Wildlife Blog

Orphaned Tree Kangaroo Saved in World First

Tree kangaroo at Adelaide Zoo

World conservation first: An orphaned tree kangaroo was cross-fostered by a rock wallaby and survived! Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

The keepers and veterinarians at Adelaide Zoo have saved the life of an orphaned Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo by using a surrogate wallaby mother! This exciting achievement is a world first for conservation.

One morning in November of last year, zoo keepers discovered that a tree branch had fallen and killed the zoo’s three-year-old tree kangaroo overnight. She was carrying a five week old joey. Since the joey was so young, hand-rearing was not an option. They decided to use a technique called “cross-fostering”, which involves transferring the joey to the pouch of another animal.

Tree kangaroo joey being transferred.

The orphaned tree kangaroo joey was transferred to the pouch of a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

In the 1990s, Adelaide Zoo pioneered this cross-fostering technique on endangered wallabies. In this situation, zoo keepers would transfer the endangered wallaby joey to the pouch of a surrogate wallaby of another, non-endangered species. The original endangered wallaby female would then be able to restart her breeding cycle, increasing her reproduction rate up to six or eight times.  This allowed the zoo to build up the endangered population much more quickly.

According to Adelaide Zoo veterinarian Dr David McLelland, “We’ve had great success over the years’ cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialized breeding technique has never been used on a tree kangaroo. Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioral and physical differences. We had no idea if the yellow-foot rock wallaby would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”

The gamble worked, and the orphaned tree kangaroo thrived in the pouch of his surrogate rock wallaby mother. The joey, named Makaia, spent about three and a half months in the pouch until being hand-reared by zoo staff.

Tree kangaroo joey in rock wallaby pouch

Makaia, the tree kangaroo joey, can be seen here inside the pouch of his surrogate mother, a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

The amazing rescue story of Makaia will be featured in the July/August edition of Australian Geographic, available July 3.

Watch a video of Makaia below:

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Can You Spot Them? Clouded Leopard Cubs on View at Nashville Zoo

Clouded leopard cub at Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Mary Brenna Corr / Nashville Zoo.

Two clouded leopard cubs born in March are making public appearances at Nashville Zoo every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30-11:30am. Visitors can view the cubs, named Sip Saam and Natida, at the lynx exhibit.

“It’s been several years since we have exhibited clouded leopard cubs, so I know the public is anxious to see them,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “At nearly four months old, Sip Saam and Natida enjoy exploring the habitat, climbing trees and chasing one another around.”

Clouded leopard conservation and captive breeding is difficult because the cats are reclusive (or solitary) and male clouded leopards have been known to attack and kill potential female partners. At Nashville Zoo, animal care staff hand-raise cubs and introduce them to mates at a young age. These practices help improve the success rate of the program. Since 2009, the zoo has successfully raised 24 clouded leopards who have gone on to zoos worldwide.

In the wild, clouded leopards are considered vulnerable of extinction due to deforestation, poaching, and the pet trade.

Cuteness Alert: World’s Tiniest Deer Born at New York Zoo

 tiny baby deer

 The Wildlife Conservation Society announced the bIrth of a male pudu fawn at the Queens Zoo. The pudu is a tiny type of deer. In fact, it is the smallest species of deer in the world!

This tiny tyke, born on May 12, was only 6 inches long and 6 pounds at birth. When he is fully grown, he will be 12-14 inches at the shoulder.

But despite their small size, pudu are excellent jumpers and sprinters. When in danger, they bark and run in a zig zag pattern to avoid predators.

In the wild, pudu are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN due to habitat loss. They are native to Argentina and Chile. 

For more information, visit the WCS website.

Baby Ring-Tailed Lemurs at Busch Gardens

Awww! Busch Gardens Tampa recently welcomed three baby ring-tailed lemurs. First-time mother Canada gave birth to Squirt on March 19, and twins Schweps and Seagramms were born to Ginger on March 27.

Lemur mother and babies

Photo by Busch Gardens Tampa.

Lemur mother and baby

Photo by Busch Gardens Tampa.

See the adorable baby ring-tailed lemurs in the video below:

Ring-tailed lemurs are considered endangered by the IUCN Red List. The main threat to their population is habitat destruction. Much of their habitat is being converted to farmland or burned for the production of charcoal.

To learn more about ring-tailed lemurs, see our ring-tailed lemur facts article.

Eeek! It’s Raining Spiders!

spider-blanket

A white, wispy blanket of spider webs coated a city in Australia. Photo by Lukas Coch, EPA.

Millions of spiders fell from the sky and left behind a blanket of silky webs in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia earlier this week. Although referred to as “baby spiders”, the tiny spiders are actually adult sheet-web weavers or money spiders.

Sometimes these spiders participate in an event called mass ballooning where all the spiders climb to a high point, like up a pole or tall plant, and then they jump into the air to be carried away by air currents. Every time one jumps, it leaves behind a trail of silk strands. The end result is a wispy blanket of spider webs as pictured above.

For more information, see National Geographic.

Crowned Lemur Infant at Lincoln Park Zoo

Crowned lemur and baby

Tucker with her newborn lemur. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

On April 23, a baby crowned lemur was born at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The newborn is staying snuggled up to mother Tucker and is doing well.

“The infant is healthy and is continuously passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly, gaining weight and holding tight to mother,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “Being an experienced mother, Tucker is providing excellent care to the newest arrival.”

In the wild, crowned lemurs inhabit the African island of Madagascar. They are considered endangered by the IUCN due to forest loss.

Black Rhino Calf Makes His Debut

Black rhino calf

Black rhino calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo on May 6 2015. Photograph by Rick Stevens.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo welcomed a male black rhino calf on April 20. He is the second baby born to mother Bakhita and the third calf born in 10 years to the zoo’s breeding program for this critically endangered species.

“With just over 4000 black rhinos remaining and all five rhino species under enormous pressure in the wild, every birth is critical,” said General Manager Matthew Fuller. “This little rhino is precious, as are all rhinos, and we’re hopeful that his birth will further highlight the need to protect these remarkable creatures.”

The calf weighs about 30-40 kg and is full of energy, often bounding around his yard first thing in the morning.

Black rhino calf and mother

Baby rhino with his mother Bakhita. Photograph by Rick Stevens.

In the wild, black rhinoceroses live in Africa. Poaching is a major threat to the species due to demand for their horns which is used in Asian medicine.

Learn more at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

Name a Baby Baboon

Baby baboon

Name this baby baboon! Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Two baby baboons (male and female) were born at the Oakland Zoo recently. The female baby hamadryas baboon, born on March 14, was named Kabili, which is Swahili for honest and brave. The male hamadryas baboon was born on April 1 and the zoo is asking for your help in naming him!

To vote for your favorite name, visit the Oakland Zoo naming contest page, and select from three options:

  • Muriu (pronounced Mahroo), which means Son
  • Maliki, which means King
  • Mazi, which means Sir
Baby baboons and mothers

The two baby baboons are integrating well into the harem at the zoo. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

The two newest members of the baboon harem at the zoo are doing well. “All of the youngsters are part of the same harem,” said Senior Keeper Adrienne Mrsny of Oakland Zoo. “The siblings are very curious about the new babies and with the mothers’ permissions will look at the babies, often trying to groom or play with them. Kabili is living up to her name (Swahili for brave) by following her much older sisters in climbing and walking around to explore the exhibit. The baby male spends much of his time gazing at the world around him as he holds onto his mom; he took his first steps during his second day on exhibit.”

In the wild, hamadryas baboons inhabit Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.  Ancient Egyptians worshipped hamadryas baboons as the incarnation of their god Thoth.

To learn more about the baby baboons, visit the Oakland Zoo website.

Baby Snow Monkey at Lincoln Park Zoo

Snow monkey baby

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is excited to announce the birth of a Japanese macaque (pronounced muh-‘kak), also known as a snow monkey, born on May 2.

Zoo staff has determined the little baby is a male. He and his mother Ono are doing well.

According to Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy, “The baby appears healthy, is regularly nursing and visually exploring the exhibit while clinging tightly on Ono’s torso.”

He joins a troop of eight snow monkeys at Regenstein Macaque Forest, the newest exhibit at Lincoln Park Zoo. The expansive exhibit includes microclimates, a hot spring, stream and various levels, creating an ideal environment for the growing snow monkey population.

“From a research perspective, this is a significant addition to the population,” said Research Scientist Katie Cronin, PhD. “The new baby will be the first in this population to grow up with access to touch screen computers – a tool that the monkey can decide whether or not to use – so that we can study cognitive abilities and gain a better understanding of how they think and feel.”

In the wild, Japanese macaques inhabit extreme climates throughout most of Japan, from sub-tropical lowlands to sub-alpine regions. Learn more at snowmonkeys.org.

 

VIDEO: Baby Giraffe’s Boisterous Debut

Three-week-old Kipenzi, a giraffe calf at the Dallas Zoo, made her grand entrance on Friday to the delight of zoo visitors.

Watch a video of the little giraffe bounding around in circles:

“Kipenzi” is a Swahili word meaning “loved one” – a fitting description for this adorable baby. Her birth on April 10 was viewed in real time via video feed by millions of people through a partnership with Animal Planet.

To learn more about Kipenzi, visit the Dallas Zoo website.

Learn more giraffe facts at our giraffe page.