VIDEO: First Giant Panda Cubs Born in Canada

The two little panda cubs born at Toronto Zoo are now a month old! Although they were born pink and hairless, they now resemble their mother Er Shun with the distinctive black and white markings.

The larger of the cubs weighs 1 kg, while the smaller one weighs 750 grams.

Giant panda and cub

Er Shun and her cub. Photo by Toronto Zoo.

Learn more about Toronto Zoo’s giant panda cubs at their website.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts article.

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.

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:

VIDEO: White Lion Cubs at Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is pleased to announce that Makali, a four-year-old white lioness, gave birth to four cubs on September 26-27.

The little lion cubs are healthy, feeding well, and staying in the maternity area of the lion habitat at the zoo. The first thirty days will be critical for the cubs and zoo staff will continue to monitor them closely.

Learn more about lions at our lion facts article.

VIDEO: Pink Dolphin in Louisiana

A rare pink bottlenose dolphin was recently captured on video by charter boat captain Erik Rue. Pinky was first spotted by Rue in 2007. To everyone’s delight, Pinky made another appearance eight years later, and she might be pregnant!

Pinky the dolphin

Image by Erik Rue.

According to scientist Greg Barsh, Pinky is most likely an albino. The pink hue comes from the blood vessels showing through her pale skin, which has no color. Albinism happens when there is a genetic mutation. The cells that make melanin, which produces the color in hair and skin, fail to make enough pigment, if any at all. People who have albinism have very pale skin, eyes, and hair.

Albinos can suffer from skin and vision issues as a result of their lack of melanin. Animals with albinism may be easily spotted by predators because they lack the appropriate camouflage. Therefore, albino animals, such as Pinky, are very rare in the wild.

Learn more about Pinky at National Geographic.

Discover more interesting facts about dolphins at our bottlenose dolphin 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:


VIDEO: Great White Shark Rescue in Cape Cod

A juvenile great white shark beached itself in Chatham, Massachusetts yesterday.  With the help of beach goers, the harbor master, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the shark was able to safely return to the water!

Watch Part I of the rescue here:

and Part II:

Learn more about sharks in our great white shark article.

Orphaned Tree Kangaroo Saved in World First

Tree kangaroo at Adelaide Zoo

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.

Tree kangaroo joey being transferred.

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.

Tree kangaroo joey in rock wallaby pouch

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.

Watch a video of Makaia below: