Wildlife Blog

Featured Animal: Koala

Meet our featured animal: the koala!

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Here are five fun facts about koalas:

  • Koalas are marsupials, closer related to wombats and kangaroos.
  • As marsupials, female koalas have pouches where their young stay until fully developed. Unlike kangaroo pouches, which open towards the top, koala pouches are located towards the bottom of their bodies and open outward.
  • Extra thick fur on their bottoms and a cartilaginous pad at the base of their spines provide cushioning so koalas can sit comfortably on branches for hours.
  • Koalas have bacteria in their stomachs that break down the fiber and toxic oils of eucalyptus leaves and allow them to absorb 25% of the nutrients.
  • In order to survive on such a low calorie diet, they conserve energy by moving slowly and sleeping around 20 hours a day.

Learn more at our koala facts page!

 

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Meerkat Pups at Memphis Zoo

Memphis Zoo welcomed two male meerkat pups on February 27. Photo by Laura Horn, courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Say hello to Billy and Rico, the two meerkat babies born on February 27. Photo by Laura Horn, courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Two meerkat pups were born on February 27 to first-time mother Sunny at the Memphis Zoo. The babies, named Billy and Rico, are both male.

“It’s really adorable to see how the whole group takes care of the young meerkats,” said Melanie Lewis, Cat Country keeper. “The visitors love them as well. They’re front and center in the exhibit. They’re not shy at all.”

Learn more about Billy and Rico at the Memphis Zoo website.

To find out more about meerkats, visit our meerkat facts page.

Bouncing Baby Klipspringer at Lincoln Park Zoo

Baby klipspringer makes her first leaps and bounds at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating the birth of a female baby klipspringer (Afrikaans for “rock jumper”) on March 30.

According to Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, “The klipspringer calf is healthy and eating well and, as a result, has almost doubled her weight since birth. Currently, the calf is being hand-reared by our animal care staff after the mother was unable to provide adequate care.”

The team will provide around-the-clock care for the little antelope until she is ready to navigate the terrain of the klipspringer habitat.

Watch a video of the baby klipspringer here:

In the wild, klipspringers inhabit central and eastern Africa. They are dwarf antelope, reaching an average of  24 pounds.

Learn more at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

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Endangered Gibbon Born at Adelaide Zoo

White cheeked gibbon baby

Pictured here is an endangered white-cheeked gibbon newborn snuggling with older sister, Nhu, at the Adelaide Zoo. Photo by Helen Whitford.

Proud parents Viet and Remus at the Adelaide Zoo welcomed a baby white-cheeked gibbon on April 13.

White-cheeked gibbons are critically endangered due to deforestation and poaching.  In the wild, these primates inhabit Laos, Vietnam, and Southern China.

For more information, visit the Adelaide Zoo website.

Otter Pups at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Otter pup at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Fuzzy face! Pictured above is one of the Oriental small-clawed otter pups born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo recently. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia welcomed two male Oriental small-clawed otter pups on January 24.

“The pups have been in the den to date and we have been monitoring them via a video camera, to ensure they are growing and developing well,” said Senior Keeper, Ian Anderson.

“Emiko and Pocket are being really attentive parents, we are really happy with their nurturing behaviours, as they are both first-time parents so it is a big learning curve for them.”

One of the otter pups is named Kali, which means “river” in Indonesian. You can suggest a name for the other pup on the Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Facebook page!

Otter family

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Otter family

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby Dolphin at Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove in Orlando welcomed a female dolphin calf on March 18 at 3:45 am. The calf weighs about 22 kg (48 lbs.) and is 1.2 m (47 in.) long.  The baby dolphin is doing well, nursing and bonding with her mother Natalie.

Dolphin calf and mother

The baby female dolphin born at Discovery Cove is doing well, bonding with mother Natalie. Photo by Discovery Cove.

Learn more about the calf at discoverycove.com. View our bottlenose dolphin page to learn more facts about dolphins.

Featured Animal: Grizzly Bear

Meet our featured animal: the grizzly bear!

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Here are five fun facts about grizzlies:

  • During the warmer months, grizzly bears eat a lot of food. They may intake 40 kg (90 lbs.) of food each day, gaining over 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of body weight a day.
  • Their long rounded claws are the size of human fingers.
  • When grizzly bears hibernate in the winter, their heart rate slows down from 40 beats per minute to 8, and they do not go to the bathroom at all during these months of slumber.
  • Grizzly bear cubs are born blind, hairless, and toothless.
  • Detecting food from great distances away, grizzlies have an astute sense of smell, even better than that of a hound dog!

Learn more at our grizzly bear facts page.

San Diego Zoo Gorilla Baby

On March 12, Imani, an 18-year-old gorilla at the San Diego Zoo, gave birth to a 4.6 pound baby via caesarian section. The infant was treated for pneumonia and other complications after birth at the animal hospital.

But 12 days later, baby and mama were reunited!  Imani immediate cradled her baby in her arms and has been doting on the newborn ever since.

n this photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, and provided by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 12-day old baby gorilla is physically introduced to her mother, Imani, for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Matt Gelvin)

In this photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, and provided by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 12-day old baby gorilla is physically introduced to her mother, Imani, for the first time at the San Diego Zoo. (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Matt Gelvin)

Baby Elephant at Twycross Zoo

Baby elephant at Twycross Zoo.

The baby elephant born on March 4 at Twycross Zoo is now on view! Photo by Twycross Zoo.

The Twycross Zoo welcomed a baby Asian elephant on March 4! The healthy female calf will nurse 11 liters (~3 gallons) of milk a day from her mother Noorjahan until she is 12 months old.

Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences, said: “The calf was born at approximately 2.30am and was up on its feet after a matter of minutes. The infant has bonded very well with mum, who is doing an exceptional job of taking care of her.”

Sarah Chapman, Head of Veterinary Services, added: “The herd’s behaviour was monitored by the vet and animal teams via CCTV, and it was good to see that all members of the herd were very excited by the new arrival and very interested in the infant. All the females continue to take a huge interest in the calf and are very protective of her. This is perfectly natural, with Aunties playing a very important ‘babysitting’ role in the natural herd structure.”

The IUCN lists the Asian elephant as endangered. In the wild, they live in fragmented populations in various countries across southeast Asia. Their population has been dramatically reduced and the quality of habitat is declining.

Photo by Twycross Zoo.

Photo by Twycross Zoo.

Learn more at the Twycross Zoo website.

Tiny Tyrannosaur Fossil Discovered in Alaska

A fossil of a small tyrannosaur that lived 70 million years ago was recently discovered in northern Alaska. The pygmy dinosaur, called Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (which means “polar bear lizard”), is believed to be a close relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

N. hoglundi was much smaller than the T. Rex. Its skull measures 25 inches as compared to the T. Rex‘s 60-inch skull.  Researchers have postulated that the pygmy tyrannosaur’s smaller stature was an adaptation to the cooler Arctic climate. Although the Arctic would have been much warmer in the Cretaceous Period than it is today, bouts of cold temperatures would have caused variations in the food supply.

Below is an illustration of the relative size of N. hoglundi (A) as compared to its larger cousin T. Rex (B and C). Although N. hoglundi was only about half the size of the T. Rex, it still was an impressive 23 feet from head to tail.

Tyrannosaurs

Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (A) as compared to T. Rex (B and C) and other species. The scale bar equals 1 meter. Courtesy PLoS.

Learn more at Discover Magazine and Smithsonian.