Year in Review: Baby Animals of 2013

What a wonderful year it’s been for adorable baby animals! Here are a few highlights:

Most Eager Eyes: Pictured below is one of two female lion cubs who were born at Busch Gardens on March 20. The cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are recognized for their large size and impressive manes on the males.

Lion cubs at Busch Gardens

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Best Peek-a-Boo: Max, 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. In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Baby lemur

Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.

 Most Spiky: The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed a North American porcupette (baby porcupine) on April 18. Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators.

Baby porcupine at Woodland Park Zoo

The new porcupette at one day old at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo.

Best Hugger: This baby bonobo was born on May 12 at the Memphis Zoo. In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered.

Bonobo and baby

Bonobo baby with mom Kiri. Photo credit: Laura Horn, Memphis Zoo.

Sleepiest Piggy-Backer: It’s a tie between this baby anteater and this baby spider monkey, both of whom were born in June at Busch Gardens!

http://www.animalfactguide.com/2012/07/baby-animals-at-busch-gardens/

Weighing less than 5 pounds, this baby anteater will eventually grow to be over 100 pounds. The little anteater will ride on his mother’s back for about a year.

Spider monkey

This baby spider monkey got comfy sleeping on his mother’s back.

Rare Birth: King is an Eastern black rhinoceros born at the Lincoln Park Zoo on August 26. In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.

King, a baby rhino.

After a few timid steps, King gained confidence in the outdoor exhibit, taking in all the new sights and scents. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo.

Cutest Snout: Meet Gabana, a baby giant anteater born at the Nashville Zoo on November 16. In the wild, giant anteaters inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN.

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Tallest Baby: In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Hope you enjoyed our roundup of cute animal babies of 2013. Happy New Year!

Baby Rhino Makes His Public Debut

Eastern black rhinos

King, with his mother Kapuki by his side, makes his public debut. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo

Newly-named Eastern black rhinoceros calf, King, made his public debut today at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The baby rhino, who already weighs in at 200 pounds, thrilled zoo-goers as he trotted out into the Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Exhibit, exploring the sights and scents. He and his mother Kapuki had been bonding behind the scenes since his birth on August 26.

In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.

King and Kapuki, rhinos at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

After a few timid steps, King gained confidence in the outdoor exhibit, taking in all the new sights and scents. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo.

“Breeding programs at zoos are of crucial importance to the survival of these remarkable animals, particularly as the numbers in the wild continue to dwindle,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “King will serve as an excellent ambassador for his species.”

For more information, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Remarkable White Rhino Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

White rhino calf

The white rhino calf at one day old. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. See more photos below.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia celebrated the arrival of a healthy male white rhinoceros calf last week. The calf’s birth represents a major conservation achievement!

Said Senior White Rhino Keeper, Pascale Benoit, “Everyone is just over the moon with the arrival of the white rhino calf, especially given the tragic of the loss of four members of this herd to disease last year, and the plummeting numbers of all rhino species in the wild.

“This calf is not only an important birth for Taronga Western Plains Zoo, but for the species as a whole. Mopani [the new calf's mother] had never bred before so to produce an offspring has created a new genetic line and greater genetic diversity within the White Rhino population throughout Australasia.”

In Africa, wild white rhinos are threatened by poaching. Nearly 2000 rhinos have been slaughtered since 2006.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The baby white rhino, yet to be named, with mother Mopani. Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

White rhino calf

Photo credit: Leonie Saville, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby White Rhinoceros at Busch Gardens

Baby white rhino at Busch Gardens

A rare white rhino was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a female baby white rhinoceros on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. The baby is the second calf born to mother Kisiri and the seventh calf born to father Tambo. Busch Gardens has celebrated a total of seven white rhino births since October 2004. The new baby weighed an estimated 140 pounds at birth. The newborn – who has yet to be named – will gain approximately four pounds each day until it reaches an adult weight of approximately 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.

Baby white rhino

Busch Gardens participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetic diversification among threatened and endangered animals in zoological facilities. The birth brings the total white and black rhino population at the adventure park to eight.

Kisiri, Tambo and another female white rhino were airlifted from Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2001 through the efforts of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of rhinos. Fewer than 15,000 white rhinos remain in the wild, and approximately 200 live in zoological facilities across North America.

Rare Sumatran Rhino Calf Born

On June 23, Ratu, a rare Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia, gave birth to a healthy male calf who weighs between 60 and 70 pounds.

“We are overjoyed that Ratu delivered a healthy calf and are cautiously optimistic that the calf will continue to thrive,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation. “The little guy is absolutely adorable, and none of us has been able to stop smiling since the moment we were sure he was alive and healthy. We have been waiting for this moment since the sanctuary was built in 1998. The International Rhino Foundation is honored to play an important role in protecting rhinos. We are hopeful the Sumatran rhino population will thrive once again.”

Ratu had miscarried two calves prior to this pregnancy, but this time, sanctuary staff gave her a hormone supplement that prevented her from miscarrying again. (Read all our posts about Ratu here.)

With fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos living in Indonesia and Malaysia, this birth is a significant step in preserving the population. They face threats such as continuing loss of their tropical forest habitat and hunting.

For more information, see the International Rhino Foundation website.

World Rhino Day

Indian RhinocerosSeptember 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.”

Learn about the Indian Rhinoceros on Animal Fact Guide.

Vulnerable Indian Rhinos Moved to New Habitat

Indian rhinos

Two female Indian rhinos leave their crate for their new home in Manas National Park in Assam, India. Photo credit: Dipankar Ghose, WWF-India

Two female Indian rhinoceroses – one adult and one juvenile – have been successfully translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park (both situated in Assam, India).  Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has a very dense population of rhinos in its 18 square kilometers (4,450 acres) of rhino habitat, so by moving some of its population to another park, conservationists hope to regrow a viable rhino population in Manas National Park.

The operation of relocating the animals was no small task. According to the International Rhino Foundation:

Under the guidance of veterinarians, field workers, park guards, conservationists and forest department officials, the two animals were captured and released within 24 hours.  Veterinarians darted the animals with tranquilizers, then transported them 250 km in crates specially-designed to hold the 1.5 to 2 ton pachyderms.

The successful translocation was made possible by a collaboration among the government of Assam, the International Rhino Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Bodoland Territorial Council, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Their project, the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020, aims to attain a population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven of Assam’s protected areas by the year 2020.  The conservationists plan to relocate 16 more animals in 2011.

For more information, visit the International Rhino Foundation.

You can also learn more about Indian rhinos on Animal Fact Guide.

“Miracle” Baby Rhino at British Zoo

Baby rhino at Whipsnade Zoo

It was questionable whether a baby greater one horned rhino would survive after experiencing a traumatic birth at the Zoological Society London’s Whipsnade Zoo in November. The little calf would not nurse from her mother Beluki and was starved of vital nutrients. Zoo staff finally managed to bottlefeed the youngster, and after a few days, she started suckling from her mother. The rhino baby was named Karamat, which is Nepalese for “miracle.”

In the wild, these rhinos, also known as Indian rhinos, are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. See Animal Fact Guide’s article, Indian Rhinoceros, for more information about these Asian animals.

To learn more about Karamat, see: ZSL.org.

Rare Javan Rhino Dies

The International Rhino Foundation announced that a carcass of a highly endangered Javan rhino was discovered in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park last week.

From the press release:

Ujung Kulon holds the only viable population of the critically endangered species; no more than 48 Javan rhinos remain on the planet, and at least 44 of those are found in Ujung Kulon.  Fewer than four animals of unknown sex and age may remain in an isolated population in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, where the carcass of a poached Javan rhino was found last month.

“Javan rhinos persist in Ujung Kulon because they are carefully monitored and guarded by Rhino Protection Units, elite anti-poaching teams that patrol the park every day.  While the loss of this rhino was tragic, it appears to have died from natural causes rather than poaching,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation.

Ellis went on to say, “Rhino experts agree that expanding the usable habitat in Ujung Kulon is an important first step. The next priority will be to establish a second viable population of Javan rhino at a suitable site elsewhere in Indonesia as an ‘insurance’ population. This will be essential if we are to safeguard it from natural and human-caused disasters and to ultimately prevent its extinction.”

If you would like to help Javan rhinoceroses, visit www.rhinos-irf.org.

Rhino skeleton

Skeleton of a male Javan rhino found last week on a densely forested trail in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. Forensic evidence suggests he died in March of natural causes.

Rhino bones laid out

The skeleton of the rhino laid out, with the horn still intact.

Rhino on the Loose!

Archie the rhino

Archie the rhino escaped from his pen at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Archie, a 41-year-old, 4000 pound rhinoceros at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida, managed to escape from his enclosure.  Zoo workers were not able to lure Archie back to his pen with food — a tactic that worked years ago when he attempted escape once before.

Although out of his enclosure, the rhino was never near any of the zoo visitors because he was still fenced out of public areas.  After sedating Archie, 20 zoo workers were able to lead him down a service road into his pen.

Zoo employees believe he was able to escape because the door to his enclosure was not secured properly.

For more info, see: CBS4.com.