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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.zoofari.com.au.
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.”
A keeper bottle feeds Siri. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
For the first six weeks, keepers provided 24/7 care for the cub.
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.
Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on July 25. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.
Visitors to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago now have the opportunity to see an adorable baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on exhibit. The adorable baby was born on July 25 to 21-year-old mother Hersey and 32-year-old father Carlos.
“The sloth infant appears healthy and is passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly and clinging well to mother,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Hersey is a first-time mother and is being very attentive to her new young.”
Hoffman’s two-toed sloths inhabit the rainforests of Central and South America. Their large hooked claws help them hang upside down from treetops, which is how they spend most of their time.
World conservation first: An orphaned tree kangaroo was cross-fostered by a rock wallaby and survived! Photo by Adelaide Zoo.
The keepers and veterinarians at Adelaide Zoo have saved the life of an orphaned Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo by using a surrogate wallaby mother! This exciting achievement is a world first for conservation.
One morning in November of last year, zoo keepers discovered that a tree branch had fallen and killed the zoo’s three-year-old tree kangaroo overnight. She was carrying a five week old joey. Since the joey was so young, hand-rearing was not an option. They decided to use a technique called “cross-fostering”, which involves transferring the joey to the pouch of another animal.
The orphaned tree kangaroo joey was transferred to the pouch of a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.
In the 1990s, Adelaide Zoo pioneered this cross-fostering technique on endangered wallabies. In this situation, zoo keepers would transfer the endangered wallaby joey to the pouch of a surrogate wallaby of another, non-endangered species. The original endangered wallaby female would then be able to restart her breeding cycle, increasing her reproduction rate up to six or eight times. This allowed the zoo to build up the endangered population much more quickly.
According to Adelaide Zoo veterinarian Dr David McLelland, “We’ve had great success over the years’ cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialized breeding technique has never been used on a tree kangaroo. Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioral and physical differences. We had no idea if the yellow-foot rock wallaby would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”
The gamble worked, and the orphaned tree kangaroo thrived in the pouch of his surrogate rock wallaby mother. The joey, named Makaia, spent about three and a half months in the pouch until being hand-reared by zoo staff.
Makaia, the tree kangaroo joey, can be seen here inside the pouch of his surrogate mother, a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.
The amazing rescue story of Makaia will be featured in the July/August edition of Australian Geographic, available July 3.
Two clouded leopard cubs born in March are making public appearances at Nashville Zoo every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30-11:30am. Visitors can view the cubs, named Sip Saam and Natida, at the lynx exhibit.
“It’s been several years since we have exhibited clouded leopard cubs, so I know the public is anxious to see them,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “At nearly four months old, Sip Saam and Natida enjoy exploring the habitat, climbing trees and chasing one another around.”
Clouded leopard conservation and captive breeding is difficult because the cats are reclusive (or solitary) and male clouded leopards have been known to attack and kill potential female partners. At Nashville Zoo, animal care staff hand-raise cubs and introduce them to mates at a young age. These practices help improve the success rate of the program. Since 2009, the zoo has successfully raised 24 clouded leopards who have gone on to zoos worldwide.
In the wild, clouded leopards are considered vulnerable of extinction due to deforestation, poaching, and the pet trade.