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Endangered Lemur Baby Being Cared for in San Diego Zoo’s Nursery

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An 11-day-old ring-tailed lemur is getting round-the-clock  TLC in the Zoo’s Neonatal Assisted Care Unit.

A female ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species, is currently being cared for by animal care staff in the San Diego Zoo’s neonatal assisted care facility.  First-time mom, Tweena, gave birth to the baby on May 20 and immediately exhibited motherly instincts, holding her baby and being attentive with her from the start.  However, on Sunday, May 24, animal care staff noticed the baby appeared weak and became concerned that it may not be receiving proper nutrition.  The baby was moved to the Zoo’s nursery, where she is being cared for round-the-clock.  She is currently being  bottle fed every two hours and appears to be doing well.

Lemurs are highly social animals, and in order to facilitate the family’s introduction process, Tweena and Matthew, the sire of the baby, were also moved to the neonatal care unit so the family unit could hear and smell each other. To provide additional bonding time between mom and daughter, Tweena is allowed to groom and lick her baby through the wire mesh of her enclosure.

“We hope that things will go really well with the baby and as soon as she’s strong enough we will reunite the two, and Tweena will get a chance to raise her own baby,” said Janet Hawes, lead keeper for San Diego Zoo Global.

Lemurs are native to Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa. There are numerous species of lemurs, with ring-tailed lemurs among the most populous and easily recognized with their long nose, big eyes, wooly fur and long, black-and-white-ringed tail. Ring-tailed lemurs are mostly active during the day; unlike other lemurs, they spend more time on the ground than in trees. They are omnivores, eating primarily fruits, leaves, flowers, herbs, bark and sap.

All lemurs are threatened or endangered primarily due to habitat destruction, but they are also hunted for food and unfortunately frequently kept as pets. San Diego Zoo Global is a managing member of the Madagascar Fauna Group, a conservation organization dedicated to assisting the Malagasy conserve their plant and animal biodiversity.

Guests visiting the Zoo can see the baby lemur in the Children’s Zoo nursery in the Zoo’s Discovery Outpost.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.  The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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Heeere’s Devi!

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Our river hippo calf has a name—say “hello” to Devi!

The river hippo baby announcement many have been waiting for finally came on May 12: “It’s a girl!” We named her Devi, in honor of Dave Smith, a zookeeper and a friend to both animals and humans. We (hippo keepers along with several volunteers) had been doing our best to see the calf’s belly to determine gender since her birth on March 23, 2015. It took nearly two months to determine without any doubt that she is a girl. We had caught glimpses here and there, but as you can see in the photos with this blog, she has a few wrinkles. And while they are adorable, those wrinkles often hide certain characteristics we look for in determining a calf’s gender.

For the past two months, we have been watching Devi grow into her wrinkly skin—and develop quite a personality! While she is often shy, hiding by her mom’s head and tucked under the plants, she is also starting to get more comfortable with this whole being-a-hippo-thing, and it is magical to watch. The connection she has with her mom is amazing. Funani is constantly teaching little Devi: how to maneuver through deeper water, how to get in and out of the pool in different spots, even how to interact with keepers. The first time Devi approached me at their barn stall gate was due to a gentle push from Funani; oh, how my heart melted!

As Devi continues to gain confidence she is becoming more curious of her surroundings. But she always sticks close to mom, just in case. Sometimes, she reacts to a sound, movement, etc. and runs back to mom, but if Funani wants to use that as a teachable moment, you might see her nudge Devi back to that area.

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Fun and learning with Mom leads to naps in the sun.

Now, the hippos’ neighbors have definitely not gone unnoticed by Devi. The okapi and black duikers that live on the other side of the fence have all been quite curious about their new little neighbor. When Funani and Devi are on the beach, you will probably see the okapi and black duikers peering from their side. The first time she spotted the youngest okapi, Subira, Devi opened her mouth towards her and made a few hops in her direction. Subira didn’t budge, probably trying to figure out what was wrong with this little thing, and Devi retreated to mom.

These great interactions along with watching Funani mold Devi into a wonderful river hippo are the perfect reasons to come visit them at the exhibit on Hippo Trail in Lost Forest. Of course, keep in mind that all that exploring and activity requires lots of naps, and as nocturnal animals, many hippo naps take place during the day. But if you are patient or have perfect timing you can be in for quite a treat! Currently, Funani and Devi are on exhibit Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Devi’s father, Otis is on exhibit Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but please keep in mind that this schedule is subject to change.

Jennifer Chapman is a senior keeper at the Zoo. Read her previous blog, Hippo Birth: A Private Event.

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A Not-So-Little Girl: Hippo Calf Born in April at the San Diego Zoo is Female

Keepers have confirmed the seven-week-old hippo calf is a girl.

Keepers have confirmed the seven-week-old hippo calf is a girl.

After nearly two months of waiting, animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo today have determined with 100-percent certainty that the new hippopotamus calf is a girl. The calf, born March 23 to mother, Funani, has been named Devi.

Due to the very protective nature of a hippo mom, the calf was often kept tucked into vegetation growing along the edge of the hippo pool. Funani would also place her body between the baby and the viewing area.

Devi is the fifth calf that Funani has raised at the San Diego Zoo. Hippo calves typically nurse for about eight months. And while she hasn’t been weighed, keepers estimate that Devi weights between 90 and 110 pounds. Funani weighs about 3,500 pounds.

Devi and Funani can be seen in the Zoo’s 150,000-gallon hippo pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Devi’s father, Otis, is on exhibit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo taken on May 12, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Name Our Jaguar Cub for Conservation

The male jaguar cub at the San Diego Zoo is getting a lot of attention for his off-the-charts cute ratings, but this little boy needs a name. Animal care staff have worked together to come up with a list of possibilities and now we want to hear what you think. Vote here.

The jaguars at the Zoo are just three of the jaguars that San Diego Zoo Global is working with. Scientist Mathias Tobler, Ph.D, has spent more than 10 years working in the Peruvian Amazon. He is using radiotelemetry, GPS collars, and camera traps to study jaguars and other keystone species’ role in the Amazonian ecosystem. Tobler is using this technology to learn about how undisturbed populations of jaguars use their habitat, their movement patterns, home-range size, density, and their foraging ecology to create a baseline to evaluate future impacts on this species caused by human development. This data will help to inform conservation decisions and recommend ways to mitigate impacts to wildlife during the planning stages of development projects near the most pristine and bio-diverse terrestrial ecosystem on Earth.

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

At San Diego Zoo Global we’re working to understand jaguars, as well as pumas, peccary and tapirs, and have seen improvements in the techniques of capturing, tracking and observing animals. It has also been noticed by the Peruvian government and the research team has been asked to advise Peruvian officials on monitoring systems for animals in this area.

Studying jaguars in the Peruvian Amazon is just one example of how San Diego Zoo Global is working to #endextinction for endangered species. To find out more about this project and others please visit these resources:

Counting Jaguars in the Amazon

Looking for Jaguars in the Night

Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, 11 Bellies You Really Need to Rub.

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11 Bellies You Really Need To Rub

Disclaimer: These are wild animals, and must be treated as such. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. :)

You know you really want to rub this little spotted belly…

Photo by Cheryl Thiele

Photo by Cheryl Thiele

and this meer belly…

Photo by Helene Hoffman

Photo by Helene Hoffman

and this Andean bear belly…

Photo by Craig Chaddock

Photo by Craig Chaddock

and this polar pot belly…

and this panda paunch.

Aisha’s little red tummy is just asking for a good rub.

Photo by Paul E.M.

Photo by Paul E.M.

Jaguar cub Maderas (born at the Zoo in 2012) had perhaps the most rub-able belly of all.

Photo by Penny Hyde

Photo by Penny Hyde

But Nindiri’s latest cub definitely gives Maderas a run for her money in the belly department.

Photo by Penny Hyde

Photo by Penny Hyde

When Mr. Wu was a cub had the cutest panda pot belly ever.

And he still does.

Photo by Paul E.M.

Photo by Paul E.M.

Joanne’s fuzzy little tummy is just screaming “rub me!”

Just look at it.

Photo by Angie Bell

Photo by Angie Bell

Lion cubs Ken & Dixie were not lacking in the cute belly department.

See?

Izu seems to disagree.

But seriously, Mr. Wu just might be the winner of cutest belly ever.

Case in point.

Actually, maybe it’s a tie.

Photo by Penny Hyde

Photo by Penny Hyde

Yep, definitely a tie.

Photo by Penny Hyde

Photo by Penny Hyde

 

Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, 7 Animals That Look Like Star Wars Characters.

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Jaguar Cub at the San Diego Zoo Prepares for Debut During “Play Days”

Nindiri, an 7-year-old jaguar at the San Diego Zoo, is a mother for the third time. She gave birth to a single cub on March 12, 2015. Mom and cub have been spending most of their time off exhibit while the cub’s eyes open and it starts to become steadier on its paws. The sex of the cub is not yet known.

The 15-day-old jaguar cub and its mother were given access to the cave bedroom this morning before the San Diego Zoo was open to the public. Animal care staff have been giving the mother access to this third area so the cub has a chance to explore different terrain, an important step in its development – the keepers have filled the cave area with hay and there is a rock for the cub to investigate.

Guests at the San Diego Zoo may spot the mother and cub in the cave viewing area during Play Days, which starts Saturday. This year, the event focuses on plants and animals with spots. The spotted markings on a jaguar are called rosettes.

During Play Days, animal keepers, horticulturists and Zoo staff will help connect the dots about spots and share information about the importance of these markings for camouflage or as diversions from predators, and how sometimes the spots serve as a warning to other creatures.

Dr. Zoolittle will debut his new show exploring spots and dots, and the Zoo’s costume characters will be at the Koalafornia Boardwalk for meet-and-greets with guests. And new this year, The Sand Band will keep toes tapping with their musical fun.

Say carrots! The Easter Bunny will also be returning to the San Diego Zoo, March 21 through April 5, 2015, and guests can hop on the lap of Peter and Paula Cottontail, who will trade off taking photos in the basket-shaped photo booth in front of Skyfari East.

While guests are visiting during Play Days, they’re encouraged to interact with the Zoo on social media by taking their photo at designated “selfie spots” located around the Zoo and tagging the photos with the hashtags #sdzselfiespot and #sandiegozoo. Or visitors can enter the Spotted Photo Challenge by submitting their best photos of the Zoo’s spotted animals on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #sdzspots.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

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Hip, Hip, Hooray for Hippopotamus Born at San Diego Zoo

The newest river hippopotamus at the San Diego Zoo is just a few days old and already has an online following. The calf was born on Monday, March 23 at 6:30 a.m. with animal care staff observing. Mother Funani has had the main hippo exhibit to herself the last two weeks in anticipation of the calf’s birth.
     Mom and baby are doing fine and animal care staff witnessed the calf nursing on several occasions. Funani, who is 30 years old, has raised four other hippos at the San Diego Zoo – three females and most recently a male, named Adhama, born January 26, 2011. The sex of the newest calf has not yet been determined, as keepers and vets have not been able to get a close enough look at the animal.
     Hippo calves are estimated to weigh about 50 pounds at birth and they typically nurse for about eight months. The baby will likely stay very close to Funani during the first several weeks.
     The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting, for meat and the ivory found in the canine teeth, and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
     “If people come out to view the baby, patience will be rewarded,” said John Michel, senior animal keeper at the San Diego Zoo. “Guests may have to wait sometimes as long as half an hour, but the calf will wake up and start moving to deeper water, and mom will start to push it back up to shallow water.”
     Guests interested in seeing the hippo calf should also check out the activities happening during the Zoo’s annual Play Days celebration. Starting Saturday, March 28, the event, themed “Be Spotted,” will highlight the Zoo’s plants and animals with spots of all sorts,including the jaguars in Elephant Odyssey, the serval near the African rock kopje, and spot-necked otters and spot-nosed guenons in the lower Ituri forest area. Animal keepers, horticulturists and zoo staff will help connect the dots about spots and share information about the importance of these markings for camouflage or as diversions from predators, and how sometimes the spots serve as a warning to other creatures.
     Dr. Zoolittle will debut his new show exploring spots and dots, and the Zoo’s costume characters will be at the Koalafornia Boardwalk for meet-and-greets with guests. And new this year, The Sand Band will keep toes tapping with their musical fun.
     Say carrots! The Easter Bunny will also be returning to the San Diego Zoo, March 21 through April 5, 2015, and guests can hop on the lap of Peter and Paula Cottontail, who will trade off taking photos in the basket-shaped photo booth in front of Skyfari East.
     While guests are visiting during Play Days, they’re encouraged to interact with the Zoo on social media by taking their photo at designated selfie spots located around the Zoo and tagging them with the hashtags #sdzselfiespot and #sandiegozoo. Or visitors can enter the Spotted Photo Challenge by submitting their best photos of the Zoo’s spotted animals on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #sdzspots.
     Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.
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Strutting His Stripes, Baby Okapi Steps Out in New Habitat

Amaranta, a four-week-old male okapi calf, explored his outdoor habitat for the first time today at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Amaranta, a four-week-old male okapi calf, explored his outdoor habitat for the first time today at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

A four-week-old male okapi calf explored his outdoor habitat for the first time today at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The young okapi, named Amaranta, previously had been spending time in the okapi barn and outside yard, but after showing signs of curiosity, staff provided the calf and his mother, Makini, access to the main forested habitat, which is viewable by guests.

This is the 41st okapi calf born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park has taken a leadership role in conservation awareness through its ongoing support of the Okapi Conservation Project. This project provides wildlife protection, alternative agriculture methods and community assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The okapi calf and his mother will be on exhibit Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Photo taken on Feb. 13, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

 

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Are You Over Valentine’s Day? This Might Look Familiar.

Valentine’s Day just isn’t your thing. Honestly? Because you’re just not that into it.

Photo by Ion Moe

Photo by Ion Moe

And you’re not really a fan of “getting all cleaned up” for that big date.

Photo by Ion Moe

Photo by Ion Moe

You’re also not big on PDA, like holding hands (or tails).

And you’re definitely not a hugger.

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And if you see one more candy heart with a generic love message on it you’re going to lose it!

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And chocolates? Meh. They kind of make you gag.

Photo by Sayuri

Photo by Sayuri

When you get the bill after a super fancy dinner you can barely hide your shock.

Photo by Penny Hyde

Photo by Penny Hyde

Because you’re easy to please. You don’t need some fancy meal. You’re fine eating what you always do.

Photo by Mollie Rivera

Photo by Mollie Rivera

And honestly, you’re not a big fan of crowds anyway.

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You’d just rather stay in and relax.

Photo by Helene Hoffman

Photo by Helene Hoffman

And hang out with your boo, just the two of you, just how you like it. Because that’s what Valentine’s Day should be. No stress, no obligation, just love.

Photo by Darrell Ybarrondo

Photo by Darrell Ybarrondo

Matt Steele is senior social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, Animals Who Totally Own Winter.

 

 

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Baby Joanne’s Growing Diet

Little Joanne is exploring a whole range of new tastes as she begins to add solid foods to her daily diet.

Little Joanne is exploring a whole range of  tastes and textures as she begins adding solid foods to her diet.

Baby gorilla Joanne continues to grow and develop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Baby gorillas will continue to nurse until mom chooses to wean them, usually between ages three to four years. Still, at 10 months old and with a full set of baby teeth, Joanne has developed quite a healthy appetite for solid foods!

Western lowland gorillas are herbivores, meaning that they eat only plant material. Each day, we offer the gorillas at the Park a variety of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, tree branches harvested from the our browse farm, and high-fiber primate biscuits. Little Joanne is developing a taste for her favorites, favorites, although her opinion seems to change almost daily! When Joanne either eagerly devours or spits out something we have offered her, we consider ourselves “updated” as to her preferences.

Keepers feed the gorillas in different ways throughout the day. We spread food items around the exhibit to allow the gorillas to forage at their own pace in addition to calling them to a spot or “station” to receive individual diets specifically measured out for each gorilla. During these station-feeding sessions, Joanne has learned that it benefits her to put some distance between herself and mom, Imani. While Imani is generally patient about letting Joanne finish chewing whatever food is in her mouth, anything in Joanne’s hand or on the ground around her is fair game!

At lunchtime on exhibit, Imani and Joanne station on the upper right-hand hill of the gorilla exhibit, and keepers can toss items to each individually. Morning station feedings in the bedrooms are set aside for training and generally occur as a one-on-one keeper to gorilla session. Since Joanne has become interested in participating in these sessions, she often gets her own keeper with to interact with while Imani focuses on her training on the other side of the bedroom.

For now, these sessions with Joanne are helping her form relationships with her keepers and build up her confidence away from mom. As little Joanne grows older, keepers will begin training her to offer different behaviors useful in our care of her, using her favorite food items as positive reinforcement. As for what those favorite food items will be, Joanne will certainly let us know in her own way!

Jami Pawlowski is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read her previous post, Gorilla Joanne: Little Miss Personality.