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.

Oakland Zoo Welcomes a Baby Baboon

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya at Oakland Zoo. “Akila” is a Swahili word meaning “intelligent.” Little Akila spends most of her time nursing and clinging to her mother’s back. She has four rambunctious older siblings.

Baby baboon and parents

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya.

The zoo also acquired two new male baboons from Prospect Park Zoo. The two 2-year-old newcomers, Milo and Kusa, are fitting in well with the troop at Oakland Zoo.

“The introductions are going wonderfully,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “We didn’t expect it to go so quickly or smoothly, but we were pleasantly surprised. The great thing about baboons is that they are very family oriented and since the new boys are not sexually mature yet, Martijn has accepted them pretty easily.”

Learn more at the Oakland Zoo website.

Giant Panda Cub Bei Bei to Debut in January

Meet Bei Bei, the newest fuzzy face at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  Bei Bei (“bay-bay”), a giant panda cub, was born in August to mother Mei Xiang. His name means “precious treasure.” Currently at four months, he weighs 17.5 pounds.

Bei Bei will be on public display, along with his mother and big sister Bao Bao, on January 16.

To learn more about Bei Bei, see the National Zoo website. You can also watch him on their live streaming panda cam.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts article.

VIDEO: Circus Mountain Lion Rescued in Peru

Mufasa, an elderly mountain lion who spent 20 years chained up in the back of a circus pick-up truck, has been rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI). He will live out the rest of his life at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the Amazon forest.

According to ADI President Jan Creamer, “Mufasa’s story symbolizes the suffering we have ended.  He was kept for years in chains in a truck, sleeping on metal, barely able to move. An unbearable torture. Now, in his twilight years, I hope people will help us give him back the life the circus stole from him.”

Mountain lion freed from circus truck

ADI rescues Mufasa from the back of a circus pickup truck. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

Mufasa the mountain lion

Mufasa at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the Amazon forest. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

If you would like to help ADI make more rescues, you can donate at their website. Learn more at www.ad-international.org/SpiritofFreedom.

VIDEO: First Giant Panda Cubs Born in Canada

The two little panda cubs born at Toronto Zoo are now a month old! Although they were born pink and hairless, they now resemble their mother Er Shun with the distinctive black and white markings.

The larger of the cubs weighs 1 kg, while the smaller one weighs 750 grams.

Giant panda and cub

Er Shun and her cub. Photo by Toronto Zoo.

Learn more about Toronto Zoo’s giant panda cubs at their website.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts article.

33 Rescued Circus Lions Prepare for African Voyage

Lion

Coco the former circus lion was microchipped by ADI in preparation for his trip to his African forever home. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

In December, twenty-four African lions rescued from circuses in Peru and nine lions from a Colombian circus will board the biggest airlift of its kind, heading to a forever home in Africa. Rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI), these former circus lions will live at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa.

To prepare for the journey, all the lions were microchipped at ADI’s rescue center near Lima, Peru. Two of the lions were given dental surgery.

Lion receiving dental surgery.

An ADI vet performs dental surgery. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said, “The lions don’t know that their lives are going to change forever – from years of suffering in circuses, they will live in natural bush enclosures under the African sun. This is like a person applying for a visa for the trip of a lifetime.”

“It is a long and complicated process to move large numbers of wild animals across international borders, especially in an operation involving three countries. We are grateful for the collaboration of officials in Peru, Colombia and South Africa to make this happen for these lions. It can only lead to stronger animal protection law enforcement in future.”

If you would like to help ADI fund Operation Spirit of Freedom, visit their website.

Learn more African lion facts at our lion article.

VIDEO: Southern White Rhino Calf at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a female southern white rhinoceros calf on October 16. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by experienced mother Kisiri with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.

Southern white rhino calf

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Newborn white rhinoceroses usually weigh about 150 pounds and can gain four pounds every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds when fully grown.

The southern white rhinoceros is classified as a near-threatened species with just over 20,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Learn more about the baby southern white rhino at the Busch Gardens Tampa blog.

Australia’s First Greater One-Horned Rhino Calf Born

greater one-horned rhino baby and mama

Proud mama Amala watches over her new baby boy. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For the first time ever, an Australian zoo welcomed a baby greater one-horned rhinoceros to the world on October 25. Taronga Western Plains Zoo keepers are closely monitoring their new arrival, a male calf born to first-time mother Amala.

“Amala is being very protective of him,” said Unit Supervisor Jennifer Conaghan. “She is keeping her distance from us and keeping the calf close, which is what we expected to see. We have seen the calf suckling and although it is still only days old, we are extremely happy with the situation so far, and absolutely thrilled to have this new addition on the ground.”

Baby greater one-horned rhino

Greater one-horned rhinoceros calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

According to Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director Matthew Fuller, “We’re the only zoo in Australia to have three species of rhino, and three successful rhino breeding programs, so critical for these species that are all threatened in the wild.”

Learn more about the little rhino calf at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

You can find out more rhino facts at our greater one-horned rhino page.