International Tiger Day takes place on July 29th, and Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida will be celebrating all weekend. In addition to discussions on tigers, feedings, and face painting, proceeds from the tigress and cubs plush toys sold in the Tiger Lodge gift shop in the Jungala area will be donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. On exhibit will be the endangered Malayan tiger cubs pictured.
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.
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.
Approximately 26,000 tadpoles were successfully bred by the conservation team. Photo by Toronto Zoo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed three Malayan tiger cubs on March 31st. There were two males and one female, each weighing around 6 pounds.
These births were part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Malayan tiger births are rare in captive breeding programs. There was only one successful birth in 2012, and this is the first Malayan tiger birth at Busch Gardens Tampa. The animal care team is monitoring the cubs and parents around the clock.
According to the IUCN Redlist, Malayan tigers are considered endangered in the wild. There are only 500 Malayan tigers living in their native habitat, which is the southern tip of Thailand and the Malay Peninsula. Threats include habitat fragmentation and poaching.
Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.
A little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur) was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. The newborn, named Max, resembled a tiny gremlin when born, with a bald black face, round yellow eyes, and pointy ears. Now, the white fur has grown in, and Max resembles his parents, Ana and Gratian.
For the first month, baby Coquerel’s sifaka ride on their mother’s bellies, and then transition to riding on their mother’s backs. Carey Ricciardone, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Maryland Zoo said of Max: “By the end of April, he will begin to sample solid food and crawl on Ana’s back periodically and he should begin to venture a few feet away from her by six to eight weeks of age.”
In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa. They spend most of their lives in the treetops in two protected areas in the sparse dry, deciduous forests on the northwestern side of the island. As with many species of lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka are endangered, threatened by deforestation.
Sifaka have a very interesting way of moving on land. Here’s a video of some of them leaping!
A new study has revealed that from 2002 – 2011, 62% of forest elephants had been wiped out in central Africa. Organized criminal gangs have been slaughtering whole herds of elephants to profit from a rapidly expanding illegal ivory trade.
Elephants, who are highly intelligent creatures, are aware of the danger they face and have tried to adapt. They avoid roads and travel silently during the night. But these tactics are not enough when facing the onslaught of gangs wielding automatic assault weapons and grenades.
If nothing changes, African elephants are on a short path to extinction.
To learn more about the plight of African elephants, see:
If you would like to help elephants, you can write to your politicians to speak out against poaching. (Americans can write a letter to the Secretary of State on the Wildlife Conservation Society website.) For information on organizations that combat the illegal ivory trade, see National Geographic’s page, Blood Ivory: How to Help.