Taronga Western Plains Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Three cheetah cubs were born to their mother, Kyan late last year at the Taronga Western Plains zoo in Australia.  They are currently out of the view of the public and spending time with their mother. The zoo plans to unveil them to the public in March of this year.

PHOTOS: Lincoln Park Zoo Welcomes Baby Colobus Monkey on Christmas Day

Colobus monkey baby and mother

Newborn black-and-white colobus monkey with mother Kutaka at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.

It was a white Christmas at the Lincoln Park Zoo as they welcomed a newborn black-and-white colobus monkey on December 25.

The baby monkey was born to 12-year old mother Kutaka and 23-year old father Keanjaha. At birth, black-and-white colobus monkeys have all white fur. The signature black markings start to appear around 3 weeks and are fully evident around 3-4 months.

“Kutaka is an extremely attentive mother,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “We’re excited for the newest member of the multi-generational colobus troop to interact with the entire family from juvenile to geriatric members. In fact, we’ve already observed the infant’s aunt and older sister briefly carrying the new infant, a species-typical behavior called alloparenting or ‘aunting behavior.'”

Colobus monkey baby and mother

The sex and measurements of the newborn are yet to be determined as the baby is clinging tight to mom. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Black-and-white colobus monkeys are one of five different species of colobus monkey. In the wild, they are native to equatorial Africa.

For more information, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

TWO Sets of Ring-Tailed Lemur Twins Born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Baby lemurs and mother

Seeing Double: Two sets of ring-tailed lemur twins were born at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo earlier this year. They will be on exhibit in the new year.

Visitors at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo can look forward to baby lemurs on public display in the new year.  Two sets of ring-tailed lemur twins were born to new mothers Rakita and Cleo in October.

“So far the mothers and their babies are doing well and we are very happy with progress to date. Both mums are quite protective and are very careful of the way they move around and the speed at which they move around, ensuring their babies are holding on properly,” said zookeeper Sasha Brook.

Baby lemurs and mother

Baby lemurs instinctively cling to their mothers, but they will gradually learn to walk, jump and climb. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The baby lemurs will cling to their mothers until they are about four months old. At this stage, they also start to chew on food, but they won’t be weaned from their mothers until two months old. They will gradually learn how to walk, jump, and climb within safe proximity of their mothers.

Baby lemurs and mother

Baby lemurs mouth and chew on food at a young age, but this is not for nutritional purposes at this point. They will wean from their mothers at 2 months old. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For more information about the baby lemur twins, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

To learn more about lemurs, see our Ring-tailed Lemur facts article.

Giraffes Now Vulnerable of Extinction

Giraffe

Film still from “Last of the Longnecks.” Courtesy of Iniosante Studios.

The IUCN has recently reclassified giraffes from a species of least concern to one vulnerable of extinction. Giraffe populations in Africa have declined 40% since 1985. All nine subspecies of giraffe are officially in trouble.

Iniosante Studios has spent the last three years documenting the situation in their film, “Last of the Longnecks,” which has helped bring global awareness to the plight of giraffes and instigated a reclassification by the IUCN. To obtain accurate figures for the IUCN, more than a dozen researchers combed the savannas in trucks, wandered trails on foot, flown in aircraft, and studied remote cameras.

“We’ve been working alongside the researchers in our film for the past three years to sound the alarm,” said Ashley Scott Davison, the film’s director. “Until recently, few people were even aware of the situation facing giraffes. This reclassification by the IUCN is pivotal to get the public to take action for our planet’s tallest animal.”

Watch a trailer of “Last of the Longnecks” below:

To learn more, see the website for “Last of the Longnecks.”

To learn more about giraffes, read our giraffe facts article.

Baby Asian Elephant Makes His Public Debut

Asian elephant calf

Hello there! A male Asian elephant calf makes his public debut at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Last week, zoo visitors got to meet Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s newest arrival: a baby Asian elephant! This was the first Asian elephant born at the zoo in Dubbo, NSW, Australia.

The male calf was born on November 2nd to mother Thong Dee. He was standing on his own within 30 minutes of being born and nursing within hours.

“This is tremendous news for the Australasian conservation breeding program for Asian Elephants. I’m delighted to report that mother and calf are doing well and veterinarians are happy with the calf’s progress at this early stage,” said NSW Environment Minister, Mark Speakman.

Asian elephants

The new baby elephant and mom Thong Dee are doing well. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The zoo will soon be announcing a competition to help choose a name for the calf.

Learn more at the Taronga Conservation Society Australia website.

BBC’s Planet Earth II Sneak Peek

Clip from the BBC’s upcoming Planet Earth II.

Ten years ago, the BBC debuted it’s amazing series, Planet Earth, which documents beautiful, intriguing, and rare moments of life on Earth. Planet Earth II promises to capture even more amazing moments, taking advantage of significant advances in filming technology.  Similar to the original series, Sir David Attenborough will narrate.

Watch the full trailer below:

Featured Animal: Koala

Meet our featured animal: the koala!

koala3

Friday, September 30 is Save the Koala Day!

Here are five fun facts about koalas:

  • Koalas are not bears, despite the common phrase, “koala bear”. Koalas are actually marsupials, like kangaroos and wombats. This means female koalas have pouches where their young stay until fully-developed.
  • Koalas are well-adapted to sitting in trees. They have a curved backbone and two fewer pairs of ribs than most mammals (11 instead of 13) creating a curled skeletal structure that fits well into the forks of branches.
  • Although there are 600 types of eucalyptus trees, koalas generally limit their diet to two or three favorite kinds.
  • Koalas have a special kind of bacteria in their stomachs that break down the fiber and toxic oils in eucalyptus leaves. This bacteria is passed down from mother koala to joey via a substance the mother produces called pap.
  • A koala’s pregnancy lasts 35 days. When the joey is born, it is only 2 cm (less than an inch) long. Although hairless and blind, the newborn uses its strong forelimbs to climb from the birth canal into the mother’s pouch.

Learn more about koalas at our koala facts article.

 

World Elephant Day

Asian elephant

It’s World Elephant Day!

Today is World Elephant Day, a day focusing on the conservation of elephants across the globe. The two main species of elephant are African elephants and Asian elephants. Both species are in danger of becoming extinct in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss.

Although many countries have banned the killing of elephants, the illegal ivory trade has skyrocketed in recent years. Decreasing the demand for ivory is essential. Never buy, sell, or wear ivory. Write to your politicians to speak out against poaching. (Americans can write a letter to the Secretary of State on the Wildlife Conservation Society website.) For information on organizations that combat the illegal ivory trade, see National Geographic’s page, Blood Ivory: How to Help.

In addition, you can help provide captive elephants with the best possibly life. Boycott circuses, whose unethical treatment includes chaining elephants up by their feet and trunks, as well as beating them frequently. Encourage zoos to create environments similar to African elephants’ native habitat. They should be able to encompass elephant families and their travel patterns, and they should be located in a warm climate so that the elephants can spend all year outside.

A recent study of zoo elephants found that the best way to promote elephant well-being in captivity is to ensure they can spend time in groups, and not be socially isolated. Human interaction was also beneficial. The study, titled Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare, is available online and is accessible to the public. (See journals.plos.org.)

Baby Wallaroo Takes First Hop

Wallaroo joey and mama

First hops! A baby wallaroo emerged from its mother’s pouch recently. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

A baby wallaroo took its first hops at Oakland Zoo recently. Keepers estimate the joey was born in October-November (although it’s impossible to determine its exact birth date). The joey now comes out to graze and explore its surrounding, but hops back into its mother’s pouch for safety.

Wallaroo joey and mama

The joey feels safe and cozy back in the pouch. Photo by Oakland Zoo.