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.

Polite Marmoset Monkey Conversations

Are you as polite as this marmoset monkey? Photo credit: BirdPhotos.com.

Are you as polite as this marmoset monkey? Photo credit: BirdPhotos.com.

Princeton University researchers discovered that marmosets (a kind of new world monkey) take turns speaking with one another, similar to people! During their vocal exchanges, which can last up to 30 minutes, the monkeys wait their turn to speak. They don’t interrupt each other.

According to one of the study’s authors, Asif Ghazanfar:

“We were surprised by how reliably the marmoset monkeys exchanged their vocalizations in a cooperative manner, particularly since in most cases they were doing so with individuals that they were not pair-bonded with.

“This makes what we found much more similar to human conversations and very different from the coordinated calling of animals such as birds, frogs, or crickets, which is linked to mating or territorial defense.”

This research on marmoset vocalizations could provide clues about the early development of conversation in humans.

For more information, see:

Snow Leopard Cub at Memphis Zoo

Snow leopard

The Memphis Zoo announced the birth of a baby snow leopard!  The male cub was born to parents Ateri and Darhan. Ateri is a first-time mother and is nursing the cub behind the scenes.

“Ateri is a great mother,” says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “This was her first cub, and everything is going smoothly.”

In the wild, snow leopards inhabit Central Asia.  It is estimated there are only 4000-6500 snow leopards remaining, according to the IUCN.

Learn more at the Memphis Zoo website.

Endangered Pond Turtles Released to the Wild

Western pond turtles

Endangered western pond turtles about to be released to the wild. Photo credits: Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released over a hundred endangered western pond turtles to their native habitat in an effort to restore the population.

Western pond turtles once commonly inhabited the western coast of the United States. But several threats, including predation by the non-native bullfrog, disease, and habitat loss, put them on the bring of extinction since the early 90s.

In 1991, the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project was established. Each year, recovery workers monitor adult female western pond turtles during the nesting season. They protect nesting sites with wire cages to prevent predators from eating the eggs. Then in the fall, the eggs and hatchlings are transported to the Woodland Park and Oregon Zoos where they can grow in safety.

“We return the turtles to their homes every summer once they reach a suitable size of about 2 ounces, a safeguard against the large mouths of bullfrogs,” explained Dr. Jennifer Pramuk, Woodland Park Zoo’s reptile curator.

Western pond turtle being released

Over a hundred western pond turtles were released to the wild by the Woodland Park Zoo and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Photo by Kirsten Pisto.

For more photos, see the Woodland Park Zoo’s blog.

World Lion Day

Today, August 10, is World Lion Day!

Lioness with cubs

Here are five facts about lions:

  • The lion is the second largest cat in the world. (The tiger is slightly bigger.)
  • Lions spend 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting.
  • Female lions are the primary hunters of the pride.
  • Lions can go 4-5 days without drinking by obtaining moisture from the stomach contents of their prey.
  • Lions once roamed most of Africa and into parts of Asia and Europe. Now around 20,000-30,000 of these big cats live in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in protected reserves.

If you would like to help lions, there are several things you can do. You can help save lions by writing a Letter to Lions that will be shared with African leaders. Share why lions are important to you and include a drawing if you like. You can also donate to charities like National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, Panthera’s Project Leonardo, or the African Wildlife Foundation.

To learn more about lions, read our Lion Facts article.

Galapagos Tortoises join Nashville Zoo

credit: Amiee Stubbs

credit: Amiee Stubbs

Bella and Darwin, two female Galapagos tortoises, will be making their public debut at the Nashville Zoo on July 27. The pair are both 20 years old, and Galapagos tortoises can live up to 150 years. Bella weighs 280 lbs and Darwin weighs 200, but they aren’t done growing yet! Fully grown, they will weigh 350 lbs.

Visit the Nashville Zoo.

Baby Gorilla Reunited with Mother

Nayembi and mama gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Nayembi and mama gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Nayembi, a female western lowland gorilla, was recently reunited with her mother after she was separated to recover from an injury. They live together at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL.

Before the full reunion, the two were able to see and smell each other under the watchful eye of caregivers.

The pair will be given some privacy to bond before the public will be able to visit with them again.

Baby gorillas

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Happy Hippos at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo welcomed Binti to join their hippo family. Binti is 15 years old and previously lived in Disney’s Wild Kingdom. She will share an enclosure with Splish, a 25 year old female.

BintiandSplish

Binti

For more about hippos, read our article.

For more information, visit the Memphis Zoo website.