Coco the former circus lion was microchipped by ADI in preparation for his trip to his African forever home. Photo by Animal Defenders International.
In December, twenty-four African lions rescued from circuses in Peru and nine lions from a Colombian circus will board the biggest airlift of its kind, heading to a forever home in Africa. Rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI), these former circus lions will live at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa.
To prepare for the journey, all the lions were microchipped at ADI’s rescue center near Lima, Peru. Two of the lions were given dental surgery.
An ADI vet performs dental surgery. Photo by Animal Defenders International.
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said, “The lions don’t know that their lives are going to change forever – from years of suffering in circuses, they will live in natural bush enclosures under the African sun. This is like a person applying for a visa for the trip of a lifetime.”
“It is a long and complicated process to move large numbers of wild animals across international borders, especially in an operation involving three countries. We are grateful for the collaboration of officials in Peru, Colombia and South Africa to make this happen for these lions. It can only lead to stronger animal protection law enforcement in future.”
If you would like to help ADI fund Operation Spirit of Freedom, visit their website.
Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a female southern white rhinoceros calf on October 16. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by experienced mother Kisiri with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.
Photo by Busch Gardens.
Newborn white rhinoceroses usually weigh about 150 pounds and can gain four pounds every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds when fully grown.
The southern white rhinoceros is classified as a near-threatened species with just over 20,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Proud mama Amala watches over her new baby boy. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
For the first time ever, an Australian zoo welcomed a baby greater one-horned rhinoceros to the world on October 25. Taronga Western Plains Zoo keepers are closely monitoring their new arrival, a male calf born to first-time mother Amala.
“Amala is being very protective of him,” said Unit Supervisor Jennifer Conaghan. “She is keeping her distance from us and keeping the calf close, which is what we expected to see. We have seen the calf suckling and although it is still only days old, we are extremely happy with the situation so far, and absolutely thrilled to have this new addition on the ground.”
Greater one-horned rhinoceros calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
According to Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director Matthew Fuller, “We’re the only zoo in Australia to have three species of rhino, and three successful rhino breeding programs, so critical for these species that are all threatened in the wild.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
A baby ring-tailed lemur was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo, Australia, on August 25. The little baby, named Imerina, spent her first few weeks clinging tightly to her mother but is now starting to explore independently.
“It’s wonderful to have a successful breeding season and a healthy baby on the ground,” Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Imerina is a strong baby and first time mother Rikitra is doing all the right things, nursing and grooming her baby well, which is great to see.”
Imerina peers out from the safety of her mother’s chest. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The Toronto Zoo is pleased to announce that Makali, a four-year-old white lioness, gave birth to four cubs on September 26-27.
The little lion cubs are healthy, feeding well, and staying in the maternity area of the lion habitat at the zoo. The first thirty days will be critical for the cubs and zoo staff will continue to monitor them closely.
A giraffe spits dust after eating dirt. Photo by Marie-France Grenouillet.
Wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet captured this spectacular photo of a giraffe spitting dust out after eating soil in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
The act of eating soil, clay and dirt, called geophagy, is extremely common in mammals, especially in herbivores. Giraffes eat soil in order to take in minerals such as salt, copper, iron and zinc. The clay also acts as a medicine by binding fungal toxins, internal toxins, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.
View more fantastic wildlife photos at her website.
Peter Day, photographer for the Victorville Press, captured this amazing scene in California’s Lucerne Valley on September 29.
Jose Ruiz, who lives across from the 35-foot utility pole, said he thought the mountain lion got spooked by a noisy group of kids getting off the school bus. The big cat stayed perched atop the pole into the night.
To learn more about mountain lions (also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers), visit our mountain lion facts article.
Zookeepers have always assumed giraffes were fairly silent creatures, with the occasional snort thrown in. The assumption was that their long necks restricted their ability to make sounds, and also that being noisy would attract predators.
But researchers from the University of Vienna challenged this assumption. After recording and studying 938 hours of giraffe sounds over an eight year period, the scientists have discovered that in fact giraffes do make sounds. They make low-pitched humming sounds at night.
Learn more about giraffe sounds and the new research at Wired.com.
Zookeepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo weigh the baby giant panda on September 14. (Erika Bauer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP)
The tiny baby panda born at the National Zoo on August 22 is starting to look like his dad Tian Tian. At four weeks old, the baby now weighs two pounds and has developed markings in a similar pattern to those of his father.
The little tyke still sleeps most of the day, which is normal for a panda of this age. In the next few weeks, he will start to open his eyes.
Watch a video of the baby’s veterinary exam here:
You can follow the progress of the baby giant panda at the National Zoo’s website or with the hashtag #PandaStory on social media.