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.

Malayan Tiger Cubs at Busch Gardens

Malayan tiger cub at Busch Gardens

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.

Malayan tiger cub at Busch Gardens

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.

To learn more about the Malayan tiger cubs, see BuschGardensTampaBlog.com.

Endangered Lemur Born at Maryland Zoo

Baby lemur

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.

Coquerel's sifaka

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!

For more information and photos of the baby sifaka, see the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore’s website.

Baby Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys

Watch a video of baby golden snub-nosed monkeys and their mothers in the Panda Valley of the Guanyinshan National Nature Reserve in China.

In the wild, golden snub-nosed monkeys inhabit the temperate, mountainous forests in central China. They are considered endangered by the IUCN Redlist due to forest loss.

The Decline of Forest Elephants

Photo by Peter H. Wrege

Photo of an African forest elephant by Peter H. Wrege

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.

Learn more about African elephants on our African Elephant Facts Page.

Rare Turtle Hatched at Oklahoma Zoo

Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatchling.

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.

Exploring Panda Bear Cuteness

Prompted by the public debut of Xiao Liwu at the San Diego Zoo, NPR’s The Two-Way discussed why we find panda bears utterly adorable.

For example, why do we find pandas so cute…

…while eating bamboo?

…while eating leaves?

…while hanging on a fence?

…while sleeping on a branch?

…while sleeping on some logs?

…while sleeping on a rock?

…or while just plain sleeping?

The reason according to NPR is that their big eyes, button noses, round faces, and clumsy yet cuddly bodies invoke parenting instincts in humans.

Read more about various panda bear cuteness research at NPR’s The Two-Way.

Learn more about pandas in Animal Fact Guide’s article, Giant Panda.

Tiger Diaries: Sumatran Tigers at the National Zoo

Two Sumatran tigers

Kavi and Damai are the National Zoo’s resident Sumatran tigers.

Will Kavi and Damai hit it off? Will we see babies in the near future? The Tiger Diaries takes you behind the scenes at the National Zoo, following the lives of their resident Sumatran tigers, Kavi and Damai.

In the wild, Sumatran tigers are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Only 400 Sumatran tigers exist today. The National Zoo’s program to breed Sumatran tigers plays a major role in preserving this rare species.

Learn more at the National Zoo website.