Double Cuteness: Two Baby Sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Baby sloths

Meet the newest baby sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Daisy’s baby (left) and Grizzly’s baby (right). Photo by Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay recently welcomed two baby sloths!

A Hoffman’s two-toed sloth was born on March 24 to mother Grizzly and father Teddy. The little one only weighed 186 grams (6.6 ounces) at birth and wasn’t nursing regularly. So the animal care team at Busch Gardens decided to hand-nurse the baby via syringe every two hours. Currently, the baby is healthy and under 24-hour watch.

Baby sloth being hand-fed.

The animal care team feeds Grizzly’s baby by syringe. Photo by Busch Gardens.

A Linne’s two-toed sloth was born on April 2 to mother Daisy and father Mario. Weighing 550 grams (19.4 ounces) at birth, the baby is currently healthy and being cared for by its mother. The animal care team is monitoring closely.

Linne's sloth baby

The animal care team checks Daisy’s baby, who is still under her daily care.

Watch a video below of the two baby sloths:

One interesting fact about two-toed sloths is that they actually have three toes. (All sloths have three toes per foot.) But two-toed sloths have only two claws per foot. For more interesting sloth facts, see our article about the brown-throated three-toed sloth.

The Great Octopus Escape: Inky Breaks out of New Zealand Aquarium

Inky the octopus

Inky the octopus at National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. Photo by National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Inky, an octopus at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, made a spectacular nighttime escape. The contortionist octopus squeezed through a tiny gap at the top of his enclosure, then scuttled 8 feet across the floor to a drain pipe. After sliding 164 feet down the pipe, he dropped down to freedom (or specifically, Hawke’s Bay which opens out into the Pacific Ocean).

According to the aquarium’s manager, Rob Yarrall, “He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean, and off he went. Didn’t even leave us a message.”

Blotchy the octopus (Inky’s aquarium mate) decided against adventure and remained at the aquarium.

For more about Inky, see the New York Times.

For more great escapes, see our archive of animal escapes.

Learn more amazing facts about octopuses at our Common Octopus article.

 

Bison Return to Montana Homeland

Bison calves

Bison aboard a truck waiting to be transported to Montana. Photo by Jeff Morey/WCS

In a collaboration between the Blackfeet Nation, Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada, Oakland Zoo, and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), 88 bison were transferred from Elk Island to the Blackfeet Nation Reservation near Browning, Montana.

This transfer marks a truly historic occasion for the Blackfeet people, whose cultural identity is strongly wrapped up in the icon of the buffalo (or bison, as they are known scientifically).

“The Blackfeet People were a buffalo people for thousands of years,“ said Harry Barnes, Chair of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. “The buffalo provided everything the people needed in the way of food, clothing, and shelter. It provided for so much of our physical needs that it filled our spiritual needs. It connected us to our animal and plant relatives in a way nothing else could provide. The elders have long believed that until the buffalo returned, the Blackfeet would drift. We have started the return.”

In 1873, bison from the Blackfoot land were captured  and formed the “Pablo-Allard” herd. They were sold to to the Canadian government in the early 1900s. The Elk Island bison are the descendants of that herd.

“Today marks the long-awaited return of these buffalo to their original homeland,” said Ervin Carlson, Bison Program Director and President of the Intertribal Buffalo Council. “The Elk Island Buffalo originated from Blackfeet territory and their homecoming enhances the restoration of Blackfeet culture. These animals are culturally and spiritually connected to our people and I believe their homecoming will begin a healing of historical trauma to the Blackfeet people. These buffalo will begin the longstanding efforts to restore buffalo to their historical mountain front rangelands.”

To learn more about bison, see our American bison facts article.

Watch Baby Eagles Hatch Live on DC Eagle Cam

Eaglets are on the way! You can witness live and up close the moment the chicks hatch on the D.C. Eagle Cam. The nest (and camera) is located in the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The eagle parents have been named Mr. President and the First Lady in honor of their location.

If you want to try and guess the hatch dates/times of the eggs, use hashtag #dceaglecam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with your prediction (Eastern Standard Time). For more information, visit Eagles.org.

Learn more about eagles at our bald eagle facts page.

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UPDATE 1: The first eaglet started hatching around 7:30pm EST on March 16.

Screen shot captured by Sue Greeley/American Eagle Foundation

Screen shot captured by Sue Greeley/American Eagle Foundation

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UPDATE 2: In case you were wondering what bald eagles look like when they sleep…

baldeagle2

A still from American Eagle Foundation’s live web cam at 12:25am EST on March 18, 2016 demonstrates that even eagle parents get sleepy sometimes. Screen shot captured by Animal Fact Guide.

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UPDATE 3: The first eaglet hatched at 8:27am on March 18!

eaglet

A still from American Eagle Foundation’s live web cam at 12:57pm EST on March 18, 2016 shows the first eaglet fully emerged from its shell. Screen shot captured by Animal Fact Guide.

All images © American Eagle Foundation.

Chilean Flamingo Chicks Thrive at Chicago Zoo

Chilean Flamingo chickThe animal care staff at Lincoln Park Zoo successfully hand-reared 5 Chilean flamingo chicks that had hatched between September 11-28, 2015.

Now on view at the zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon, the grey and fuzzy chicks weigh around 2-3 kg, roughly 30 times their weight since hatch.

“These chicks are a true testament to the dedicated animal care staff here at Lincoln Park Zoo,” said Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds. “We’re excited to share the chicks with our visitors and to learn from these chicks to further our knowledge of the species.”

When the flamingos hatched, animal care staff collected shell fragments for DNA testing. This is a non-invasive way to determine the sex of the birds. The tests revealed that two of the chicks are male and three are female.

In the wild, Chilean flamingos live in large flocks in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Like all flamingos, the Chilean species has pink plumage – or feathers – but are born with white-grey plumage and show the full iconic coloration at around 2-years-old. Chilean flamingos have the ability to tolerate extreme conditions, which makes them well suited for Chicago’s harsh winters.

Learn more at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Hungry Sea Lion Visits Restaurant

A hungry sea lion pup made her way from the beach all the way inside a fancy restaurant in San Diego. Plopping herself into a booth, the young sea lion had a prime location near a window.

Executive chef Bernard Guillas posted photos of the pup on Facebook:

Photo by Bernard Guillas.

Photo by Bernard Guillas.

Photo by Bernard Guillas.

Photo by Bernard Guillas.

The sea lion was eventually rescued by SeaWorld San Diego’s Animal Rescue team. They observed that the pup was very small for her age.

“It was also a little bit shocking to see how small the pup was,” said Jody Westberg, one of SeaWorld’s animal coordinators, who went to the rescue. “A micro-pup. Very small in body length, and very malnourished.”

The animal care team is now working to rehydrate the pup and get her back in the water.

For more info, see: NY Times.

VIDEO: Baby Sea Otter Sleeping on Mother’s Belly

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California caught an adorable moment on camera: a mother otter with her newborn pup sleeping on her belly.

Mama otter is actually a wild otter who ventured into the protected basin of the Great Tide Pool area of the aquarium to rest from the winter storms. She gave birth to her pup on December 20.

Learn more at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Tumblr page.

Baby Rhinoceros Arrives at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

White rhino baby

Kamari, a white rhinoceros, was born on December 19 to mother Kopani. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia recently welcomed a baby white rhinoceros to their family. The female calf was born in the early hours on December 19 to experienced mother Mopani.

Zoo keepers named the baby rhino Kamari, which is Swahili for “moonlight.”

Baby white rhino

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby white rhino and mother

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Taronga actively supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India, including providing funds and support for habitat protection and reforestation, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and reduction of human-rhino conflict. They’re also a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation.

To learn more, see Taronga.org.au.