Wildlife Blog

September is Save the Koala Month

September is a special time to consider how you can help koalas. This month is Save the Koala Month, and Friday, September 29 is Save the Koala Day.

September is Save the Koala Month

Here are some ways you can help koalas:

  • Write to the Australian Environment Minister to advocate listing the Southeast Queensland koala population as critically endangered and protecting koala habitat more effectively.
  • “Adopt” a koala from the Australian Koala Foundation.
  • Plant a eucalyptus tree online through the Australian Koala Foundation.
  • For those living in eastern Australia, planting a eucalyptus tree on your property is a wonderful way to help. Here is a Koala Tree Planting PDF which provides information about what species of eucalyptus to plant.

Learn more about koalas at our koala facts article.

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PHOTOS: Baby Animals from Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Come enjoy the baby animal cuteness from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia.

Black rhino calf running

Rompin’ rhino! This black rhino calf, named Mesi, was born in April and has only recently gone on public display with her mom. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Two baby giraffes

Mirror image: The two giraffe calves, born 1 week apart, check each other out. [Read more about Zuberi and Kibo.] Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby hippo and mom

Kendi, a three-month-old hippo calf, soaks up the sun with her mom. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

You can learn facts about these animals in our articles: Giraffe and Hippopotamus.

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Seeing Double: Two Baby Giraffes Born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia is doubly pleased to announce the birth of two baby giraffes- born just one week apart!

The first calf has been named Zuberi, which means “strong” in Swahili. He was born in the exhibit around noon on August 8.

Giraffe calf and his mother at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

According to zookeeper Pascale Benoit, “It was a smooth delivery and was followed by a number of giraffes in the herd getting up close to meet the new calf within moments of its arrival. They were a great support for experienced mother, Asmara, helping her to lick her new calf and encouraging him to stand.”

The second calf arrived on August 15 in the middle of the night. He has been named Kibo, which means “the highest”.

Baby giraffe at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Both pairs of mother and calf are doing very well, and have integrated nicely back into
the herd,” Pascale said.

Two giraffe calves

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts article.

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Featured Animal: African Elephant

Meet our Featured Animal: the African elephant!

Here are five fun facts about African elephants:

  • Weighing up to 6000 kg (6.6 tons) and measuring up to 3.3 m (10 ft.) at the shoulder, the African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal.
  • Both male and female elephants possess tusks, which are modified incisor teeth.
  • On average, an elephant can hear another elephant’s call at 4 km (2.5 mi.) away. Under ideal conditions, their range of hearing can be increased to 10 km (6.2 mi.).
  • African elephants mostly communicate through low frequency sounds called “rumbling.”  They are capable of producing and perceiving sounds one to two octaves lower than the human hearing limit.
  • African elephants have good memory, which allows them to remember deceased loved ones, harbor grudges, and recognize long-lost friends. Upon the return of a friend, elephants take part in a joyous greeting ceremony where they spin in circles, flap their ears, and trumpet.

Learn more about elephants at our African elephant facts article.

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VIDEO: Fire Ant Towers

Did you know that fire ants have the ability to pile up on one another to form impressively high towers if they ever need to escape a container? David Hu, a professor of biology and mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, has been studying how fire ants create their tall swirling ant structures.

Watch a video about Hu’s fire ant tower research from the New York Times:

You can also listen to an interview with Hu on PRI’s “Science Friday” hosted by Ira Flatow:

Read more about fire ant towers on PRI.org.

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Endangered Crown Lemur Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago proudly welcomed a baby crowned lemur on April 15. The sex and measurements of the lemur infant are still to be determined because mother Tucker is keeping her newborn close.

“With any birth, our animal care staff carefully monitors the new arrival to ensure they are passing critical milestones,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “Tucker is an attentive and experienced mother and the infant is holding tight to her and regularly nursing, which is exactly what we’d hope to see.”

Baby crowned lemur

Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a crowned lemur infant on April 15. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Crowned lemur baby and mother at Lincoln Park Zoo

Crowned lemur mama Tucker is keeping her baby tucked in safely. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

In the wild, crowned lemurs inhabit the forests of Madagascar. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN), crowned lemurs are considered endangered due to forest loss caused by slash-and-burn practices, habitat fragmentation, charcoal production, mining and other human-wildlife conflict.

 

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It’s a Girl! Taronga Western Plains Zoo Welcomes Baby Black Rhino

It’s a girl! This baby black rhino was born on April 11. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia, welcomed a southern black rhinoceros calf on April 11. The female calf, the first baby for mother Kufara, weighed around 25-30kg (55-66 lbs.) at birth.

“Both mother and calf are doing well. Kufara is very cautious and protective of her calf which is a natural behavior for a first-time mother. We are really happy with the maternal behaviors Kufara is displaying. She is very attentive and ensuring her calf suckles frequently which is all very positive,” said keeper Linda Matthews.

For now, the baby calf and mother will bond behind the scenes at the zoo. They will go on public display in late June.

Baby black rhino

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Female black rhino calf and mother

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Southern black rhinoceros calf and mama at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

In the wild, the are only about 4,200 black rhinos roaming the deserts and grasslands of Africa. They are classified as critically endangered. Poaching remains a significant threat due to rising demand for their horn, which is used in Asian medicine.

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Featured Animal: Bottlenose Dolphin

Meet our featured animal: the bottlenose dolphin!

National Dolphin Day takes place Friday, April 14, 2017!

Here are five fun facts about bottlenose dolphins:

  • Dolphins are marine mammals, which means they must come to the surface of the water to breathe. They can hold their breath for up to 7 minutes!
  • Dolphins can exhale air at 160 km/hr (100 mph) through their blowholes.
  • Dolphins never fully sleep. One side of their brain must always be active so that they remember to breathe. (They are not involuntary breathers like humans. They must consciously swim to the surface to take a breath.)
  • Dolphins have a nearly 360-degree field of vision, and they can move one eye independently of the other.
  • Dolphins produce high-frequency clicks that humans can’t hear. They use these clicks in a sonar system called echolocation. When the clicking sound reaches an object, it bounces back to the dolphin as an echo. Dolphins can process this information to determine the shape, size, speed, distance, and location of the object.

Learn more about dolphins at our bottlenose dolphin article.

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Saving Baby Raccoons

One of the baby raccoons.

The Oakland Zoo and WildCare, a wildlife hospital and environmental education center, teamed up to save the lives of five baby raccoons. The raccoons had accidentally been transported from Florida to San Fransisco in the back of a moving truck. Wildcare took in the babies and nursed them back to health. Normally, Wilcare releases all rehabbed animals back to the wild, but that was not an option for these raccoons, who were so far from home.

The Oakland Zoo stepped in to take care of the animals until a permanent home can be found.

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Three cheetah cubs were born to their mother, Kyan late last year at the Taronga Western Plains zoo in Australia.  They are currently out of the view of the public and spending time with their mother. The zoo plans to unveil them to the public in March of this year.

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