 4!

Cuteness overload alert at Brookfield Zoo! In honor of Ali gorilla's 4th birthday yesterday, we've shared a montage of some of her most adorable antics over the years. We bet you can't stop from smiling while you watch!

Ali was born at Brookfield Zoo in 2018 to mom Koola and is part of the Zoo’s western lowland gorilla troop in Tropic World. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered primarily due to commercial hunting for the bushmeat trade, diseases such as the Ebola virus, as well as the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction from logging. It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 western lowland gorillas in their native West Africa habitat (the forests of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Congo, and Angola), and almost 350 western lowland gorillas living in accredited North American zoos. Adopt Ali today and be part of her care and support!