Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatchling. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed a Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatching last week. Although the baby turtle will not be on display at the zoo, the birth marks a significant step in preserving a critically endangered species.
In the wild, Madagascar flat-tailed tortoises inhabit the closed-canopy, dry forests of Madagascar. They are highly threatened by habitat loss, due to agricultural and highway development, mining, and petroleum exploration.
The turtle birth was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan. For more information, see The Oklahoman.
The owners of Chris P. Bacon, a little piglet born without hind legs, constructed a mini wheelchair out of K’Nex pieces. This special contraption is attached to the piglet with a harness and allows the little guy to explore to his heart’s content.
The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida welcomed a baby jaguar on January 26. The cub, whose gender is still unknown, is bonding well with mother Masaya. Zoo visitors will be able to see the cub in a few months.
In the wild, jaguars inhabit the dense forests and swampy grasslands of Central and South America. They hunt deer, monkeys, tapirs, capybara, turtles and fish. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, jaguars are considered near threatened by the IUCN Red List.
A female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin calf bonds with her mother at Discovery Cove in Florida.
A female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin calf was born at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida on November 30. The baby weighed 35 pounds and measured 3.5 feet long.
This birth is notable because scientists were able to pre-select the dolphin’s gender using a new technology called “sperm-sexing” where X chromosomes (which produce female offspring) are separated from Y chromosomes (which produce male offspring). This advancement allows scientists to preserve genetic diversity in dolphins.
According to SeaWorld, the new baby is doing well, continuing to develop and bonding with her mother.
Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida welcomed a baby pygmy hippo on November 15. The female pygmy hippo calf weighs about 10 pounds. As an adult, she will grow to be about 350-550 pounds and stand about three feet tall at the shoulder. Pygmy hippos are much smaller than their relative, the Nile hippo.
The little calf has not yet been named, but the zoo is launching a naming contest on its Wild Wonderland website. The zoo’s animal care team has selected several African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother hippo “Zsa Zsa.” The name that receives the highest number of votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner.
The birth is the second in the zoo’s history and a great step in preserving the population of these rare hippos. “The birth of this rare and endangered nocturnal forest species marks only the 55th individual in the managed population within North American and underlines the importance of our
conservation efforts with this species,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation. “With fewer than 3,000 pigmy hippos in the wild, each birth is vital if we have any hope of saving this truly unique species.”
In the wild, the pygmy can be found in West Africa in lowland forests. The species is mainly confined to Liberia, with small numbers in neighboring countries. The animals are comfortable both on land and in water, but rest and forage near waterways. They can most often be seen in shady sites near swamps, riverbanks or muddy areas.
Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is excited to announce that the baby gorilla born last month is a girl! The zoo has named the little one Patty, in honor of Patty Meyers, who was a long-time supporter of Lincoln Park Zoo.
Both Patty and her mother Bana are doing well and will continue to be monitored by zoo staff.
Bana enjoys a healthy snack while caring for 1-month-old Patty.
A rare white rhino was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a female baby white rhinoceros on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. The baby is the second calf born to mother Kisiri and the seventh calf born to father Tambo. Busch Gardens has celebrated a total of seven white rhino births since October 2004. The new baby weighed an estimated 140 pounds at birth. The newborn – who has yet to be named – will gain approximately four pounds each day until it reaches an adult weight of approximately 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.
Busch Gardens participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetic diversification among threatened and endangered animals in zoological facilities. The birth brings the total white and black rhino population at the adventure park to eight.
Kisiri, Tambo and another female white rhino were airlifted from Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2001 through the efforts of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of rhinos. Fewer than 15,000 white rhinos remain in the wild, and approximately 200 live in zoological facilities across North America.