Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed three Malayan tiger cubs on March 31st. There were two males and one female, each weighing around 6 pounds.
These births were part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Malayan tiger births are rare in captive breeding programs. There was only one successful birth in 2012, and this is the first Malayan tiger birth at Busch Gardens Tampa. The animal care team is monitoring the cubs and parents around the clock.
According to the IUCN Redlist, Malayan tigers are considered endangered in the wild. There are only 500 Malayan tigers living in their native habitat, which is the southern tip of Thailand and the Malay Peninsula. Threats include habitat fragmentation and poaching.
The new porcupette at one day old at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA welcomed a baby North American porcupine on April 18. The male porcupette (baby porcupine) and his mother Molly are living in a den and are being monitored by zoo staff. The pair will be on exhibit in just a couple weeks!
Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators. After a few weeks, the babies develop their tree-climbing abilities. Once they wean themselves off their mother’s milk, they climb trees to forage for leaves, twigs, and bark.
Three meerkat pups were born at the Oakland Zoo. Their names are African in origin and are Ayo (joy), Rufaro (happiness), and Nandi (sweet). The pups are approaching six weeks of age and are doing well.
According to Victor Alm, Zoological Manager:
“It has been wonderful watching the mob [group of meerkats] raise the pups. It has truly been a collective effort and all the adults are taking their turns caring for and teaching the new pups their different roles and jobs needed to be a productive meerkat.”
In the wild, meerkats inhabit the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. They are physically adapted to living in the harsh desert environment. Dark patches around their eyes help them be effective lookouts by reducing the glare of the sun, much like a baseball player who paints dark lines beneath his eyes.
Do you know how many times have you been swimming at the beach in the vicinity of a great white shark? Thanks to a team called Ocearch, now you can find out if there’s a great white near you. Using GPS-satellite tagging technology, Ocearch is tracking the movement of around 40 great white sharks.
A screenshot from Ocearch’s Global Shark Tracker tool. This shows the path of a great white shark called Mary Lee, who has swum along the east coast as far north as Cape Cod.
On February 14, a small asteroid known as the Chelyabinsk object hit southwestern Russia. The next day, a 40-meter-long asteroid called 2012 DA14 passed by the earth, coming closer than our own satellites. These recent encounters with large space rocks bring to mind one of the theories of what killed the dinosaurs millions of years ago: an asteroid strike.
A painting by Donald E. Davis that depicts an asteroid crashing into the Yucatan Peninsula in southeast Mexico.
By studying a 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide crater in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, scientists have determined that the asteroid that struck the earth 66 million years ago was 6 miles in diameter. The collision with Earth would have caused wildfires, tsunamis, and particles in the atmosphere. These particles would have blocked the sun, killing the plant-life and causing temperatures to drop significantly. Many scientists believe this series of events led to the demise of dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs may have been killed by a series of volcanic eruptions in what is now India. Credit: National Science Foundation, Zina Deretsky
But perhaps this wasn’t the only cause of extinction. Many scientists believe that a series of volcanic eruptions that occurred 60-68 millions of years ago in what is now India began killing off the dinosaurs before the asteroid strike. These eruptions would have caused dramatic climate change that would threaten many dinosaur populations.
At the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, a 14-year-old penguin named Yellow Pink molted his waterproof feathers last year. They never grew back. Without the waterproof feathers, swimming became uncomfortable for the penguin.
Fortunately, a team of veterinarians, trainers, and research staff made him a custom neoprene wetsuit out of an old aquarium diving suit. Now Yellow Pink can stay warm as as swims.
Watch a video of Yellow Pink swimming in his suit below:
Now for the first time you can see footage of the giant squid living in its natural habitat. Giant squid are longer than school buses (40 feet long!) and weigh nearly a ton. Their eyes are the size of dinner plates. They live in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. A few years ago, a team of Japanese scientists took still photos of the elusive creature. After hundreds of deep sea dives in a submersible, scientists finally captured the giant squid on video.
Watch a special on the giant squid, Monster Squid: The Giant is Real, on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, January 27 at 8pm EST. For more info, see discovery.com/giantsquid.
Kavi and Damai are the National Zoo’s resident Sumatran tigers.
Will Kavi and Damai hit it off? Will we see babies in the near future? The Tiger Diaries takes you behind the scenes at the National Zoo, following the lives of their resident Sumatran tigers, Kavi and Damai.
In the wild, Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Only 400 Sumatran tigers exist today. The National Zoo’s program to breed Sumatran tigers plays a major role in preserving this rare species.