Edinburgh Zoo

Cuddly Toy to the Rescue at Edinburgh Zoo

1_Kalari_Kirsty_McFaul

An eight-month-old Koala joey at the Royal Zoological Society’s Edinburgh Zoo was weighed with the special assistance of a cuddly toy last week.

Kalari, whose Aboriginal-inspired name means ‘daughter’, is one of the UK’s only Queensland Koalas. She is also the first female of her kind to be born at the Zoo.

2_Kalari_2_Kirsty_McFaul

3_Kalari_2_Lorna_Hughes

4_Kalari_3_Lorna_HughesPhoto Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) /Images 1,2,6: Kirsty McFaul /Images 3-5: Lorna Hughes

Like all young joeys, she spends most of her time clinging to mum, Alinga, so keepers use a soft toy to give her something to hold on to during health checks.

As well as being members of a worldwide Koala breeding programme, RZSS also supports conservation projects in Australia that help to rehabilitate sick and injured Koalas and release them back into the wild.

5_Kalari_Lorna_Hughes

6_Kalari_3_Kirsty_McFaul


Edinburgh Zoo Welcomes Malayan Tapir Calf

1_Tapir_calf_JP_7

A rare Malayan Tapir has been born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo. The male calf was born to mum, Sayang, and dad, Mowgli, late on January 31.

The birth is the latest chapter in the charity’s success story with this endangered species, with the Zoo having welcomed eight Tapir calves since 2007.

2_Tapir_calf_JP_6

3_Tapir_calf_JP_1

4_Tapir_calf_JP_4Photo Credit: RZSS/Jon Paul Orsi

Malayan Tapirs are increasingly threatened in the wild by habitat loss and hunting, so the European conservation-breeding programme plays a key role in protecting the species from extinction.

Jonny Appleyard, team leader for hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Malayan Tapir populations in the wild are continuing to decline, so all births are incredibly valuable to the breeding programme and we’re really excited about our latest arrival.”

“At the moment he is staying very close to mum, Sayang, but will soon find his feet and start to follow her outside.”

Baby Tapirs are born with brown and white fur, which helps to provide camouflage in their natural rainforest habitats, and they develop the black-and-white adult colouration after a few months.

The baby Tapir was named with the help of the public. Votes were cast from a shortlist put together by RZSS patrons. Almost 9,000 people voted. With an impressive 4,263 votes, the winning name was…Megat (a name with royal significance in Malaysia).

5_Tapir_calf_JP_5

6_Tapir_calf_JP_2b

7_Tapir_calf_JP_3


Endangered Crowned Lemur Holds Tight to Mum

1_08_24_CrownedLemurs_SA_6jpg

A Crowned Lemur, born at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, was recently photographed holding tight to mum, Mabanja. The one-month-old baby will cling to its mother’s back for around four months before becoming more independent.

2_Crowned Lemur

3_Crowned Lemur5

4_Crowned Lemur2Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) 

Crowned Lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) are native to Madagascar. Its diet consists mainly of flowers, fruits, and leaves. Females have a gray body with an orange crown, and males are a darker reddish brown, crowned with black and orange.

They typically give birth late September to early October, after a gestation period of 125 days. They have a life span of approximately 20 years.

The Crowned Lemur is a primate that is primarily diurnal but also has periods of feeding activity at night.

They are currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List due to habitat destruction for cultivation, logging and forest fires.

5_Crowned Lemur4

6_Crowned Lemur3


Rare Visayan Spotted Deer Born at Edinburgh Zoo

18_06_27_VisayanSpottedDeer_Fawn_04_kp

A Visayan Spotted Deer, which is believed to be one of the rarest mammals in the world, has been born at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.

18_06_27_VisayanSpottedDeer_Fawn_02_kp
18_06_27_VisayanSpottedDeer_Fawn_03_kp
18_06_27_VisayanSpottedDeer_Fawn_03_kpPhoto Credit: RZSS/Katie Paton

The latest arrival will join the conservation breeding program aimed at safeguarding this endangered species, which is thought to be extinct in over 95% of its native habitat.

The male fawn, which is yet to be named by keepers, was born in early June and has been delighting visitors as he enjoys exploring his enclosure. The youngster will stay close to his mother, Summer, for around six months before becoming more independent.

Karen Stiven, senior keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It is very exciting to have a fawn born at the zoo. The Visayan Spotted Deer is facing severe threats from intensive hunting and land clearing for agriculture.”

Found only on the Visayan islands in the Philippines, the species is thought to be one of the most narrowly distributed mammals on the planet, with possibly just a few hundred remaining in the wild.

“This makes each addition to the breeding programme a positive step towards a genetically stable population, which may need to be introduced to the wild in the future,” said Stiven.


Little, ‘Fierce’ Wildcat Kittens Help Their Species

1_Wildcatkitten_rzss 3

Two rare Scottish Wildcats, born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo, may help provide a lifeline for the iconic species.

The kittens will join a conservation breeding programme, which it is hoped will save the species from extinction in the wild through future reintroductions.

David Barclay, RZSS cat conservation project officer, said, “Scottish Wildcats are facing severe threats due to cross-breeding with domestic and feral cats, disease transfer and accidental persecution.”

“Wildcat populations have suffered a sharp decline in Scotland in recent decades with studies suggesting there may be as few as 115 Scottish Wildcats left in the wild, making them one of the UK’s most endangered mammals. Our conservation breeding programme and work with partners in Scottish Wildcat Action, the national conservation project, is therefore vital.”

David continued, “Every birth is a potential lifeline and improves the chances of a genetically healthy population that can act as a source for future wildcat release.”

Born in April, the kittens have recently started to emerge from their den and explore their habitat.

2_Wildcatkitten_rzss 2

3_Wildcatkitten_rzss

4_Wildcatkitten_rzss 8Photo Credits: RZSS/Siân Addison

Although some similarities with domestic tabby cats exist, the two are not to be confused. The Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris) is the same species of wildcat found in continental Europe, but it has been separate since the end of the last ice age, around 9,000 years ago.

Males of the species are around 3.77–7.26 kg (8.3–16.0 lb), while females are smaller at 2.35–4.68 kg (5.2–10.3 lb). Scottish Wildcats have heavier skulls than domestic cats. They also have a larger body size. Their coats are distinctive, solid-striped tabby patterning without white feet. The tail is thick with a black, blunt tip and thick black stripes.

RZSS is a key partner in Scottish Wildcat Action, the first national project to save the highly threatened species from extinction. Scottish Wildcat Action brings together more than 20 other organisations in the conservation, scientific and land management communities, supported by Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Learn more at: http://www.scottishwildcataction.org/about-us/#overview

5_Wildcatkitten_rzss 7

6_Wildcatkitten_rzss 6

7_Wildcatkitten_rzss 4

8_Wildcatkitten_rzss 5


If You Give a Zoo a Pancake…

Pancake1

A Pancake Tortoise was recently hatched at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. The tortoise has been named Pamba and is an important addition to the Zoo as the species is classed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Gareth Bennett, Senior Presentation Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are very happy to be announcing the hatching of the first ever Pancake Tortoise to be born at the Zoo. The wild population is under threat due to young Pancake Tortoises being captured to be sold as pets. Pamba’s parents are an example of this as they joined us from Edinburgh Airport, where they had been seized by customs after being illegally imported. We welcomed them into our care and are very pleased to say they have thrived here.”

“Pamba’s birth is very important as it adds important genetic diversity to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, which is helping to safeguard the species from the decline in the wild.”

Pancake2

Pancake3

Pancake4Photo Credits: RZSS/Siân Addison

The Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a species of flat-shelled tortoise in the family Testudinidae. The species is native to Tanzania and Kenya. Its common name refers to the flat shape of its shell. Aside from the pet trade, Pancake Tortoises are also under threat by continued destruction of their natural habitat for agricultural developments and overgrazing of domestic cattle and goats.

Pamba won’t be on show until the young tortoise is a little older, but visitors to the Zoo can see Pamba’s parents in the Wee Beasties exhibit.

Pancake5

Pancake6


‘Pitter-Patter' of Tapir Hooves at Edinburgh Zoo

RZSS Tapir calf

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers are hearing the “pitter-patter” of tiny hooves with the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf.

The female calf, born on September 18, has been named Maya. The new arrival was welcomed by mother, Sayang, and father, Mowgli, and is being well cared for by her experienced mum.

Karen Stiven, Senior Hoofstock Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Currently, Maya is staying very close to mum and she is doing well. She has the signature brown fur and white markings that all baby Tapirs are born with, which helps to provide camouflage in the forest. She will begin to get her adult coloration at around three months old. Sayang is a great mum with lots of practice under her belt now and she really knows the ropes. Tapirs are pregnant for around 13 months so it is great to finally see another healthy calf being born.”

“Maya will go on to play an important role in the conservation of her species as part of the wider European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. The programme has a high demand for female Tapirs to help create a diverse safety-net population to ensure that the species does not go extinct in the wild.”

RZSS Tapir calf 3

RZSS Tapir calf 2

RZSS Tapir calf 4Photo Credits: RZSS/Siân Addison

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the species is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation as well as increasing hunting pressure.

The Malayan Tapir (Acrocodia indica), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. Native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand, Tapirs’ noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Female Tapirs have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.


UK’s Only Koala Joey Emerges From Mom’s Pouch

1_17_8_21_Koala_Joey_JP_4

Earlier in the year, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers announced the birth of a joey in the Zoo’s Koala Territory exhibit. The new little Koala is starting to emerge, to the delight of visitors who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Born on January 31 to mum, Alinga, and father, Goonaroo, the new arrival to the UK’s only Koala group was still curled up inside mum’s pouch until very recently; however, the joey is growing fast and was photographed as it ventured out of the pouch for the first time last week.

Lorna Hughes, Team Leader for Koalas at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are really happy that the joey has started to fully emerge. At seven months old, the joey is almost too big to fit inside mother’s pouch, which means it will now be venturing outside more regularly. Soon it will begin riding on Alinga’s back, until it becomes independent at around twelve months. Soon we will be able to begin weighing the new addition and determine its sex so we can name it.”

2_17_8_21_Koala_Joey_JP_5

3_17_8_21_Koala_Joey_JP_1

4_17_8_21_Koala_Joey_JP_3Photo Credits: RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

According to the zoo, Alinga will carry the joey around on her back until it is around twelve-months-old and, once it reaches sexual maturity, it will go on to become part of the European Breeding Programme. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have Koalas and this new arrival is testament to the Zoo’s animal husbandry expertise.

As members of the European Breeding Programme for Queensland Koalas, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo makes regular contributions that support conservation projects in Australia to help rehabilitate and release sick and injured Koalas back into their natural habitat.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are native to eastern Australia and are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The main threats facing Koala populations in the native territory are habitat loss, wildfires and climate change.


Darwin’s Rhea Chicks on Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo

1_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_3

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo bird keepers are delighted to announce the arrival of three Darwin’s Rhea chicks. The trio can be seen running around their enclosure, alongside protective dad, Ramon.

Bird Section Team Leader, Colin Oulton, said, “We are really excited to see the three chicks doing so well and following dad around the enclosure. A Darwin’s Rhea can run at speeds of up to 37mph, so our keepers will soon be easily outpaced by the new arrivals.”

“With Rheas, it is the male that does all the egg incubation and rearing and, so far, dad Ramon has been doing a fantastic job. Rhea chicks grow very quickly and our chicks are already finding their stride. We are carefully monitoring them and can’t wait to see them become more confident and begin to take on their own personalities.”

Oulton concluded, “We have had great success breeding our Rheas in the past and to have chicks again this year is a great testament to the hard work the team have put in.”

2_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_6

3_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_7

4_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_8Photo Credits: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)

Darwin's Rhea (Rhea pennata), also known as the Lesser Rhea, are found in the Altiplano and Patagonia in South America.

They are “ratites”, a group of flightless birds that includes the African Ostrich and the Australian Emu. The Darwin’s Rhea has relatively larger wings than other ratites, enabling it to run particularly well. It can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), enabling it to outrun predators.

Although the species has been recently reclassified by the IUCN to a status of “Least Concern”, the population is reportedly decreasing. Some of the major threats to this species include: hunting, egg-collecting, persecution by human populations, and habitat destruction from farming and conversion of land for cattle grazing.

5_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_2

6_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_1

7_17_5_18_Darwins_Rhea_chicks_JP_10


Wallaby Joeys Bounce Onto Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo

1_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_03_kp

Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo excitedly announced the arrival of Wallaby joeys! The bouncing babies have been spotted in their pouches in Edinburgh Zoo’s Wallaby Outback exhibit.

There are five joeys at present, each eagerly peeking out of mum’s pouch. There are also a couple already exploring the enclosure without mum.

Lorna Hughes, Primate Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It’s great to see the Wallaby mums with their new young and getting on so well. The babies will tend to stay close to mum for the first few months, but they can now be seen venturing out around the enclosure on their own…Wallabies are a marsupial mammal, which means they continue to breed throughout the year. We are looking forward to welcoming more this year, so keep your eyes peeled for them as you walkthrough Wallaby Outback!”

2_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_04_kp

3_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_05_kp

4_17_01_25_SwampWallaby_02_kpPhoto Credits: RZSS/Katie Paton

Continue reading "Wallaby Joeys Bounce Onto Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo" »