With the help of the ZooBorns community, Potter Park Zoo received over $700 in donations from the Binturong Kit naming contest.
“We can't thank you enough! This money goes towards Potter Park Zoo's mission to inspire conservation of animals and the natural world. Thank you again!” said the Zoo’s Communications Specialist Heath Thurman.
Michigan’s Potter Park Zoo’s bintlets turned one month old last week! The animal care team continues to actively monitor each bintlet to ensure they're growing at a healthy rate. Both bintlets weigh just under 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds. That’s equivalent to a liter of water or a pair of shoes! While raising twins is quite the challenge, mom Thistle continues to do an excellent job.
Potter Park Zoo’s red panda Maliha gave birth to a cub July 21, 2022. This is Maliha’s second successful litter with the cub’s father Deagan-Reid. Animal care staff monitor mom and the cub daily through a camera mounted in the nest box where they are both resting. Veterinary staff will continue to conduct regular wellness checks in the coming weeks to monitor his growth and development.
Potter Park Zoo celebrated Independence Day with the birth of baby bintlets. Female binturong (Arctictis binturong) Thistle gave birth to three babies the evening of July 4. This is the first binturong birth at the zoo in over two decades. Two of three babies are thriving. However, the third bintlet was found to be sick and despite 24-hour care by veterinary and animal care staff, the bintlet passed away in the week following its birth.
Potter Park Zoo had another reason to celebrate July 4 when two red panda cubs were born in the early morning hours, making Maliha a second time mother. The cubs have been resting in an off-exhibit nest box under their mother’s care. Veterinary staff has conducted regular weight and wellness checks since then to monitor their growth and development, and animal care staff monitor mom and the cubs daily through a camera mounted in the nest box.
“It’s a special privilege to welcome red panda cubs, and we are all thrilled,” said Liz Jagenow, Maliha’s primary trainer. “Maliha has proven to be an attentive mother and we are confident the cubs are in good hands”.
Maliha’s mate, Deagan-Reid, arrived from Zoo Knoxville earlier this year, and the two bred shortly after. This birth marks Maliha’s second litter, following two cubs with a different male in 2016. In both cases, the pairings were recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for red pandas, which matches animals carefully by genetic profile. Her new cubs will join a valuable population of fewer than 220 red pandas in AZA institutions across the country.
“Maliha and the cubs are part of a much larger picture,” said Zoo Director Cindy Wagner. “Potter Park and other AZA accredited zoos work in close cooperation to maintain a healthy red panda lineage, and these births are the result of careful planning and preparation”.
Red panda newborns are deaf, blind, and small enough to fit into an average adult’s palm. It takes over 2 weeks for cubs to open their eyes, and about month before they begin venturing out of their nest. Until then, Maliha and the cubs will remain off-exhibit. However, footage from a nest box camera will be shared on Potter Park Zoo’s social media. Deagan-Reid will remain in his outside habitat for all to visit.
Potter Park Zoo's North American river otter Nkeke gave birth to three pups Wednesday, Feb. 3 – almost a year after her last litter.
“This is Miles and Nkeke’s third litter of pups, and while each litter has been exciting, this one is especially so since it is their first set of triplets,” said Carolyn Schulte, Potter Park Zoo otter keeper. “Nkeke is an experienced mom and thanks to her excellent relationship with the keepers we have been able to monitor the pup’s growth closely to ensure they each grow at a healthy rate.”
At two days old, a quick physical exam was conducted to get a baseline body weight and check for any abnormalities or injuries. The pups weighed in at 107 grams, 88 grams, and 75 grams. Potter Park Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Ronan Eustace said triplets can be challenging for an otter to raise.
Potter Park Zoo is overjoyed to announce the February 6th birth of two North American River Otters to mother, Nkeke, and father, Miles.
Although it is still very early in their life, keepers report that the babies seem strong and are nursing on a regular basis. To keep mother and pups comfortable, the Zoo’s staff monitors the new family through a camera in the nest box.
“The Zoo staff’s excitement of their birth has to be tempered with the realization that it’s still very early in the life of the Otter pups. While Nkeke seems to be doing an excellent job as a mother, she is a first-time mom and is learning as she goes. For most wild mammal babies, the critical period is usually the first month or so of life. This is where ‘failure to thrive’ is most likely to occur. Careful monitoring of Nkeke and the pups will continue for quite some time,” said Sarah Pechtel, Potter Park Zoo General Curator.
Nkeke arrived at Potter Park Zoo in the fall of 2016 from Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island, and breeding was first observed between she and Miles the following February. The North American River Otter Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended the pairs introduction and breeding. This SSP, one of many in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), is responsible for developing an annual breeding and transfer plan for the species. This plan identifies population management goals and makes recommendations that help ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population.
Photo Credits: Potter Park Zoo (Image 4 = New mom, Nkeke / Image 5 = New dad, Miles)
The birth of the pups marks a milestone for Potter Park Zoo staff, being the second successful River Otter litter in the Zoo’s history. Miles, the father of the new pups, was the first Otter pup born at Potter Park Zoo in 2013.