Brookfield, Ill. – On March 19, the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, welcomed a new addition—a porcupette (baby porcupine) who was born on March 19. The newborn is being handreared by animal care staff after it was observed the porcupette’s mom, 9-year-old Lucia, was not providing her offspring proper maternal care.
The unsexed baby porcupine is thriving and being cared for around the clock by the animal care specialists. Currently, the porcupette is fed a formula, which was developed by CZS’s director of nutrition. As the baby develops, times between each feeding will increase until it is weaned at around 10 weeks old. Once weaned, staff will begin introducing the young porcupine to a diet consisting of a variety of vegetables, including sweet potato, green beans, corn, carrots, spinach, and kale, as well as a nutrient-based biscuit, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.
Brookfield, Ill. —A month-old Humboldt penguin chick, who hatched at Brookfield Zoo on February 2, is growing by leaps and bounds. The chick is only the second successful offspring for parents—14-year-old Divot and 21-year-old Rosy—making its hatching extremely significant to the Humboldt penguin population in Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) accredited North American institutions.
Brookfield, Ill. — The two male and four female Asian small-clawed otter pups born at Brookfield Zoo on November 18, 2021, were recently named. They are Otto, Otis, Wishes, Hermione (pronounced Her-My-O-Nee), Sachiko (pronounced SAH-chee-ko), and Olivia.
The six pups are thriving and bonding with their parents, Pearl and Adhi (pronounced AHH-dee), behind the scenes. This past month, the otter-ly playful pups have begun eating a diet of fish and have begun exploring a small pool of water, which animal care specialists were able to capture on video. If the pups continue to demonstrate their proficient swimming abilities, staff anticipate the pups and their parents will be able to have access to their habitat at Tropic World: Asia in early March.
The smallest of the otter species, Asian small-clawed otters are native to Indonesia, southern China, southern India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. The species is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Population numbers are declining due to several threats, including residential and commercial development, deforestation, the illegal pet trade, pollution, climate change, and poaching.
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of six Asian small-clawed otter pups on November 18, 2021. Since their birth, the otter-ly adorable and playful pups have been growing and bonding behind the scenes with their parents, Pearl and Adhi (pronounced AHH-dee). Guests will be able to see the two male and four female pups exploring their habitat in Tropic World: Asia once they are eating solid foods and have become proficient swimmers.
Since mid-September, there has been a baby boom of dwarf seahorses born at Brookfield Zoo’s Living Coast. Nearly 30 seahorse fry (name for baby fish) have been born, including nine on November 14. One of the animal care specialists, who cares for them, was at the right place at the right time and was able to capture the amazing moment on his cell phone. The video can be seen on the zoo’s social media channels.
The dwarf seahorse is one of the smallest species of seahorse, measuring about a ¼ inch at birth and up to 2 inches when full grown. To provide the best chance of survivability, the seahorses born at Brookfield Zoo are being reared by staff behind the scenes. However, several adult seahorses can be seen in their habitat at the Living Coast.
The seahorse and its close relative, the sea dragon, are the only animals that have a true reversed pregnancy in which the male gives birth to the fry. A female seahorse transfers her eggs to the male, where they are fertilized in his brood pouch. There, the developing seahorses are provided oxygen, nourishment and protection. When he is ready to give birth, the male opens his brood pouch and makes contractions to push out the babies. Once born, the adults have nothing to do with their offspring—the newborn seahorses are independent and fend for themselves.
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, the dwarf seahorse population is declining due to habitat loss, pollution, residential and commercial development, and human activities.
Brookfield, Ill. — A Kirk’s dik-dik, one of the world’s smallest antelopes, was born at Brookfield Zoo on October 13. At birth, the not-yet-named male calf weighed just over 1½ pounds. He is currently behind the scenes with his mother. To not disturb the bonding process between Buttons, the 2-year-old mom, and her offspring, animal care staff set up a GoPro camera to get video of the newest addition to share with the public. It can be viewed on the zoo’s social media channels.
Behind the scenes, there is a nest site, which is where a newborn dik-dik remains hidden for 10 to 20 days. It will nurse for about three to four months. Weaning is attained when the calf reaches a weight of about 4 pounds. Once full grown, the male can weigh up to 14 pounds and measure 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.
This small antelope, native to Africa’s Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Angola, and Namibia, got its name from the sound it makes when threatened as well as after Sir John Kirk, a 19th century Scottish naturalist. Its coat varies in color from a yellowish-gray to reddish-brown. The species can be identified best by its large, striking, dark eyes that are each surrounded by a white ring. Only the males grow short corrugated horns. The elongated snout allows a dik-dik to help keep cool by rapidly panting to cool the air, and therefore its body. This system also helps minimize its need for water.
The calf at Brookfield Zoo will not be making his public debut until spring 2022, but guests can see an adult pair in their outdoor habitat during regular zoo hours, weather permitting. Currently, there are 25 Kirk’s dik-diks at 11 accredited North American zoos, including five at Brookfield Zoo.
Brookfield, Ill. — Things are really hopping at Brookfield Zoo—with wallabies that is. Three Bennett’s wallaby moms---Becky, Marion, and Talia—all gave birth to joeys in late 2020.
It is difficult to determine the exact date of a wallaby’s birthdate. When born, a joey is about the size of a bumblebee and weighs less than 0.03 ounces. Babies are born blind and hairless and migrate from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch without being noticed. There, they remain for approximately 280 days.
Becky’s joey, born approximately on October 31, 2020, spends the majority of its time outside of mom’s pouch. The youngest of the three joey’s was born to Talia around December 1, 2020, and has recently begun to emerge from its mom’s pouch and explore.
The third joey, a female named Whitney, was born November 12, 2020, and is being handreared, because her mom, Marion, required medical treatment. Out of an abundance of caution, veterinary staff determined it was in the best interest of both animals to remove the joey from Marion’s pouch.
Once Whitney is weaned from a bottle and more independent, she will be reunited with her mom and the rest of the wallabies, including the two joeys, at Hamill Family Wild Encounters. Until then, to keep Whitney socialized and active, animal care staff regularly take her outdoors to get plenty of exercise and sunshine. When not outside, she hangs out in a hand-sewn pouch that her caretakers carry while performing their tasks throughout the day. She seems to enjoy poking her head out and watching all the activity going on around her.
Wallabies, which inhabit coastal areas, woodlands, and grasslands in Australia, are marsupials—mammals best known for their abdominal pouches. There are more than 270 different marsupial species found around the world. Wallabies have a stable population in their range. However, they are sometimes killed as an agricultural pest and hunted for their meat. Fully grown, wallabies can reach up to 3 feet in height and weigh between 24 to 59 pounds, depending on the gender. Wallabies are hardy all-weather animals. In warmer temperatures, they lick their arms and hands, which causes their saliva to evaporate, cooling them off.
Those interested in helping care for the Bennett’s wallabies at Brookfield Zoo can contribute to the Animal Adoption program. For $35, a recipient receives the Basic Package, which includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of a wallaby, a personalized certificate of adoption, a Bennett’s wallaby fact sheet, and an Animal Adoption program decal. To purchase, visit www.CZS.org/AnimalAdoption.
The public was able to meet one of Brookfield Zoo’s newest additions—a month-old North American river otter—during a “Bringing the Zoo to You” Facebook Live chat on Wednesday, March 3.
The male pup, born on January 20, is being hand-reared by animal care staff after it was determined that his mom, Charlotte, was not able to provide him with the proper nourishment he needed. Staff hope to introduce him back with Charlotte and his dad, Benny, once he is weaned, which will be towards the end of March.
(credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)
Become a ZooBorns Patreon to see amazing bonus pictures of this and more babies featured on ZooBorns!
The inquisitive and playful pup needs a name, and Brookfield Zoo is inviting the public to assist in the final selection. Those wishing, can cast a vote for their favorite on the zoo’s website at CZS.org/OtterName. The name choices are:
Chippewa—name of rivers found in the upper Midwest where North American river otters are found
Flambeau—a river in north-central Wisconsin also found in otters’ native habitat
Pascal—name of otter character in a popular video game
Ozzy—just a really a cute name
Voting began Tuesday, March 2, at 11:00 a.m. CT, and continues through Monday, March 15, at 5:00 p.m. CT. The name with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday, March 16.
The Illinois population of North American river otters—fewer than 100 individuals in the late 1980s—was once threatened due to over harvesting and habitat loss. However, a successful recovery program initiated in the early 1990s by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources helped increase the number of otters in the state. The program included relocating nearly 350 otters from Louisiana to central and southeastern Illinois. The state also engaged in conserving wetlands and wooded areas along streams and rivers, which is otter habitat. Today, the species is common throughout Illinois thanks to these effort as well as expanding otter populations in neighboring states.
Brookfield Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of pygmy slow loris twins! Born August 26, 2020, these yet-to-be-named little ones belong to dam Chantu and sire Henderson. Located in Tropic World, we hope you'll be able to see these little ones soon.
Due to deforestation in their native Vietnam, pygmy slow lorises are considered endangered. Brookfield Zoo is proud to be part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which acts as a proactive approach to preventing extinction.
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is getting right to the “point” by announcing the birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine on July 2. The little male porcupette is the first of his kind to be born at Brookfield Zoo.
After monitoring the mother, 5-year-old Lucia, for an extended period of time, it became clear that she was not allowing the baby to nurse and would not be able to provide her offspring proper maternal care. At that time, animal care and veterinary staff made the decision to intervene and hand-rear the porcupette, who is now thriving.
Photo Credits: Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society / (Images 4-7 feature Maggie Chardell, a lead animal care specialist for the CZS, assisting in hand-rearing)
Following a gestation of about 203 days, the baby was born weighing just under a pound. The baby has soft quills that protect the mom during the birthing process, but after a few days, the quills harden with keratin, which gives them their sharpness.
Baby porcupines are relatively mature and mobile immediately following birth. Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are born with a rusty-brown colored coat that help them blend in with their environment. Similar to a young deer fawn, a porcupette hides and waits for its mother to come to it for nursing. A baby will typically continue to nurse until it is weaned at approximately 10 weeks of age.
Both Lucia and the porcupette’s dad, 4-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and can be seen in Hamill Family Play Zoo. Once the young porcupine is weaned from the bottle, he will also be a part of this program, which offers guests the opportunity to have up-close experiences with many of the animals.
Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are native to South America and live in high-elevation rain forests. Their long tail is used to wrap around branches while climbing.
Despite what some might think, porcupines do not shoot their quills, which are just modified hairs made out of the same substance found in human hair and fingernails. Porcupines have muscles at the base of each quill that allow the quills to stand up when the animal is excited or alarmed. Like all hairs, quills do shed, and when the porcupines shake, loose quills come out. The ends of Prehensile-tailed Porcupines’ quills have a small barb (like a fish hook) that snags the flesh, keeping the quill stuck.