Wildlife Blog


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.

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!


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.