Wildlife Blog

Casting Call: Unlikely Animal Friends Wanted

Cheetah and monkey

Do you have an unlikely animal friend? Or two animals of different species that are best friends? Or did you go to extremes to rescue a helpless animal?

National Geographic WILD is looking for your stories!

For submissions, please email photos, a short description of your “Unlikely Animal Friends” story and your contact details to: unlikelyanimalfriends@gmail.com.

Watch a clip of a past episode below:

 

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“Oh Hello There!” Koala Joey Emerges from Pouch at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Koala joey

Meet Storm, a seven month old joey. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Visitors to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia delight in the new koala joey on view. Named Storm, the seven-month-old joey is the first koala joey of the season to emerge from his pouch.

This is the second joey for mother Wild Girl. Wild Girl came to the zoo’s wildlife hospital after she suffered a hip wound after being struck by a car and was unable to be returned to the wild.

Koala joey and mother

Storm with his mother Wild Girl. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Thunder is approximately seven-months-old, born in January 2015. Wild Girl is quiet protective of Thunder. He can be seen on the front of her chest for now but in the coming months will start to move on to her back,” said keeper Karen James.

For more information about the koala joeys at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, visit www.zoofari.com.au.

Learn more about koalas at our koala facts article.

Hand Raising a Cheetah Cub

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The zoo keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo have had their hands full raising a little cheetah cub named Siri.

Siri was born on May 21 this year to experienced mother Halla. But usually, cheetahs are born in litters of three to five cubs. When a single cub is born, mother cheetahs generally reject the cub since survival rates for a single cub are low in the wild.

Zoo keeper Linda Matthews said: “We were on alert when we knew there was only one cub, and after 24hrs based on what we were seeing, we intervened to give Siri the best chance of survival.”

Bottle feeding a cheetah cub.

A keeper bottle feeds Siri. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For the first six weeks, keepers provided 24/7 care for the cub.

Cheetah cub and puppy

Siri and Iris the puppy interact. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

At eight weeks, they introduced a 7-week-old retriever cross mastiff puppy named Iris as a companion. This will help Siri develop her animal instincts and social interaction.

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Learn more about cheetahs in our cheetah facts article.

Adorable Baby Sloth at Lincoln Park Zoo

Baby sloth and mama

Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on July 25. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Visitors to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago now have the opportunity to see an adorable baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on exhibit. The adorable baby was born on July 25 to 21-year-old mother Hersey and 32-year-old father Carlos.

“The sloth infant appears healthy and is passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly and clinging well to mother,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Hersey is a first-time mother and is being very attentive to her new young.”

Hoffman’s two-toed sloths inhabit the rainforests of Central and South America. Their large hooked claws help them hang upside down from treetops, which is how they spend most of their time.

VIDEO: Great White Shark Rescue in Cape Cod

A juvenile great white shark beached itself in Chatham, Massachusetts yesterday.  With the help of beach goers, the harbor master, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the shark was able to safely return to the water!

Watch Part I of the rescue here:

and Part II:

Learn more about sharks in our great white shark article.

Book Review: The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion Rescue

The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion RescueMillions of animals around the world are held in captivity in conditions that are not ideal. One such pair of animals have their story told in The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion Rescue by Sara Starbuck.

The title lioness and lion live in two completely different worlds but are united in the fact that they both need to escape to better lives. Bella was blind, sickly, and brokenhearted at the loss of her family in the Romanian zoo in which she lived. Simba lived in a cramped backyard in France, after living his early years traveling in a circus trailer. The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion Rescue recalls the tale of the rescue and rehabilitation of these two majestic animals with the help of the Born Free Foundation.

In the book, Starbuck weaves the stories of Bella and Simba in alternating chapters to keep the reader captivated. Each chapter focuses on a part of the lions’ rescue and is written in a friendly, easy-to-read way. The text is accompanied by vivid, full-color photographs of the animals and rescue volunteers.

Interspersed throughout the book are fascinating facts about lions — everything from how their claws grow to why they have a tassel on their tail. In this way, readers learn not only about the plight of Bella and Simba but about lions in general.

The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion Rescue is a great read for anyone who loves animals, rescue stories, and happy endings. It is fit for young readers both in content and in ease of reading.

The True Story of Bella & Simba: Lion Rescue is published by Hachette Children’s Books. It is part of a series of non-fiction books featuring the rescue operations of the Born Free charity.

Learn more at Hachette Children’s Books.

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:

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.