Wildlife Blog

Endangered Black Rhino Calf Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

Black rhino calf

The healthy male black rhino calf at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photos by Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo.

The Lincoln Park Zoo happily welcomed the birth of a critically-endangered black rhinoceros calf on August 26. The male calf weighed in at 60 pounds.

“Mother and baby are both doing wonderfully,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The calf divides his time between nursing, following mom around, and napping, and that is exactly what a baby rhino should be doing.”

With only 5,000 black rhinos alive in the wild, the species is considered at high risk of extinction. They are threatened primarily by poachers, who kill the rhinos for their horns. In some cultures, black rhino horns are considered very valuable for medicinal purposes.

The Lincoln Park Zoo worked hard to conserve this species through the Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan, an initiative of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Black rhino mother and calf

Mother Kapuki and her calf will be bonding behind the scenes for the next couple of weeks.

“This birth is cause for great celebration here at Lincoln Park Zoo and has been much anticipated” said Kamhout. “The gestational period for rhinos is 15-16 months, and they have incredibly small windows for conception. Together with the zoo’s endocrinologists, we worked to pinpoint the exact window for Kapuki and Maku to get together for breeding. The whole zoo family is delighted at this successful outcome.”

For more information, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

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Giant Anteater Pup at Nashville Zoo

Giant anteater baby

The newest giant anteater pup at the Nashville Zoo. Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Nashville Zoo welcomed a baby giant anteater on July 17. Both the mother and baby are bonding in the off-exhibit giant anteater barn. “We now have 15 giant anteaters at Nashville Zoo which is the largest collection in North America,” says Rick Schwartz, Zoo President.

Giant anteaters are solitary animals from the tropical forests of Central and South America. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the giant anteater as vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting.

Featured Animal: Short-beaked Echidna

Meet our featured animal, the short-beaked echidna (e-KID-nuh)!

short-beaked echidna

Here are five fun facts about short-beaked echidnas:

  • Echidnas are monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs.
  • Similar to reptiles, echidnas’ legs protrude outwards and then downwards, resulting in a waddling effect when they walk.
  • The echidna has a pointy snout that can sense electrical signals from insect bodies.
  • Echidnas do not have teeth, but they do have horny pads in their mouths and on the back of their tongues which grind the prey.
  • Baby echidnas are called puggles!

Learn more about short-beaked echidnas >

Baby White-Cheeked Gibbon at Lincoln Park Zoo

White cheeked gibbons

White-cheeked gibbon mother, Burma, nurses her infant at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo.

On August 16, the Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a rare white-cheeked gibbon baby. Zoo keepers have not determined the gender of the newborn yet or given the little tyke a name.

“Burma is holding the baby close and showing every sign of being a great mom,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “The youngster is bright, alert, and clinging well.”

Unlike other primates who raise offspring communally in groups, white-cheeked gibbon mothers are the primary caretakers of their babies. When the baby gets older, he or she will darken from tan to black in the first two years. If the gibbon is a male, he will remain black. If the gibbon is female, her fur will eventually turn back to tan.

In the wild, white-cheeked gibbons inhabit southeast Asia. They are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.


A video of mother Burma with her newborn at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Video credit: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo.

For more information, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Baby Giraffe Cam!

Get an up close and personal view into the life of the young giraffe calf at the Woodland Park Zoo by watching live on the giraffe cam!

The live cam is installed behind the scenes in the giraffe barn and allows the public to watch the calf nursing, bonding with mom and doing what babies do… sleeping. The best viewing times for the live cam are between 4pm and 10am PST.

For more info, see the Woodland Park Zoo blog.

Learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts page!

Endangered Pond Turtles Released to the Wild

Western pond turtles

Endangered western pond turtles about to be released to the wild. Photo credits: Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released over a hundred endangered western pond turtles to their native habitat in an effort to restore the population.

Western pond turtles once commonly inhabited the western coast of the United States. But several threats, including predation by the non-native bullfrog, disease, and habitat loss, put them on the bring of extinction since the early 90s.

In 1991, the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project was established. Each year, recovery workers monitor adult female western pond turtles during the nesting season. They protect nesting sites with wire cages to prevent predators from eating the eggs. Then in the fall, the eggs and hatchlings are transported to the Woodland Park and Oregon Zoos where they can grow in safety.

“We return the turtles to their homes every summer once they reach a suitable size of about 2 ounces, a safeguard against the large mouths of bullfrogs,” explained Dr. Jennifer Pramuk, Woodland Park Zoo’s reptile curator.

Western pond turtle being released

Over a hundred western pond turtles were released to the wild by the Woodland Park Zoo and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Photo by Kirsten Pisto.

For more photos, see the Woodland Park Zoo’s blog.

Bonobo Baby Face!

Memphis Zoo keeper Sandi Shoemaker captured this moment with Mobali, a three-month-old baby bonobo.

Bonobo baby up close

Closeup of baby Mobali, a bonobo at the Memphis Zoo. Photo by Sandi Shoemaker / Memphis Zoo.

Learn more about Mobali’s birth on our blog. You can also learn more about bonobos at our bonobo facts article.

World Lion Day

Today, August 10, is World Lion Day!

Lioness with cubs

Here are five facts about lions:

  • The lion is the second largest cat in the world. (The tiger is slightly bigger.)
  • Lions spend 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting.
  • Female lions are the primary hunters of the pride.
  • Lions can go 4-5 days without drinking by obtaining moisture from the stomach contents of their prey.
  • Lions once roamed most of Africa and into parts of Asia and Europe. Now around 20,000-30,000 of these big cats live in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in protected reserves.

If you would like to help lions, there are several things you can do. You can help save lions by writing a Letter to Lions that will be shared with African leaders. Share why lions are important to you and include a drawing if you like. You can also donate to charities like National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, Panthera’s Project Leonardo, or the African Wildlife Foundation.

To learn more about lions, read our Lion Facts article.

Endangered Zebra Born at Busch Gardens

Grevy's zebra and mother.

A newborn Grevy’s zebra foal with its mother at Busch Gardens. Photo by Busch Gardens.

An endangered Grevy’s zebra was born on August 5th at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Within an hour of is birth, the little foal was able to stand on its own and nurse from its mother Brooke.

In the wild, Grevy’s zebras inhabit Kenya and Ethiopia. The population of Grevy’s zebra has declined by more than 50 percent in the last 18 years, and they are the only species of zebra that are listed as endangered by IUCN Red List.

See more photos of the Grevy’s zebra below. For more information, see the Busch Gardens website.

Baby Grevy's zebra and mother

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Grevy's zebra calf and mother

Photo by Busch Gardens.