A baby wallaroo took its first hops at Oakland Zoo recently. Keepers estimate the joey was born in October-November (although it’s impossible to determine its exact birth date). The joey now comes out to graze and explore its surrounding, but hops back into its mother’s pouch for safety.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, outside Sydney, Australia, welcomed a female baby plains zebra to their herd at the end of July. The energetic little foal is named Zina, which is Swahili for “free spirit”.
“Both mother and foal are doing really well which is to be expected from an experienced mother like Kijani,” said keeper Carolene Magner. “Zina is staying close by her mother’s side at present but does enjoy a gallop around the paddock in the morning.”
In the wild, plains zebras (or common zebras) inhabit the grasslands of eastern and southern Africa.
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago celebrated Father’s Day weekend with the arrival of a female Grevy’s zebra foal. It was the first zebra birth at the zoo since 2012! The baby zebra is the third foal for mother Adia and the first for father Webster.
In the wild, Grevy’s zebras are considered endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. They are native to eastern Africa, ranging from Ethiopia to Kenya.
Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
“Research tells us that fostering an emotional connection between humans and animals is key to creating a real commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Dana Murphy. “Species like zebras, with which we are relatively familiar—and become so at an early age—help us forge that connection and inspire our guests to care about their future.”
For more about Lincoln Park’s baby zebra, visit their website.
On May 9, a male baby Bactrian camel was born at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. It is the first camel calf born at the zoo since 1998!
Weighing 81 pounds at birth and standing at 4 feet tall, the calf joins his mother Nassan, his father Scooter, and two adult female camels at the zoo’s Antelope Zebra Area.
“We’re ecstatic to welcome a Bactrian camel calf to the zoo,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “He is still a bit wobbly on his feet but remains quite strong and is ready to begin meeting the rest of the herd.”
When the calf matures to an adult size, he could weigh as much as 1,500 pounds and stand as tall as 7 feet.
Bactrian camels have two humps (as opposed to dromedary camels, which have only one hump on their back). The humps are filled with fat, which provides energy to the camel when food is scarce. The camels also have thick brown fur to keep them warm in the winter. During the summer months, they shed fur to make their coat thinner.
To learn more about the Bactrian camel calf, visit the Lincoln Park Zoo website.
On Mother’s Day, two North American river otters at the Oakland Zoo had lots to celebrate. The two new moms have had their paws full with three pups each for the past few months.
Rose, the younger of the two moms, gave birth to a litter of two males and one female on January 25. A few weeks later, on February 20, Ginger gave birth to a litter of two females and one male.
Zoo staff has been monitoring the pups and administering regular checkups to ensure they are in good health. The pups have remained off exhibit while they nurse, grow, and learn to swim. (Swimming is not instinctual for otter pups.)
To learn more, visit the Oakland Zoo website.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay recently welcomed two baby sloths!
A Hoffman’s two-toed sloth was born on March 24 to mother Grizzly and father Teddy. The little one only weighed 186 grams (6.6 ounces) at birth and wasn’t nursing regularly. So the animal care team at Busch Gardens decided to hand-nurse the baby via syringe every two hours. Currently, the baby is healthy and under 24-hour watch.
A Linne’s two-toed sloth was born on April 2 to mother Daisy and father Mario. Weighing 550 grams (19.4 ounces) at birth, the baby is currently healthy and being cared for by its mother. The animal care team is monitoring closely.
Watch a video below of the two baby sloths:
One interesting fact about two-toed sloths is that they actually have three toes. (All sloths have three toes per foot.) But two-toed sloths have only two claws per foot. For more interesting sloth facts, see our article about the brown-throated three-toed sloth.
Inky, an octopus at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, made a spectacular nighttime escape. The contortionist octopus squeezed through a tiny gap at the top of his enclosure, then scuttled 8 feet across the floor to a drain pipe. After sliding 164 feet down the pipe, he dropped down to freedom (or specifically, Hawke’s Bay which opens out into the Pacific Ocean).
According to the aquarium’s manager, Rob Yarrall, “He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean, and off he went. Didn’t even leave us a message.”
Blotchy the octopus (Inky’s aquarium mate) decided against adventure and remained at the aquarium.
For more about Inky, see the New York Times.
For more great escapes, see our archive of animal escapes.
Learn more amazing facts about octopuses at our Common Octopus article.
In a collaboration between the Blackfeet Nation, Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada, Oakland Zoo, and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), 88 bison were transferred from Elk Island to the Blackfeet Nation Reservation near Browning, Montana.
This transfer marks a truly historic occasion for the Blackfeet people, whose cultural identity is strongly wrapped up in the icon of the buffalo (or bison, as they are known scientifically).
“The Blackfeet People were a buffalo people for thousands of years,“ said Harry Barnes, Chair of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. “The buffalo provided everything the people needed in the way of food, clothing, and shelter. It provided for so much of our physical needs that it filled our spiritual needs. It connected us to our animal and plant relatives in a way nothing else could provide. The elders have long believed that until the buffalo returned, the Blackfeet would drift. We have started the return.”
In 1873, bison from the Blackfoot land were captured and formed the “Pablo-Allard” herd. They were sold to to the Canadian government in the early 1900s. The Elk Island bison are the descendants of that herd.
“Today marks the long-awaited return of these buffalo to their original homeland,” said Ervin Carlson, Bison Program Director and President of the Intertribal Buffalo Council. “The Elk Island Buffalo originated from Blackfeet territory and their homecoming enhances the restoration of Blackfeet culture. These animals are culturally and spiritually connected to our people and I believe their homecoming will begin a healing of historical trauma to the Blackfeet people. These buffalo will begin the longstanding efforts to restore buffalo to their historical mountain front rangelands.”
To learn more about bison, see our American bison facts article.
The animal care staff at Lincoln Park Zoo successfully hand-reared 5 Chilean flamingo chicks that had hatched between September 11-28, 2015.
Now on view at the zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon, the grey and fuzzy chicks weigh around 2-3 kg, roughly 30 times their weight since hatch.
“These chicks are a true testament to the dedicated animal care staff here at Lincoln Park Zoo,” said Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds. “We’re excited to share the chicks with our visitors and to learn from these chicks to further our knowledge of the species.”
When the flamingos hatched, animal care staff collected shell fragments for DNA testing. This is a non-invasive way to determine the sex of the birds. The tests revealed that two of the chicks are male and three are female.
In the wild, Chilean flamingos live in large flocks in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Like all flamingos, the Chilean species has pink plumage – or feathers – but are born with white-grey plumage and show the full iconic coloration at around 2-years-old. Chilean flamingos have the ability to tolerate extreme conditions, which makes them well suited for Chicago’s harsh winters.
Learn more at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.