Lion Cubs Roar Into Woburn Safari

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Woburn Safari Park announced the arrival of two African Lion cubs, which were born to parents Zuri and Joco in late July. The cubs spend most of their time in the den with their mother but are expected to move into the Lion exhibit later this month.

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Lion Cubs close up photo Aug 2019Photo Credit: Woburn Safari Park

Keepers have already spotted the youngsters playing with each other and with their mom’s tail and they are looking stronger on their legs every day. Born weighing just over two pounds each, the cubs will begin to be weaned from their mother onto meat at around 10-12 weeks old and will be fully weaned by the time they are 6-8 months old.

Lioness Zuri, 5, is extremely protective of her new young, and naturally can become aggressive if disturbed. Keepers prepared for the birth by creating a secluded den in one compartment of the Lion house for Zuri and her cubs, so they can enjoy bonding in a quiet, private area. In the wild, a Lioness will give birth and keep her cubs in a den of thick dense cover, like acacia bushes, so keepers have tried to replicate this environment as much as possible.

Keepers are feeding Zuri five days out of every seven, monitoring how much she eats each day to decide when she is fed. Normally the Lions are fed large meals every four days to mimic wild hunting patterns, including feast days and fast periods.

Craig Lancaster, Team Leader for Carnivores at Woburn Safari Park, said, “It’s hugely exciting to have new Lion cubs at the Park and we are so pleased that they seem to be settling in so well. They aren’t crying a lot and are already looking chunky and healthy, which indicates that they are feeding well and are content in their surroundings.

“The public will be able to view the cubs in the side pen after all their vaccinations are up to date in late September. We will ensure the vets are happy with their progress before they are moved into the main Lion enclosure later on in the year.”

Once ranging across most of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions have suffered drastic population declines in the past 50 years. Most of the 20,000-50,000 Lions remaining in Africa reside in protected areas such as parks and reserves. Tourism, and the revenue it creates, is a strong incentive for Lion conservation. These majestic Cats are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

 


Red Panda Triplets Born at Virginia Zoo

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The Virginia Zoo announced the birth of triplet Red Panda cubs to Masu, a three-year-old female, and four-year-old dad Timur. The three cubs, two males and one female, were born off-exhibit at the Zoo’s Animal Wellness Campus on June 18, 2019. Red Panda cubs weigh approximately five ounces at birth, and by two months of age, the cubs each weighed just over one pound. The zoo announced the births in late August.

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Virginia Zoo Red Panda 2
Virginia Zoo Red Panda 2Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

“Having Red Panda triplets is a unique situation,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian. “It’s a lot of work for mom to care for three newborns, but Masu is doing a great job caring for the triplets and all three have been thriving.”

Masu, who had her first litter of cubs last year, gave birth in an indoor, climate-controlled den where she has been nursing and bonding with her cubs in this quiet environment. The den is not viewable by zoo guests and is monitored by Zoo Keepers and Animal Care Staff. Red Panda cubs typically remain in the nest with mom for about three months, even in the wild.

Masu and the cubs will move back to the Red Panda exhibit later this fall when Keepers feel the little ones can confidently navigate the trees and other exhibit features.

“Our Animal Care team had a great strategy last year in moving Masu to the Animal Wellness Campus while she was still pregnant, providing privacy for her first birth experience. She took great care of her cubs last year, which is why we opted to do the same thing again this time around,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.

The zoo auctioned naming rights for the cubs, but they have not yet announced the names.

Red Pandas are tree-dwelling animals found in forested mountain habitat in Myanmar, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet and China. While they share the same name as Giant Pandas, the two species are not closely related. Red Pandas are the only living member of their taxonomic family. Slightly larger than a domestic Cat and with markings similar to a Raccoon, Red Pandas have soft, dense reddish-brown and white fur. They feed mainly on bamboo, but also eat plant shoots, leaves, fruit and insects. Red Pandas are shy and solitary except when mating or raising offspring.

Red Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding due to isolated populations contribute to the decline. There are fewer than 10,000 mature individuals estimated to remain in the wild.

 


White Rhino Calf Born at Royal Burgers’ Zoo

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On August 15, a White Rhinoceros calf was born at Royal Burgers’ Zoo. According to keepers, the young bull calf is in good health.

Since 2002, the Arnhem zoo has been remarkably successful at breeding Rhinoceros: as many as ten Rhinos have been born in the capital of the province of Gelderland, including one stillbirth. A total of 269 White Rhinoceros live in European zoos: 116 bulls and 153 cows. On average, only ten are born each year in Europe.

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3_Newborn-rhino-1Photo Credits: Royal Burgers' Zoo

According to the Zoo, there are several factors that create challenges for breeding success. Not all adult Rhino bulls are fertile, and Rhinoceros cows often develop cysts in the uterine horns. As a result, the sperm can no longer reach the egg, or the egg cannot come loose from the ovary. The cysts can also block the egg from passing through the fallopian tube, or the fertilized egg from nestling in the uterine wall. Young cows being hormonally suppressed by their mothers is another problem zoos face. In this situation, the young cows only become fertile after being transferred to another zoo, which lifts the oppression.

Of the five Rhinoceros species alive today, the White Rhinoceros (also known as ‘Square-lipped Rhinoceros’) has the most social behavior. Whereas the other four Rhino species live in solitude and only temporarily visit each other during mating season, Square-lipped Rhinoceros live in small herds of adult cows and their young. As a rule, the cows in these herds are closely related. The bulls live alone and demarcate their territory by depositing dung piles along the borders as scent flags.

To ensure successful breeding of Square-lipped Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), it is beneficial, given their natural behavior and social group structure, for the animals to have plenty of space at their disposal, so that they can avoid each other or, on the contrary, visit each other. In Arnhem, the breeding bull lives a more or less solitary life, usually avoiding the company of the cows and their young. In the mating season, the bull will seek contact. Burgers’ Zoo has a fertile bull and two cows, both of which have given birth multiple times.

The White Rhinoceros consists of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhinoceros, with an estimated 19,682–21,077 wild-living animals in the year 2015, and the much more rare Northern White Rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has only two confirmed left in 2018 (two females; Fatu, 18 and Najin, 29), both in captivity. Sudan, the world's last known male Northern White Rhinoceros, died in Kenya on 19 March 2018.


Zoo Welcomes Triple Threat of Cuteness

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It’s three times the cuteness at the Kansas City Zoo’s ‘Tiger Trail’. Red Panda parents, Randy and Kate, welcomed three cubs on July 11.

According to the zoo, the youngsters will stay in the nest box for a few months, but guests may be able to get a glimpse of them on a monitor outside the exhibit.

Kate and Randy are both first-time parents. Although it’s pretty rare to have three cubs born at once, Mom is said to be doing a great job caring for them. Just 24 hours after birth, a neonatal exam was performed. Red Pandas typically have high mortality rates, but the three cubs are doing well thanks to Kate and her caregivers. The smallest of the cubs has been receiving supplemental feedings from zookeepers to ensure that it gains weight at a healthy rate.

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4_69251685_10155961363771377_2729838298024378368_oPhoto Credits: Kansas City Zoo

Adult Red Pandas grow to be about the size of a house cat. They have mostly white fur at birth, but it soon turns a reddish-brown color when they are around 50 days old. In the wild, Red Pandas often move their cubs to ensure safety. At the Kansas City Zoo, Kate has three nest boxes behind the scenes so she is able to move the cubs around to whichever she thinks is the best at that time. Guests may occasionally see them on exhibit when she is moving the cubs from one nest box to another. She will keep them in the nest box for three to four months. They will likely make their exhibit debut around October.

There is a camera on the nest boxes so zookeepers can keep an eye on the cubs. Zoo visitors can check out this same view on a monitor in front of the Red Panda exhibit on Tiger Trail. The cubs’ sexes are unknown at this point. All three cubs’ eyes are now open, and they are also beginning to vocalize when keepers make their daily checks.


Bison Herd Expands at Wildlife Safari Park

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The Bison herd at Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska grew this summer. A calf was born on May 27 and visitors can now see the auburn-colored calf roaming the ‘Bison Plains’ with mom and the herd.

Bison calves turn dark brown a few months after birth---the same time their characteristic hump and horns start to grow.

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3_Bison calf with mother at Wildlife Safari Park (3)Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo/Wildlife Safari Park

Since its opening in 1998, Wildlife Safari Park has played a key role in conserving Bison and educating the public about the critical challenges impacting the native species—the national mammal of the United States. Wildlife Safari Park currently has 33 Bison, including the new calf.

Wildlife Safari Park offers four miles of drive-through North American wildlife viewing from the comfort of your own vehicle. Wildlife Safari Park visitors can see a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including more than 60 American Elk spread across the 50-acre Elk Meadow and a 10-acre wetlands area with American White Pelicans. Visitors can explore the newest exhibit, Prairie Dog Town, and see other animals, such as: White-tailed Deer, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes (who came to Wildlife Safari Park this past April).

Visitors can take advantage of the nice weather and explore two miles of hiking trails, which pass Wolf Canyon, home to six grey wolves and three American black bears. At the Hands-on-Corral, kids of all ages can interact with their favorite farm animals, such as pygmy goats and chickens.

Visit www.OmahaZoo.com for more information.


Woodland Park Zoo Celebrates Crane Hatchlings

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For the first time in Woodland Park Zoo’s 119-year history, a pair of White-naped Cranes successfully hatched. The chicks emerged July 9 and 10 and are the first offspring for 8-year-old mom, Laura, and 9-year-old dad, Cal. The sex of the unnamed chicks has not yet been determined.

The Seattle, WA zoo has had White-naped Cranes for around 30 years, but none successfully produced offspring until now. The new parents have been at the zoo for five years.

“This is such a significant hatching and a symbol of hope for the vulnerable species,” said Mark Myers, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “The successful breeding and hatching are attributed to the bond between the parents, the quality of their habitat, and the expert day-to-day care and dedication provided by our animal keepers. We’re very proud of our team and our new parents.”

According to Myers, cranes are monogamous and can be very picky when choosing a mate: “Even the slightest incompatibility between two birds can prevent successful breeding; they will only breed once a strong pair bond is formed between them. Even then, it can take several years to solidify that bond,” explained Myers.

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Photo Credits: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Parents Cal and Laura were paired on a recommendation from the White-naped Crane Species Survival Plan, a cooperative conservation-breeding program to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of White-naped Cranes in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. There are currently fewer than 75 White-naped Cranes in the program. This successful hatching has augmented the numbers of this long-lived species.

Continue reading "Woodland Park Zoo Celebrates Crane Hatchlings" »


Zoo Marks Third Giraffe Calf in Three Years

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The Milwaukee County Zoo proudly announced details of a Reticulated Giraffe birth on July 13. The new youngster marks the third giraffe calf born at the Zoo in the last three years.

The male was born to mom, Ziggy, and dad, Bahatika (also known as Baha). This is Ziggy and Baha’s third calf together; Tafari was born in 2015, and Kazi was born in 2017. This newest calf has been named Desmond.

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Zoo veterinarians completed Desmond’s first exam, and they recorded an initial weight of about 152 pounds and a height of approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall.

It was reported that the calf got his balance quickly after birth, seemed very strong, and was able to stand up within 55 minutes of birth. Ziggy was also said to be an attentive mother.

Ziggy is 9-years-old, and arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Bahatika is 14-years-old, and arrived at MCZ in 2006 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

The Zoo currently houses seven giraffes: adults Bahatika, Marlee, Ziggy, Rahna; youngsters Kazi and Maya; and the newborn.

Giraffes are the tallest land animals, and are typically between 14-19 feet tall and weigh between 1,750-2,800 pounds. Giraffes use their long necks to reach leaves and buds in trees that other herbivores can’t reach.

Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, two are considered endangered: the Reticulated and the Masai.

In the wild, the Reticulated Giraffe population has dropped by 80 percent in the last decade and the Masai Giraffe population has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last three decades. However, all giraffe populations are declining, with hunting and habitat loss as the major threats. Due to their current status, every giraffe birth is very important for the population.


Milwaukee County Zoo Welcomes Second Red Panda

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The Milwaukee County Zoo announced the birth of a female Red Panda cub.

The new cub, named Kiki, was born June 7 to mother, Dr. Erin Curry, and father, Dash. This is the pair’s second cub; she is part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps to maintain genetic diversity within Red Panda populations in AZA-accredited zoos. Dr. Erin is a very attentive mother, and Kiki is developing as expected.

Kiki weighed 160 grams two days after birth and, and at a little more than one month old, weighed approximately 906 grams. Her most recent reported weight was 1,192 grams at 46 days old.

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Zookeepers comment that Kiki spends most of her time eating and sleeping, and that she’s “adorable.” She is currently developing off exhibit, but should be visible to guests at the Red Panda habitat sometime in September.

Blind for the first 21-to-31 days after birth, cubs are safely hidden in nests for the first 2 to 3 months. The Zoo’s new cub has relied on mom for milk, and will stay with her mother for about one year. Then, she’ll learn important life skills, such as hunting and climbing.

Dr. Erin and Dash had their first cub, Dr. Lily Parkinson, in June 2018. Dr. Lily was the first Red Panda cub born at the Zoo. She was transferred to the Nashville Zoo last spring as recommended by the Red Panda SSP.

Red Pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get adult coloration at around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage in their natural surroundings.

In the wild, they live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching, and trapping. Reliable population numbers are difficult to find due to their secretive nature, but it is estimated that only around 10,000 individuals exist in the wild. Because of this low number, every birth is very important.


New Bactrian Camel at Milwaukee County Zoo

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The Milwaukee County Zoo announced the birth of a male Bactrian Camel on June 7. The calf, named Jethro, was born to parents Addie-Jean (better known as A.J.) and Stan.

Mother, A.J., is 7-years-old, and father, Stan, is 6-years-old. This is A.J. and Stan’s second offspring. Their other son, George, was born in 2017.

Camel Baby 06-2019-4403 EPhoto Credits: Milwaukee County Zoo

Jethro weighed 85 pounds at birth, which is underweight for a newborn calf. Zookeepers also noticed that the he had trouble nursing due to his lower jaw being longer than his upper. Because of his low weight and inability to adequately feed on his own, zookeepers began providing supplemental bottle feedings for the calf.

However, at 5 weeks old, he was gaining weight and began to have the energy levels for a camel his age. Vets are continuing to carefully monitor the camel’s weight and overall health.

Bactrian Camels (Camelus bactrianus) can grow up to 7 feet tall and weigh up to 1,800 pounds. They have long, wooly coats that range in color from dark brown to beige. Bactrians also have manes and beards of long hair on their necks and throats. They can be distinguished from other species of camels by their two humps—Dromedary camels only have one.

Bactrian Camels are native to central Asia. They migrate with flocks through harsh conditions; including, sparse vegetation, limited water sources, and extreme temperatures. They have several adaptations that allow them to survive in these conditions. For one, their humps allow them to travel long distances without food or water. It is a common misconception that the humps store water; however, they actually store fat, which can be used as energy when nutrients aren’t available. Another adaptation is their two rows of long eyelashes that block their eyes from sand and dust.

They are herbivores and have extremely tough mouths that allow them to eat almost any type of vegetation, even those with thorns. In times of environmental stress, they will eat fish, carcasses, and rope, among others.

Wild Bactrian Camels are considered “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN. Their population is expected to decrease by 80 percent in the next three generations because of hunting and predation.


River Safari Celebrates Fourth Giant Anteater Pup

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River Safari welcomed its fourth Giant Anteater on July 17, bringing the park’s current collection of the threatened species to four. As Iapura is an experienced mother having given birth to her previous pup, Leona, on March 3, 2018, she required no assistance from her keepers when birthing this newborn. Giant Anteaters can have a single offspring, once a year, after a gestation period of about 6 months.

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WRS_RS_Img 3_giant_anteater_pupPhoto Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Weighing only 1.6kg at birth, the yet-to-be-named new pup possesses surprising strength for its small stature, climbing and clinging onto her mother’s back with ease. The newborn spends much of her time on her mother’s back. In this position, it can be difficult to spot the pup, as its coat of hair is almost identical to an adult’s, allowing her to blend in with her mother. This trick comes in handy for anteaters in the wild as it protects the pup from predators and makes the mother appear larger, making for less tempting prey.

Currently on her mother’s milk, the pup will gradually be weaned and introduced to solid food—a mixture of insectivore pellets and ant eggs—when she is about five months old.

Members of the public can vote for their preferred name of the pup by commenting on the video on Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Facebook page from August 21 through 28. The pup’s keepers have shortlisted two names for public voting: “Amazon”, after the giant anteater’s natural habitat in the Amazon rainforest or “Estrella”, meaning ‘star’ in Spanish, the language most often spoken in her native range of South America.

Iapura and her pup will be introduced to the Giant Anteater exhibit along River Safari’s Amazon River Quest boat ride when the latter turns four months old. In the meantime, guests can either spot father, Zapata, or daughter, Leona, by their distinct narrow head, bushy tail and long snout.

The Giant Anteater is the largest species of anteater out of four and is listed as “Vulnerable” on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, due to habitat loss, road-kill, and hunting.

The animals cared for by WRS are part of the international conservation-breeding program (EEP) managed by the European Association of Zoo and Aquaria (EAZA).