Giraffe born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Giraffe calf
Mother Tulli and father Unami welcomed their new calf on Wednesday, June 19. The yet-to-be named calf is the seventh baby his mother has given birth to.

After only one hour the calf was on his feet and feeding. In one day he was on exhibit with the other giraffes. Talk about a fast grower!

For more, visit Taronga Zoo.
To learn more about giraffes, visit our Giraffe Fact page.

Rare Zoo-Raised Turtles Released to Wild

The Lincoln Park Zoo in conjunction with the US Fish & Wildlife Service is working to repopulate prairie land with native wildlife.

Ornate box turtle

A zoo-raised ornate box turtle prepares for release into the wild. Photo by Sharon Dewar / Lincoln Park Zoo.

Their most recent release was 18 ornate box turtle hatchlings in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Savanna, Illinois. The zoo is also recovering other prairie-dwelling wildlife including meadow jumping mice and smooth green snakes.

“Suitable habitat is being created, but many species have trouble accessing it due to fragmentation from roads and other physical barriers which makes re-colonization of restored sites improbable,” explained Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Ph.D. reintroduction biologist at Lincoln Park Zoo.

“These collaborative conservation partnerships are terrific because each agency brings a unique expertise. The zoo specializes in small population biology and animal care. We can successfully breed, hatch and care for these species until they are large and mature enough for release to the wild – a technique called ‘head-starting’ which gives them a greater chance of survival upon release.”

Ornate box turtle

An ornate box turtle taking its first steps in the prairie. Photo by Sharon Dewar / Lincoln Park Zoo.

Learn more about the release at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Baby Bonobo is a Boy!

The Memphis Zoo announced the baby bonobo born on Mother’s Day is a boy! His name is Mobali. Here are photos of the celebration.

Bonobo

The bonobos open up a box of treats to celebrate. Photo by Laura Horn, Graphic Designer at Memphis Zoo.

Bonobo

It’s a boy! Photo by Laura Horn, Graphic Designer at Memphis Zoo.

Bonobo and baby

A quiet moment for mama and baby Mobali. Photo by Laura Horn, Graphic Designer at Memphis Zoo.

To learn more about bonobos, see our Bonobo Facts page.

Jaguar to Name Cub for Father’s Day

r cubs at Woodland Park Zoo

Three jaguar cubs were born in March to father Junior and mother Nayla. Junior will name his son (pictured in the middle) for Father’s Day. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

At the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, new father Junior will have the opportunity to name his son on Father’s Day. Junior and his partner Nayla became proud parents of triplets back in March. The two female cubs will be named privately, but the male cub will be named in a special ceremony on Sunday.

Zookeepers selected three names original to the jaguar’s native South American range:

1. Cruz, in reference to Bolivia’s Santa Cruz zoo where Junior was born
2. Tlaloc, Aztec meaning “from the earth”
3. Kuwan, from the Hopi Tribe meaning “butterfly showing beautiful wings”

The three names will be individually paired with tasty, enticing piñatas and displayed for Junior in Jaguar Cove during the naming ceremony.  The piñatas will be stuffed with his favorite meats: chicken and ground turkey. Junior will decide his son’s name by selecting which piñata to open.

The piñatas are part of the zoo’s enrichment program, which stimulates the animals’ senses, promotes natural animal behavior and often rewards the animals with tasty, nutritious treats.

To follow the three cubs’ progress, visit the Woodland Park Zoo’s blog.

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UPDATE: After some deliberation, Junior chose the name KUWAN!

jaguar

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Toronto Zoo Breeds Critically Endangered Toad

Puerto Rican crested toad

Photo of an adult Puerto Rican crested toad by Jan P. Zegarra, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tadpoles prepared for shipment to Puerto Rico. Photo by Toronto Zoo.

Tadpoles prepared for shipment to Puerto Rico. Photo by Toronto Zoo.

The conservation team at the Toronto Zoo successfully bred the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad.  They shipped 26,000 tadpoles to Puerto Rico to be released into the wild.

“This is a very proud moment for our conservation team as it not only represents release of an endangered species but we also followed recommendations given to the Species Survival Plan which led to successfully breeding toads from the north and south of Puerto Rico,” said Bob Johnson, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians.

“Traditionally, researchers have always kept and bred the north and south toads separately. This time, on the recommendation of Canadian research geneticist Kaela Beauclerc from Trent University, we are able to increase the genetic makeup of the resulting offspring”, explains Johnson.

Tadpoles

Approximately 26,000 tadpoles were successfully bred by the conservation team. Photo by Toronto Zoo.

Lion Cubs at Busch Gardens

Lion cubs at Busch Gardens

These lion cub sisters were born on March 20 at Busch Gardens. Photo by Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens welcomed three little lions recently. Two female cubs were born on March 20, and an unrelated male cub was born on February 20. All the cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are recognized for their large size and impressive manes on the males.

More information and updates about the progress of the new cubs will be posted on  BuschGardensTampaBlog.com. You can help name the lion cub sisters at the Busch Gardens Tampa Facebook page.

In the wild, lions once inhabited most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Now around 20,000-30,000 of these big cats live in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in protected reserves. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports several projects in Africa, which work to protect and preserve the species.

To learn more about lions, visit our lion facts page.

Lion cubs at Busch Gardens Lion cubs at Busch Gardens

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UPDATE: The winning names for the three-month-old cubs are Shaba, meaning “brazen”, and Shtuko, meaning “twitch”.

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