In the wee hours of New Year’s Day, the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa welcomed a new baby Malayan tapir. The female calf is healthy, weighing about 15 pounds (and gaining).
Baby tapirs have a spotted pattern to help camouflage them from predators. Eventually, the baby’s spotted coat will fade to a solid black and white pattern. In the wild, Malayan tapirs are endangered, inhabiting the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Their population is threatened by human activity like deforestation and illegal trade.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a male baby Coquerel’s sifaka on November 12 and named him Nero. At birth, the baby lemur weighed 94 grams, about the weight of a deck of cards. According to Meredith Wagoner, mammal collection and conservation manager, “Sifaka are born with sparse hair and resemble tiny gremlins, however their white hair soon grows in, and they begin to resemble their parents.”
In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka inhabit the island of Madagascar. They are endangered as a result of habitat loss from deforestation. Sifaka are different from other lemurs in the way they hop through treetops in an upright posture using only their hind legs. They propel themselves on the ground by side-hopping on their hind legs.
Although she is over a hundred years old, Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens resident Alberta didn’t let her age stop her from motherhood. Alberta, a Santa Cruz Galapagos tortoise, hid her eggs and nest from keepers for months while they incubated. On Thursday, the zookeepers made a surprising discovery of four hatchlings in a buried nest. A fifth baby was later found wandering around the exhibit.
The babies are currently small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. But Galapagos tortoises can reach 400 kg (880 lb.) in their long lifetime.
Galapagos tortoises are the largest species of tortoise. In the wild, they inhabit the Galapagos Islands, which are located 1,000 km (620 mi) west of Ecuador. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN Redlist.
Semeru, a zoo-born Sumatran orangutan, will be released into a national park in Indonesia to help save the species from extinction.
Semeru, a six-year-old male Sumatran orangutan who was born and raised in the Perth Zoo in Australia, will be released into Bukit Tigapulah National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild, and Semeru’s introduction into the park would increase the genetic diversity of the orangutan population there.
To ensure Semeru will be able to survive in the wild after living his whole life only in captivity, zoo keepers and veterinarians spent a year preparing him for the transition.
According to Environment Minister Bill Marmion, “Semeru will be closely monitored and supported on a daily basis with two dedicated trackers for two years and longer if necessary while he adjusts to life in the forest.
“Semeru’s pre-release preparation has included the introduction of Indonesian fruits, enrichment items to sharpen his foraging skills and access to a large fig tree to increase his fitness and hone his climbing and nest-making skills.
“Semeru has also been fitted with a radio transmitter implant which will help trackers monitor him in the dense terrain of Bukit Tigpauluh.”
Sumatran tiger cub at Oklahoma City Zoo. (Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman and Newsok)
The Oklahoma City Zoo recently put its four Sumatran tiger cubs, which were born on July 9, out for public display. According to Oklahoma City Zoo’s Mammal Curator Laura Bottaro, “These beautiful cats are a critically endangered species and every birth enables us to further the health and conservation of the species.” In the wild, Sumatran tigers live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are the smallest subspecies of tiger. To learn more about the Sumatran tiger cubs, see the Oklahoma City Zoo website.
The Toledo Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of two Amur tiger cubs, which were born September 26. They will go on public display in January. Amur tigers (aka Siberian tigers) are endangered and reside in a small region in southeast Russia. They are also located in small numbers in China and North Korea. Amur tigers are the largest subspecies of tiger. To learn more about Amur tigers, see Animal Fact Guide’s article, Siberian Tiger. To learn more about the new tiger cubs, see the Toledo Zoo website.
September 22nd, 2011 is World Rhino Day! Rhinos around the world are in trouble, with only 27,000 rhinos left. The main cause for the population decline is from poachers, who sell the horns for Asian medicines.
However, according to Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, the world rhino populations can still be saved if we can find ways to stop poaching.
“After so much effort and funding has been ploughed into rhino protection in Africa, we cannot lose the momentum. We look to each country’s national authorities to hold up their side of our shared commitment to conserve rhinos,” Ellis asserted in a press release.
“We know how to bring these species numbers back up. But we have to get poaching and other human-induced losses under control. Along with all of our partners, we hope to call attention to the good, the bad and the hopeful news through World Rhino Day this Thursday.”
On Tuesday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 14, starting at 8pm both nights, Nat Geo WILD is airing a special program devoted to sustaining vulnerable species called Miracle Babies. In five hour-long episodes, viewers gain a window into the world of baby pandas, leopards, Tasmanian devils, lemurs, koalas, wallabies, ibises, parrots, and more.
Watch a video below of cute baby pandas raised in captivity in Chengdu, China:
Watch a video below of adorable baby sifaka lemurs:
Watch a video below of two baby Tasmanian devils (one baby even gets hiccups after feeding):
According to the IUCN Redlist, sand cats are threatened in the wild. They inhabit the deserts of the Middle East and northern Africa. There, they hunt primarily small rodents and get all of their water from consuming their prey.
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington is home to two grizzly bear brothers named Keema and Denali. Now you can watch the bears live at your computer! The zoo installed a webcam in the bears’ enclosure, so you can watch them forage, fish, and more! During the summer months, the best time to see the grizzlies is between 10:00 – 11:00 am PT and 2:00 – 3:00 pm PT.
On Wednesday, August 3, at 11:15 am PT, you can watch live as zookeepers set up piñatas for the bears!
In the wild, grizzly bears inhabit Alaska, western Canada, and parts of the northwestern United States. In the US, grizzly bears are a protected species under the Endangered Species Act. They are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, development, and mining. Only about 1200 – 1400 grizzly bears live in five separate populations in the continental US, including areas in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington. To learn more about grizzly bears, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Grizzly Bear.