Otter Pups at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Otter pup at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Fuzzy face! Pictured above is one of the Oriental small-clawed otter pups born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo recently. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia welcomed two male Oriental small-clawed otter pups on January 24.

“The pups have been in the den to date and we have been monitoring them via a video camera, to ensure they are growing and developing well,” said Senior Keeper, Ian Anderson.

“Emiko and Pocket are being really attentive parents, we are really happy with their nurturing behaviours, as they are both first-time parents so it is a big learning curve for them.”

One of the otter pups is named Kali, which means “river” in Indonesian. You can suggest a name for the other pup on the Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Facebook page!

Otter family

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Otter family

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Gorilla Baby

On March 12, Imani, an 18-year-old gorilla at the San Diego Zoo, gave birth to a 4.6 pound baby via caesarian section. The infant was treated for pneumonia and other complications after birth at the animal hospital.

But 12 days later, baby and mama were reunited!  Imani immediate cradled her baby in her arms and has been doting on the newborn ever since.

n this photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, and provided by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 12-day old baby gorilla is physically introduced to her mother, Imani, for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Matt Gelvin)

In this photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, and provided by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 12-day old baby gorilla is physically introduced to her mother, Imani, for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Matt Gelvin)

Tiny Tyrannosaur Fossil Discovered in Alaska

A fossil of a small tyrannosaur that lived 70 million years ago was recently discovered in northern Alaska. The pygmy dinosaur, called Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (which means “polar bear lizard”), is believed to be a close relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

N. hoglundi was much smaller than the T. Rex. Its skull measures 25 inches as compared to the T. Rex‘s 60-inch skull.  Researchers have postulated that the pygmy tyrannosaur’s smaller stature was an adaptation to the cooler Arctic climate. Although the Arctic would have been much warmer in the Cretaceous Period than it is today, bouts of cold temperatures would have caused variations in the food supply.

Below is an illustration of the relative size of N. hoglundi (A) as compared to its larger cousin T. Rex (B and C). Although N. hoglundi was only about half the size of the T. Rex, it still was an impressive 23 feet from head to tail.

Tyrannosaurs

Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (A) as compared to T. Rex (B and C) and other species. The scale bar equals 1 meter. Courtesy PLoS.

Learn more at Discover Magazine and Smithsonian.

Echidna Puggle Gets a Helping Hand

Echidna puggle

The team of vet nurses at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been caring for this baby echidna for the past couple months. Photo by Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia has been hand rearing a baby echidna (called a puggle) over the last couple of months.

The little puggle was found at the side of the road. It is believed the mother was hit by a car.

“The puggle is now approximately four months old and responding very well under the watchful eye of the vet nurses,” said vet nurse, Jodie Milton.

“It’s feeding well and gaining weight steadily, so we’ll be able to wean it in about three to four months’ time and start introducing it to solid food.”

Normally, echidnas live in their mothers’ pouches for 2-3 months and then move into a secluded burrow for up to a year. So it is very rare to see an echidna puggle.

“It will be some time before the puggle will be able to fend for itself, but until then it’s in safe hands,” said Jodie.

For more information about the little puggle, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

Learn more about echidnas at our short-beaked echidna facts page.

Name a Gentoo Penguin Chick

Starting today, you can help name a Gentoo penguin chick at SeaWorld Orlando!  Cast your vote for your favorite name on the SeaWorld Orlando Facebook page.

Penguin chicks at SeaWorld.

From left to right: the king chick hatched on November 30, the Adelie on December 21, the Gentoo on December 16 and the rockhopper on December 20. Photo by Jason Collier.

Since November 30, SeaWorld Orlando has experienced a penguin chick boom.  Fifteen penguin chicks have hatched at their new exhibit, Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin, which features four different species of penguin: king, Adelie, Gentoo, and rockhopper.

From SeaWorld Orlando:

Although currently ranging in size from 6 inches to 21 inches, the king chick, the largest penguin at SeaWorld’s Antarctica will grow to be as tall as 2.5 ft. and its smallest, the rock hopper will grow to be approximately 12 inches tall.

Learn more at SeaWorld’s website.

Tawny Frogmouth Chicks at SeaWorld Orlando

Tawny frogmouth chicks

SeaWorld Orlando recently welcomed four tawny frogmouth chicks! (Don’t miss the little one, born January 14, on the right!)

The SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team is hand-raising four tawny frogmouth chicks.  Three of the chicks were born in early December and the latest addition hatched on January 14.

A member of the Aviculture Team takes a chick home every night to monitor it and provide scheduled feedings every 3-4 hours.

Tawny frogmouth chicks

Tawny frogmouths are native to Australia.  Their distinct markings help camouflage them on the tree branches.

Tawny frogmouth chicks

For more information, visit the SeaWorld website.

Photos by Jason Collier, SeaWorld Orlando.

Polar Bear Cub Takes First Steps

Watch a video of a polar bear cub taking his first steps at the Toronto Zoo.

The cub was born on November 9, 2013 and is making great progress. His achievements include:

  • Standing on all four legs and taking steps forward.
  • Learning to lap up milk formula from a dish
  • Teething – his canines, incisors, and some of his molars can now be felt. He likes to bite objects like his blanket.
  • Playing – he is quite active, and he is interacting with his surroundings.
  • Gaining weight – he currently weighs about 4.5 kg, which is a 529% increase since his original birth weight of 700 grams.

Learn more at the Toronto Zoo website.

 

Ever Been Tweeted…by a Shark?

Great White SharkResearchers in Western Australia are trying a new way to warn swimmers about sharks. Three hundred and thirty-eight sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters which will send a signal to a computer if a shark gets too close to land. The computer when then send out a tweet to warn swimmers that there is a shark in the area.

One concern is that the new system will provide a false sense of security because there are still many sharks without tags.

For more, check out NPR.org.

To learn more about sharks, read our article on Great White Sharks.

View the shark Twitter Feed here: https://twitter.com/SLSWA.

Giraffe Calf at Nashville Zoo

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Masai giraffes are one of nine different sub-species and are known for their oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.

Endangered Baby Orangutan at Twycross Zoo

Bornean orangutan

A new addition to the Twycross Zoo: a baby Bornean orangutan! Photo by Twycross Zoo.

Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an endangered Bornean orangutan. The baby ape, born on November 28, is happy, healthy and doing very well. The newborn is 36-year-old Kibriah’s fourth offspring.

Bornean orangutan mother and baby

Mother Kibriah with her new baby.

Great Ape Team Leader, Simon Childs, said: “We’re all very proud. Kibriah is a very loving mum and she’s doing such a great job. She is holding the baby very close so we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl just yet. When we find out the sex, we can then start to think of a name for him or her. At this stage we don’t mind what sex it is, we’re just happy to have another healthy infant.”

According to Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences: “The Bornean orangutan is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Redlist (IUCN), with fewer than 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As they only give birth on average once every eight years their numbers are dwindling fast as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed by deforestation.  Experts now agree that orangutans are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years, so successful breeding is imperative if this ape is to continue to exist on this planet in the future.”

Learn more about Bornean orangutans at our orangutan facts page.

For more about the new addition at the Twycross Zoo, see their website.