Wildlife Blog

Endangered Baby Orangutan at Twycross Zoo

Bornean orangutan

A new addition to the Twycross Zoo: a baby Bornean orangutan! Photo by Twycross Zoo.

Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an endangered Bornean orangutan. The baby ape, born on November 28, is happy, healthy and doing very well. The newborn is 36-year-old Kibriah’s fourth offspring.

Bornean orangutan mother and baby

Mother Kibriah with her new baby.

Great Ape Team Leader, Simon Childs, said: “We’re all very proud. Kibriah is a very loving mum and she’s doing such a great job. She is holding the baby very close so we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl just yet. When we find out the sex, we can then start to think of a name for him or her. At this stage we don’t mind what sex it is, we’re just happy to have another healthy infant.”

According to Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences: “The Bornean orangutan is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Redlist (IUCN), with fewer than 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As they only give birth on average once every eight years their numbers are dwindling fast as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed by deforestation.  Experts now agree that orangutans are likely to be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years, so successful breeding is imperative if this ape is to continue to exist on this planet in the future.”

Learn more about Bornean orangutans at our orangutan facts page.

For more about the new addition at the Twycross Zoo, see their website.

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King Penguin Chick at SeaWorld Orlando

Two-week old king penguin chick at SeaWorld Orlando.

Two-week old king penguin chick at SeaWorld Orlando. Photo by SeaWorld Orlando.

On November 30, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed the first chick to hatch at their new attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The two-week old king penguin chick weighs 882 grams (30 oz.). It is being cared for by its parents with routine checkups from SeaWorld Orlando staff. The little chick will grow to more than 11 kilograms (24 lbs.) and over 2.5 feet tall.

Like emperor penguins, king penguins do not build nests. Instead the mother and father take turns incubating the egg under their belly on top of their feet.

Learn more at the SeaWorld Orlando website.

Featured Animal: Polar Bear

Polar bearMeet our featured animal: the polar bear!

Here are five fun facts about polar bears:

  • Although they appear white or yellow in color, polar bears’ fur is actually clear and hollow, and their skin is black.
  • Two coats of fur and a thick layer of blubber help insulate the polar bear’s body from the cold, keeping its temperature at an even 37° C (98.6° F).
  • Polar bears’ paws are especially adapted for walking on the ice and swimming in the sea. Hairs and bumps on the soles of their feet provide traction, while webbing between their toes allows for effective swimming strokes.
  • Polar bears can smell a seal’s breathing hole, or aglu, up to one mile away.
  • Polar bears do not hibernate like other bears, but females do enter into a dormant state while pregnant.

Learn more at our polar bear facts page!

Baby Red Kangaroo at Lincoln Park Zoo

Red Kangaroo mom and joey

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

After many months, a red kangaroo joey has taken his first peek outside his mother’s pouch at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The little baby was born in early May, but has spent the time securely tucked away in the pouch growing bigger and stronger.

Joeys are blind and hairless at birth, and weigh less than an ounce.  They use their forearms to crawl up the mother’s abdomen into the pouch. Once there, the joey latches on to his mother’s teat to nurse.

This little joey was the first offspring for mother Anna and father Jacob. According to Curator Diane Mulkerin, “This little roo has been very secretive so far. Animal care staffers suspected the pregnancy in mid-spring and have been watching very closely ever since. At the end of July, they started seeing movement around mom’s abdomen, and at long last, the little one has finally begun to peek out of the pouch.”

Red Kangaroo mom and joey

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Red kangaroos are native to Australia. In the wild, they live in large groups called mobs.

Learn more at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Giant Anteater Born at Nashville Zoo

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Nashville Zoo welcomed a male giant anteater on November 16.  The new addition, named Gabana, is doing well with mother Dulce living in the off-exhibit giant anteater barn.

Nashville Zoo has been active in anteater conservation for 15 years. This is the fifth anteater birth for the zoo in the last 13 months.

In the wild, giant anteaters inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN.

Learn more at the Nashville Zoo’s website.

Masai Giraffe Calf at Toronto Zoo

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Toronto Zoo welcomed a baby Masai giraffe last month. The female calf was named Mstari (pronounced mi-starry), which means “stripes” in Swahili, after her late father who was called Stripes. The baby giraffe and her mother Twiga are doing very well.

“The Toronto Zoo is part of the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the birth of this calf is very important to the North American captive population”, says Maria Franke, Toronto Zoo Curator of Mammals. This is the 17th Masai giraffe born at the Toronto Zoo.

Photo by Ken Ardill, Toronto Zoo.

Snow Leopard Cub Makes Public Debut at Memphis Zoo

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Three-month old snow leopard cub Taza made his public debut at the Memphis Zoo last week! He and doting mother Ateri are on view in a special display area adjacent to the snow leopard exhibit.

“We can’t wait to show off the little guy to our visitors,” said Gail Karr, Assistant Curator of Mammals. “He has been such a joy to watch over these last three months, and we know the public is going to love him like we do.”

Taza will eventually move to another zoo where he’ll be paired up with a female snow leopard as part of the Species Survival Plan.

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Photos courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Featured Animal: Killer Whale (aka Orca)

Meet our featured animal: the killer whale (orca)!

Orca

Here are five facts about killer whales:

  • True to their name, killer whales are effective hunters. They prey on seals, sea lions, fish, sea birds, turtles, octopuses, and squid.
  • Killer whales hunt in pods, or groups, in a way similar to wolves. They circle their prey and force them into smaller areas before attacking.
  • Killer whales have a massive range, living primarily where the water is cold, but inhabiting anywhere from the polar regions right up to the equator.
  • Sending sound waves that travel underwater, killer whales use echolocation as a means for hunting.
  • Killer whales live an average of 30 to 50 years in the wild.

Learn more about killer whales >

Bush Dog Pups at the Twycross Zoo

Bush dog babies

The Twycross Zoo welcomed three bush dog babies on August 21. Photo credit: Twycross Zoo.

The Twycross Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three South American bush dogs! First time parents Japura (mother) and Aztek (father) have done an excellent job caring for the litter.

Zookeeper Chris Simpson commented: “When we arrived on the morning of the 21st August we knew Japura had given birth overnight, but it took a week or so to confirm there were three pups in the litter. They are yet to be sexed so we haven’t got names for the new arrivals at the moment.”

Bush dog carrying pup

Mother Japura carries one of the pups. Photo credit: Gillian Day / Twycross Zoo.

This is the first litter of bush dogs the Twycross Zoo has had in almost a decade. According to team leader Julian Chapman, “The fact that these animals have produced their first litter within a year of moving into their new enclosure is a testament to the thought and effort that the staff at Twycross Zoo are putting into the redevelopment of the animal enclosures.”

In the wild, bush dogs inhabit Central and South America. Well-adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle, they have webbed feet to help them swim. They are also unique in that they produce a strong scent that resembles vinegar.

Bush dogs are considered near threatened by the IUCN due to loss habitat for farming, loss of prey species, and an increase in diseases affecting canines.

For more info, see the Twycross Zoo website.