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.

Ring-tailed Lemur Baby at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Ring-tailed lemur and baby

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A baby ring-tailed lemur was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo, Australia, on August 25. The little baby, named Imerina, spent her first few weeks clinging tightly to her mother but is now starting to explore independently.

“It’s wonderful to have a successful breeding season and a healthy baby on the ground,”  Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Imerina is a strong baby and first time mother Rikitra is doing all the right things, nursing and grooming her baby well, which is great to see.”

Ring-tailed lemur baby at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Imerina peers out from the safety of her mother’s chest. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

To learn more about ring-tailed lemurs, see our lemur article.

Baby Aardvark at Busch Gardens

Baby aardvark

Photo by Busch Gardens, Tampa.

Busch Gardens welcomed an odd, yet adorable, newborn earlier this fall. A little baby aardvark was born to mother Izzy on September 18.

With hairless, wrinkly skin and large floppy ears, some call the little baby “ugly-cute.” After a few weeks, the folds of skin will disappear and the ears will stand up straight.

Watch a video of the little aardvark here:

Did You Eat Your Dirt Today?

Giraffe spitting dust

A giraffe spits dust after eating dirt. Photo by Marie-France Grenouillet.

Wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet captured this spectacular photo of a giraffe spitting dust out after eating soil in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.

The act of eating soil, clay and dirt, called geophagy, is extremely common in mammals, especially in herbivores. Giraffes eat soil in order to take in minerals such as salt, copper, iron and zinc.  The clay also acts as a medicine by binding fungal toxins, internal toxins, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.

View more fantastic wildlife photos at her website.

You can learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts article.

Wow! Photo of Mountain Lion Atop Utility Pole

Cougar on telephone pole

Photo by Peter Day, Victorville Press.

Peter Day, photographer for the Victorville Press, captured this amazing scene in California’s Lucerne Valley on September 29.

Jose Ruiz, who lives across from the 35-foot utility pole, said he thought the mountain lion got spooked by a noisy group of kids getting off the school bus. The big cat stayed perched atop the pole into the night.

To learn more about mountain lions (also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers), visit our mountain lion facts article.

Baby Panda at National Zoo Growing Steadily

Baby giant panda

Zookeepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo weigh the baby giant panda on September 14.  (Erika Bauer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP)

The tiny baby panda born at the National Zoo on August 22 is starting to look like his dad Tian Tian. At four weeks old, the baby now weighs two pounds and has developed markings in a similar pattern to those of his father.

The little tyke still sleeps most of the day, which is normal for a panda of this age. In the next few weeks, he will start to open his eyes.

Watch a video of the baby’s veterinary exam here:

You can follow the progress of the baby giant panda at the National Zoo’s website or with the hashtag #PandaStory on social media.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts page.

Casting Call: Unlikely Animal Friends Wanted

Cheetah and monkey

Do you have an unlikely animal friend? Or two animals of different species that are best friends? Or did you go to extremes to rescue a helpless animal?

National Geographic WILD is looking for your stories!

For submissions, please email photos, a short description of your “Unlikely Animal Friends” story and your contact details to:

Watch a clip of a past episode below:


“Oh Hello There!” Koala Joey Emerges from Pouch at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Koala joey

Meet Storm, a seven month old joey. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Visitors to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia delight in the new koala joey on view. Named Storm, the seven-month-old joey is the first koala joey of the season to emerge from his pouch.

This is the second joey for mother Wild Girl. Wild Girl came to the zoo’s wildlife hospital after she suffered a hip wound after being struck by a car and was unable to be returned to the wild.

Koala joey and mother

Storm with his mother Wild Girl. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Thunder is approximately seven-months-old, born in January 2015. Wild Girl is quiet protective of Thunder. He can be seen on the front of her chest for now but in the coming months will start to move on to her back,” said keeper Karen James.

For more information about the koala joeys at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, visit

Learn more about koalas at our koala facts article.

Hand Raising a Cheetah Cub

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The zoo keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo have had their hands full raising a little cheetah cub named Siri.

Siri was born on May 21 this year to experienced mother Halla. But usually, cheetahs are born in litters of three to five cubs. When a single cub is born, mother cheetahs generally reject the cub since survival rates for a single cub are low in the wild.

Zoo keeper Linda Matthews said: “We were on alert when we knew there was only one cub, and after 24hrs based on what we were seeing, we intervened to give Siri the best chance of survival.”

Bottle feeding a cheetah cub.

A keeper bottle feeds Siri. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For the first six weeks, keepers provided 24/7 care for the cub.

Cheetah cub and puppy

Siri and Iris the puppy interact. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

At eight weeks, they introduced a 7-week-old retriever cross mastiff puppy named Iris as a companion. This will help Siri develop her animal instincts and social interaction.

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Learn more about cheetahs in our cheetah facts article.