Baby Bonobo at Memphis Zoo

Bonobo and baby

Bonobo baby with mom Kiri. Photo credit: Laura Horn, Memphis Zoo.

A baby bonobo was born at the Memphis Zoo on May 12 to parents Kiri and Mofana. The sex of the baby is still not known, but zoo staff will determine the gender in the coming weeks.

According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “This is a species that needs a lot of help, so every birth is significant. Bonobos are still very rare in the wild and in captivity. They are a high conservation priority, and Mo and Kiri are a good genetic match.”

In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered. Civil war in the Congo has hugely impacted bonobo society, fragmenting their population to isolated pockets and limiting their genetic diversity.

To learn more about bonobos, see our bonobo facts article.

Chimpanzee Personalities

ChimpanzeeA study published in the American Journal of Primatology this month revealed new information about chimpanzee personality traits. The five defining personality dimensions in chimps are: reactivity, dominance, openness, extroversion and agreeableness.

Researchers collected behavioral data for two years on 99 chimpanzees at the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research in Bastrop, Texas. They rated the apes on behavioral descriptors such as boldness, jealousy, friendliness and stinginess.

According to lead author Hani Freeman, postdoctoral fellow with the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo. “From an academic standpoint, the findings can inform investigations into the evolution of personality. From a practical standpoint, caretakers of chimpanzees living in zoos or elsewhere can now tailor individualized care based on each animal’s personality thereby improving animal welfare.”

Baby Animals at the Brevard Zoo

The Brevard Zoo in Florida welcomed a newborn white-faced saki monkey on May 18. The baby monkey is currently clinging to mother Chuckette. Soon the baby’s father Yuki and sister Watson will also start carrying the little one. By six months, the young monkey will be independent.

White-faced saki monkey

The baby white-faced saki monkey clings to mother Chuckette. Photo by David Saylor, Brevard Zoo.

In the wild, white-faced saki monkeys are found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

Four days after the birth of the saki monkey, the zoo celebrated yet another birth!  Two male and two female rock hyraxes were born, and within an hour, they were walking around with their parents.

Rock hyrax

One of four baby hyraxes at the Brevard Zoo. Can you believe this animal is related to the elephant?

Although they look like rodents, rock hyraxes are actually more closely related to elephants. They share a few similar features with elephants such as tusk-like incisors, toenails, sensitive foot pads, and excellent hearing and memory.

They inhabit areas in Africa and the Middle East that have rock crevices, which help provide protection from predators. Hyraxes typically live in groups of 10 to 80. Similar to meerkats, hyraxes use sentries, a system where one or more animals take up position on a vantage point and issue alarm calls on the approach of predators.

Endangered Red-Crowned Crane Chick at Seattle Zoo

Red-crowned crane chick

Woodland Park Zoo’s new red-crowned crane chick is on a mission, living as an ambassador for cranes facing habitat loss and life-threatening, human-wildlife conflicts in their Asian range. Photo credit: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is home to a new male red-crowned crane chick! The fluffy, brown chick, hatched on May 13, will play an integral role in the survival of the species. Red-crowned cranes are severely endangered, with only  2,700 cranes remaining in the Amur Basin of Northeast Asia.

The zoo works with Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use and the International Crane Foundation, through the zoo’s Partners for Wildlife, with the goal to bring the red-crowned crane population back from the brink of extinction.

“Muraviovka Park gives red-crowned cranes a chance to flourish; it’s a safe haven for them to breed, nest and raise their young,” says Fred Koontz, Woodland Park Zoo Vice President of Field Conservation. “This wildlife sanctuary is the first nongovernmental protected area, and the first privately run nature park in Russia since 1917, and it’s making a tremendous difference for the future of cranes and many other species.”

If you would like to help red-crowned cranes, you can get involved with Woodland Park Zoo’s efforts at zoo.org/conservation.

Red-crowned crane chick

Red-crowned crane chick

Photo credit: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Baby Wildcats at the Nashville Zoo

Clouded leopard and lynx cubs

Feline baby boom at the Nashville Zoo! Pictured above is a baby clouded leopard (left) and a baby Eurasian lynx (right). Photo credit: Amiee Stubbs, Nashville Zoo.

The Nashville Zoo experienced a feline baby boom recently, welcoming two clouded leopard cubs and one Eurasian lynx cub!

The two female clouded leopards were born on April 30 and are currently being hand-raised by zoo staff.

Clouded leopard cubs

Newborn clouded leopard cubs. Photo credit Amiee Stubbs, Nashville Zoo.

Said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo president. “Once they get a little older, these cubs will leave us and serve as ambassadors for clouded leopard conservation at zoos across the country.”

The Nashville Zoo participates in the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, which aims to conserve these rare cats. Breeding clouded leopards is difficult because males are often aggressive and kill potential female partners.

On May 4, the zoo welcomed a female Eurasian lynx, who is also being hand-raised by animal care staff. This little cub will eventually join an educational outreach program at another zoo.

Eurasian lynx cub

Newborn Eurasian lynx shows some personality at the Nashville Zoo. Photo credit Amiee Stubbs.

Eurasian lynx are the largest of the lynx species and inhabit Central Asian, European and Siberian forests.

Noisy Addition to the Twycross Zoo

Black and gold howler monkey

Baby black and gold howler monkey named Donatello. Photo credit: Twycross Zoo.

The Twycross Zoo in England welcomed a baby black and gold howler monkey, which is the world’s loudest primate! The little howler monkey has been named Donatello, and he and his mother are doing very well.

Howler monkeys have a very loud, distinctive call that can be heard up to 3 miles away. Male howler monkeys have special throat sacs that allow them to produce such a loud noise. The calls are used to mark their territory.

In the wild, black and gold howler monkeys live in South and Central America. They are threatened by loss of habitat due to agricultural development.

Remarkable White Rhino Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

White rhino calf

The white rhino calf at one day old. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. See more photos below.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia celebrated the arrival of a healthy male white rhinoceros calf last week. The calf’s birth represents a major conservation achievement!

Said Senior White Rhino Keeper, Pascale Benoit, “Everyone is just over the moon with the arrival of the white rhino calf, especially given the tragic of the loss of four members of this herd to disease last year, and the plummeting numbers of all rhino species in the wild.

“This calf is not only an important birth for Taronga Western Plains Zoo, but for the species as a whole. Mopani [the new calf's mother] had never bred before so to produce an offspring has created a new genetic line and greater genetic diversity within the White Rhino population throughout Australasia.”

In Africa, wild white rhinos are threatened by poaching. Nearly 2000 rhinos have been slaughtered since 2006.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Malayan Tiger Cubs at Busch Gardens

Malayan tiger cub at Busch Gardens

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.

Malayan tiger cub at Busch Gardens

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.

To learn more about the Malayan tiger cubs, see BuschGardensTampaBlog.com.

Baby Porcupine at Seattle Zoo

Baby porcupine

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.

Learn more about the porcupette at the Woodland Park Zoo blog.