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.

Baby Animals of 2011

There were so many adorable baby animals born in 2011.  Here are a few highlights:

Baldest Baby: This baby aardvark was born at Busch Gardens Tampa on April 10, 2011. He was hand-reared by zookeepers because his mother was neglecting him.


Oldest Mother:
Five Santa Cruz Galapagos tortoise hatchlings were born on November 15  to a century-old tortoise in a South Carolina zoo after she hid the eggs from zookeepers for months.
Galapagos tortoise hatchling at South Carolina zoo


Best Gremlin Impersonator:
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a male baby Coquerel’s sifaka on November 12 and named him Nero. Sifakas are a kind of lemur who move by leaping through trees or side-hopping on the ground.
Baby sifaka at Maryland zoo


Roundest Face:
A pair of red pandas were born at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA on July 4. In the wild, red pandas inhabit bamboo forests in China, the Himalyas, and Myanmar.
Red panda baby at Boston zoo


Unlikely Friends:
An 8-week-old cheetah (born in February) was paired with a 16-week-old yellow lab at Busch Gardens Tampa. The two adolescents became great pals.
Cheetah cub and puppy friends


Most Smiley:
A dolphin calf was born on July 26th at SeaWorld Orlando. Here he is bonding with his mother.
Dolphin mother and calf


Whitest Kiwi:
Two rare all-white kiwis were born this year at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center in New Zealand.  Manukura was born in May and was the first of its kind born in captivity.  Mauriora was born in December. The two white kiwis are North Island brown kiwis who carry a rare white gene. They are not albinos.
White kiwi

Hope you enjoyed our roundup of amazing animal babies of 2011. Happy New Year!