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.

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

Baby Wildcats at the Nashville Zoo

Clouded leopard and lynx cubs

Feline baby boom at the Nashville Zoo! Pictured above is a baby clouded leopard (left) and a baby Eurasian lynx (right). Photo credit: Amiee Stubbs, Nashville Zoo.

The Nashville Zoo experienced a feline baby boom recently, welcoming two clouded leopard cubs and one Eurasian lynx cub!

The two female clouded leopards were born on April 30 and are currently being hand-raised by zoo staff.

Clouded leopard cubs

Newborn clouded leopard cubs. Photo credit Amiee Stubbs, Nashville Zoo.

Said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo president. “Once they get a little older, these cubs will leave us and serve as ambassadors for clouded leopard conservation at zoos across the country.”

The Nashville Zoo participates in the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, which aims to conserve these rare cats. Breeding clouded leopards is difficult because males are often aggressive and kill potential female partners.

On May 4, the zoo welcomed a female Eurasian lynx, who is also being hand-raised by animal care staff. This little cub will eventually join an educational outreach program at another zoo.

Eurasian lynx cub

Newborn Eurasian lynx shows some personality at the Nashville Zoo. Photo credit Amiee Stubbs.

Eurasian lynx are the largest of the lynx species and inhabit Central Asian, European and Siberian forests.

Remarkable White Rhino Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

White rhino calf

The white rhino calf at one day old. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. See more photos below.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia celebrated the arrival of a healthy male white rhinoceros calf last week. The calf’s birth represents a major conservation achievement!

Said Senior White Rhino Keeper, Pascale Benoit, “Everyone is just over the moon with the arrival of the white rhino calf, especially given the tragic of the loss of four members of this herd to disease last year, and the plummeting numbers of all rhino species in the wild.

“This calf is not only an important birth for Taronga Western Plains Zoo, but for the species as a whole. Mopani [the new calf's mother] had never bred before so to produce an offspring has created a new genetic line and greater genetic diversity within the White Rhino population throughout Australasia.”

In Africa, wild white rhinos are threatened by poaching. Nearly 2000 rhinos have been slaughtered since 2006.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Elephants at Play

Watch a cute and informative video about how elephants communicate with each other as they play. Elephant biologist and conservationist Joyce Poole and her husband, Petter Granli, founders of ElephantVoices, created the video. Poole interprets and explains the elephants’ behavior as they interact.

To learn more about African elephants, see our African elephant facts page.

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day! There are many small steps you can take to help the environment, starting today.

Tomato plants in backyard garden

Here are a few examples:

1. Use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike instead of using a car.
2. Grow your own fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden.
3. Plant a tree or three!
4. Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping.
5. Swap out household cleaning products with biodegradable/eco-friendly versions.

What steps will you take today?

For even more ideas, see the EPA’s page, “Pick 5 for the Environment.”

English Zoo Welcomes Baby Orangutan

Orangutan babyThursday, April 11 saw the birth of a Bornean orangutan at Paignton Zoo. Mother Mali and baby are doing well. This is the first orangutan birth at the zoo since 1997.

Orangutans are in declining populations in the wild, and the birth will help increase numbers of orangutans living in zoos.

Paignton Zoo is located in Devon, England. For more info, visit their site.

Read more about the Bornean Orangutan here.