Year in Review: Baby Animals of 2014

This year, we fell in love with many new fuzzy faces and cuddly cuties.  Here are a few of our favorite baby animals of 2014!

Best Peek-a-Boo:
Nashville Zoo had a bounty of little kangaroo joeys popping up left and right this fall.  Here’s one of them:

Kangaroo joey peeking out from pouch

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Cutest Yawn:
Three male lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on October 24. We love the middle guy’s yawn! Spending 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting, lions are the laziest of the big cats. In the wild, they can be found lying on their backs with their feet up or taking a snooze up in a tree.

Three lion cubs

Photo by Photo by Dr. Darin Collins / Woodland Park Zoo.

Bounciest Baby:
A baby klipspringer was born on March 30 at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The term “klipspringer” is Afrikaans for “rock jumper”, and this little antelope sure does live up to her name!

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Cutest Snout:
Busch Gardens welcomed a Southern tamandua (or lesser anteater) on April 13. In the wild, tamanduas inhabit Central and South America.

Southern tamandua

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Best Belly Rolls:
This little roly-poly hippo calf, born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia on September 11, is just irresistible. In the wild, hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. The hippopotamus is the second heaviest land mammal in the world!

Baby hippo and mama

Photo by Anthony Dorian / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Rarest Birth:
Chimelong Safari Park, a zoo in southern China, announced the birth of giant panda triplets this summer. Panda triplets are incredibly rare, and usually, at least one of the cubs do not survive. Born on July 29, these three panda cubs have all survived and mother Juxiao is tending to each of them.


Photo by Chimelong Safari Park.

Coziest Hug:
The Memphis Zoo welcomed a male baby bonobo on April 28 named Mpingo (EM-pingo), which is a type of African tree.  The wood from mpingo trees are used to make musical instruments, and so mpingos are sometimes referred to as “trees that make music”. According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “He certainly brings harmony and joy to the group.”

Baby bonobo and mother

Photo by Laura Horn. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Cutest Hybrid:
Butterfly is a geep (goat-sheep hybrid) born at My Petting Zoo in Scottsdale, Arizona. Born in July, she has the features of a goat and the curly wool of a lamb!

Geep: goat-sheep hybrid

Photo by My Petting Zoo.

We hope you enjoyed our roundup of adorable animal babies of 2014! Happy New Year!

Baby Alpaca Arrives at Nashville Zoo

Baby alpaca

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

On December 13, Nashville Zoo welcomed a baby alpaca into the world! The male calf, named Bandit, is the first baby alpaca to be born at the zoo.

“Based on the mother’s weight gain, we had predicted the baby would be born in spring, so his arrival on a December Saturday morning was quite a surprise,” said Kacie Cummings, Contact Area Supervisor. “We are thrilled that baby Bandit is healthy and on exhibit with the rest of our alpacas.”

The baby now weighs 14 pounds and stands at 2 feet tall. He will be on exhibit at Critter Encounters, an interactive area where guests can get up-close experiences with goats, camels, Galapagos tortoises, and birds, throughout the winter.

Baby alpaca

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Alpacas are domesticated animals native to the mountains of South America.

Learn more at the Nashville Zoo website.

Baby Aardvark at Nebraska Zoo

The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska welcomed a baby aardvark on October 1. The little calf, who currently weighs around 12 pounds, is now on public display!

Baby aardvark

Photo by Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

When the little guy or gal (the baby’s gender is still unknown at this time) reaches adulthood, he or she will weigh anywhere from 110-150 pounds.

In the wild, aardvarks live throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. They have long, sticky tongues that help them catch termites and ants. Their long, tubular snouts help them reach into termite mounds.

Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo

Kangaroo joey peeking out from pouch

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Kangaroo joeys are popping up left and right at Nashville Zoo! Up to six of the zoo’s nine female kangaroos are carrying joeys, and now many of the little ‘roos are old enough to peek out from their mothers’ pouches.

“We have been waiting with anticipation for a joey sighting since confirming the first pregnancy in April,” said Kacie Cummings, Contact Areas Supervisor. “Our joeys range in age from one month to six months, so getting the opportunity to see them at the different stages of development throughout the next year will be exciting for our guests.”

Kangaroo and joey

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Learn more at the Nashville Zoo website.

Lion Cubs at Woodland Park Zoo

Three lion cubs

Three male lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Photo by Dr. Darin Collins / Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA welcomed three male African lion cubs on October 24. Mother Adia and cubs are bonding and nursing well in an off-view maternity den. Zoo staff will monitor the newborn lions over the next several weeks to ensure their healthy development.

Watch a video of Adia and her cubs the day they were born:

In the wild, African lions inhabit the grasslands, shrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN Red List. They are threatened by loss/fragmentation of habitat as well as disease. They are also killed by humans in bravery rituals, as hunting trophies, for medicinal powers, or by ranchers protecting their livestock. To learn more about lions, see our lion facts article.

Learn more about the lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo at their blog.

Baby Francois Langur at Lincoln Park Zoo

Francois langur mother and baby

Just in time for Halloween, a Francois langur named Pumpkin gave birth to a bright orange baby. This is the fifth baby for mother Pumpkin and father Cartman.

“The newest Francois’ langur is healthy, nursing regularly and is showing signs of growth,” said Curator of Primates, Maureen Leahy. “Older sister Orla has already shown her support by alloparenting, a process in which the other female monkeys take turns carrying and providing care to the young.”

Although adult Francois langurs are distinguished by their black and white coloring, baby Francois langurs have an orange coat. Scientists believe this encourages alloparenting because the infants are easily identified. The orange fur fades to black after 3-6 months.

In the wild, Francois langurs inhabit southern Guangxi province of China, northern Vietnam and west-central Laos.

Learn more about the Francois langur baby at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Baby Hippo at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Baby hippo

A baby hippo was born on September 11 at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Photo by Anthony Dorian / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A baby hippo made its grand entrance at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia.  Born to mother Cuddles and father Mana on September 11, the calf weighs 40 kg. The sex of the newborn has yet to be determined by zoo staff.

“It’s very much early days still, so we are keeping a close eye on both mum and calf, but so far Cuddles is proving to be a good, attentive mother,” said Hippo Keeper, Carolene Magner.

She added, “Over the coming months we will start to see the calf grow and develop more and hopefully start to come out of the water with its mother at feed time.”

Baby hippo and mama

Photo by Anthony Dorian / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby hippo and mama

Photo by Anthony Dorian / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

To learn more about the hippo calf, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

For more information about hippos, see our hippo facts article.

Red Panda Cub Arrives at Nashville Zoo

Red panda cub

Photo by Nashville Zoo.

On July 3rd, Nashville Zoo welcomed a new fuzzy face- a female red panda cub! Both the cub and her mother are doing well in their off exhibit den.

“This is the first birth of a red panda at Nashville Zoo, so it is certainly cause for celebration,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “Though the cub can’t be seen on exhibit right now, we hope she will make her debut this fall and bring attention to the fight to save this species.”

Red pandas are considered vulnerable of extinction. In the wild, they inhabit the mountains of central China, Nepal, and northern Myanmar.  Threats to their survival include habitat loss and high infant mortality rates.

The Nashville Zoo’s red panda pair are part of AZA’s Species Survival Program, which is a breeding program that aims to produce a self-sustaining, genetically diverse captive population.

For more information about the red panda cub, visit the Nashville Zoo’s blog.