Lincoln Park Zoo Welcomes Baby Camel

Bactrian camel

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

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.

Baby River Otters at Oakland Zoo

River otter baby

Oakland Zoo staff perform regular checkups on the newest members of the river otter family. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

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.)

River otter baby

Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Baby river otter

Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Baby river otter

Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Baby River otter

Photo by Oakland Zoo.

To learn more, visit the Oakland Zoo website.

 

Double Cuteness: Two Baby Sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Baby sloths

Meet the newest baby sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Daisy’s baby (left) and Grizzly’s baby (right). Photo by Busch Gardens.

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.

Baby sloth being hand-fed.

The animal care team feeds Grizzly’s baby by syringe. Photo by Busch Gardens.

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.

Linne's sloth baby

The animal care team checks Daisy’s baby, who is still under her daily care.

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.

The Great Octopus Escape: Inky Breaks out of New Zealand Aquarium

Inky the octopus

Inky the octopus at National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. Photo by National Aquarium of New Zealand.

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.

 

Bison Return to Montana Homeland

Bison calves

Bison aboard a truck waiting to be transported to Montana. Photo by Jeff Morey/WCS

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.

Chilean Flamingo Chicks Thrive at Chicago Zoo

Chilean Flamingo chickThe 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.

VIDEO: Baby Sea Otter Sleeping on Mother’s Belly

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California caught an adorable moment on camera: a mother otter with her newborn pup sleeping on her belly.

Mama otter is actually a wild otter who ventured into the protected basin of the Great Tide Pool area of the aquarium to rest from the winter storms. She gave birth to her pup on December 20.

Learn more at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Tumblr page.

Oakland Zoo Welcomes a Baby Baboon

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya at Oakland Zoo. “Akila” is a Swahili word meaning “intelligent.” Little Akila spends most of her time nursing and clinging to her mother’s back. She has four rambunctious older siblings.

Baby baboon and parents

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya.

The zoo also acquired two new male baboons from Prospect Park Zoo. The two 2-year-old newcomers, Milo and Kusa, are fitting in well with the troop at Oakland Zoo.

“The introductions are going wonderfully,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “We didn’t expect it to go so quickly or smoothly, but we were pleasantly surprised. The great thing about baboons is that they are very family oriented and since the new boys are not sexually mature yet, Martijn has accepted them pretty easily.”

Learn more at the Oakland Zoo website.

Giant Panda Cub Bei Bei to Debut in January

Meet Bei Bei, the newest fuzzy face at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  Bei Bei (“bay-bay”), a giant panda cub, was born in August to mother Mei Xiang. His name means “precious treasure.” Currently at four months, he weighs 17.5 pounds.

Bei Bei will be on public display, along with his mother and big sister Bao Bao, on January 16.

To learn more about Bei Bei, see the National Zoo website. You can also watch him on their live streaming panda cam.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts article.