Wildlife Blog

Polar Bear Cub Takes First Steps

Watch a video of a polar bear cub taking his first steps at the Toronto Zoo.

The cub was born on November 9, 2013 and is making great progress. His achievements include:

  • Standing on all four legs and taking steps forward.
  • Learning to lap up milk formula from a dish
  • Teething – his canines, incisors, and some of his molars can now be felt. He likes to bite objects like his blanket.
  • Playing – he is quite active, and he is interacting with his surroundings.
  • Gaining weight – he currently weighs about 4.5 kg, which is a 529% increase since his original birth weight of 700 grams.

Learn more at the Toronto Zoo website.

 

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Ever Been Tweeted…by a Shark?

Great White SharkResearchers in Western Australia are trying a new way to warn swimmers about sharks. Three hundred and thirty-eight sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters which will send a signal to a computer if a shark gets too close to land. The computer when then send out a tweet to warn swimmers that there is a shark in the area.

One concern is that the new system will provide a false sense of security because there are still many sharks without tags.

For more, check out NPR.org.

To learn more about sharks, read our article on Great White Sharks.

View the shark Twitter Feed here: https://twitter.com/SLSWA.

Featured Animal: Spotted Salamander

Meet our featured animal: the spotted salamander!

Spotted Salamander

Here are five fun facts about spotted salamanders:

  • Spotted salamanders are amphibians. This means they live underwater when they hatch. But when they mature, they live on land.
  • They secrete a mild sticky toxin from their backs and tails to discourage predators from eating them.
  • They hibernate.
  • Adults spend most of their day hiding underground or beneath rocks and logs.
  • They eat just about anything they can catch and swallow, including worms, spiders, insects, and slugs.

Learn more at our spotted salamander facts page.

Year in Review: Baby Animals of 2013

What a wonderful year it’s been for adorable baby animals! Here are a few highlights:

Most Eager Eyes: Pictured below is one of two female lion cubs who were born at Busch Gardens on March 20. The cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are recognized for their large size and impressive manes on the males.

Lion cubs at Busch Gardens

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Best Peek-a-Boo: Max, a little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur), was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Baby lemur

Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.

 Most Spiky: The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed a North American porcupette (baby porcupine) on April 18. Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators.

Baby porcupine at Woodland Park Zoo

The new porcupette at one day old at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo.

Best Hugger: This baby bonobo was born on May 12 at the Memphis Zoo. In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered.

Bonobo and baby

Bonobo baby with mom Kiri. Photo credit: Laura Horn, Memphis Zoo.

Sleepiest Piggy-Backer: It’s a tie between this baby anteater and this baby spider monkey, both of whom were born in June at Busch Gardens!

http://www.animalfactguide.com/2012/07/baby-animals-at-busch-gardens/

Weighing less than 5 pounds, this baby anteater will eventually grow to be over 100 pounds. The little anteater will ride on his mother’s back for about a year.

Spider monkey

This baby spider monkey got comfy sleeping on his mother’s back.

Rare Birth: King is an Eastern black rhinoceros born at the Lincoln Park Zoo on August 26. In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.

King, a baby rhino.

After a few timid steps, King gained confidence in the outdoor exhibit, taking in all the new sights and scents. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo.

Cutest Snout: Meet Gabana, a baby giant anteater born at the Nashville Zoo on November 16. In the wild, giant anteaters inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN.

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

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

Tallest Baby: In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Hope you enjoyed our roundup of cute animal babies of 2013. Happy New Year!

Giraffe Calf at Nashville Zoo

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Masai giraffes are one of nine different sub-species and are known for their oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.

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.

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.