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Gorilla Bachelors: A Day in the Life

Maka is the leader of the Zoo's gorilla bachelor troop.

Maka is the leader of the Zoo’s gorilla bachelor troop.

A typical day in the life of the San Diego Zoo’s bachelor brothers, 20-year-old Maka, 13-year-old Mandazzi, and 9-year-old Ekuba includes both some outdoor exhibit time and indoor bedroom time. On this sample day, they are scheduled to go outside in the morning, and our breeding troop will go out in the afternoon. After an early morning wake up to check on how everyone is feeling, a heart-healthy breakfast of low-starch biscuits and their favorite banana leaf browse, it’s time for keepers to head out to clean and set up the exhibit for the day. Keeping the boys active and engaged is a top priority; it’s one of the highlights of my day and most certainly theirs, too!

We have a wonderful and creative team of enrichment volunteers that keep our gorillas well-stocked with fun items like painted gourds, boxes, papier-maché and burlap bags, perfume-scented pine cones, bamboo cups for gelatin or peanut butter, palm husk baskets and comfy hay beds to sleep on (they even take special requests for birthday parties or upcoming holiday themes!)In addition to the enrichment, we also set out plenty of fresh cut browse. The boys get a total of 12 branches of a variety of browse delivered daily by our hard-working forage team. Willow, mulberry, and rusty-leaf fig are always a huge hit!  After we top off the exhibit with a liberal sprinkling of cereal to increase foraging, it’s time for the boys to head outside.

As is the case with all of our primates, the gorillas are part of an extensive training program that allows us to give them excellent medical care. On their way outside, each one of the boys stop in a chute and are asked for a variety of behaviors that allow us to get a good look at them one-on-one and address any issues. For example, we might notice Mandazzi has a hang nail and dry heels, so we file the nail and apply lotion to his feet; Ekuba needs a quick tooth brushing; and Maka has a minor cut on his arm that we will irrigate to promote faster healing. These are a just a few of the over 20 behaviors the gorillas know. This individual time keeps them in top form and develops an invaluable relationship of trust between gorilla and keeper. And it doesn’t hurt that they get yummy fruit and nut pieces hand fed to them during these daily check-ups!

Once outside, the boys enjoy their enrichment and foraging time, check in with a few devoted friends on the other side of the glass (our guests!) and settle in for a mid-morning nap next to the rushing sound of the waterfalls. Like all primates, gorillas like to eat throughout the day, so every couple of hours more food and treats are distributed by a keeper from the roof of the building. The boys each have their favorite “spot” to be in while the food is delivered. Maka usually prefers to hang back either on the “point” or along the side near the waterfalls to keep an eye on things. Ekuba takes the requisite spot between his big brothers, and Mandazzi, ever the foodie, likes to be front and center catching all of his food like a pro center fielder. In addition to fresh produce like yams, broccoli, snap peas, jicama. and green peppers, the boys get treats like peanut butter covered pine cones or Crystal Light-flavored ice treats. This enrichment requires a lot of time to enjoy, so they are occupied until their early afternoon naptime rolls around.

Keepers describe Mandazzi as a "foodie".

Keepers describe Mandazzi as a “foodie”; he’s also usually the first one into the bedrooms at the end of the day.

By mid-afternoon, when the bedrooms have been cleaned and the bedding re-fluffed, it’s time for the boys to come in so that our other troop can head outside. Mandazzi is almost always the first one in. His eager attitude has made him our star patient in training for voluntary cardiac ultrasounds. He has an appointment this afternoon and our veterinarian is already staging the scene. Heart disease is a major concern for adult male gorillas. To help with early identification and treatment of this disease, all four adult male gorillas at the Zoo are trained to allow us to “see” how their hearts are functioning.

Mandazzi comes up to the front of his room where the veterinarian and keeper are set up, positions himself with his chest flush against the mesh separating his space from ours, and an ultrasound probe is placed against his chest to capture images while a keeper gives him treats. Depending on the position and length of time we need him to hold the position, keepers offer the gorilla juice from a squirt bottle, applesauce from a spoon, or hand feed pieces of fruit and nuts. Mandazzi did great and three different angles of his heart were recorded today. He gets a few more treats from a happy veterinarian and then it’s time for second lunch and more fun enrichment!

While inside, the gorillas often get very messy enrichment. There are piles of shredded paper or pine shaving with raisins to dig through. Magazines are sprinkled with seeds and spices and ready to be torn up. Often, their produce and hay is fed out in puzzle feeders that take time to manipulate. With a nature DVD playing on their wall-mounted flat screen TVs and a pile of cardboard boxes to dig through, the boys are busy right up until late afternoon nap time. After a power nap, the boys get another round of browse to strip and eat while the day keeper finishes her/his tasks and updates the evening keeper that takes over the area. As the sun sets, the boys get ready for their evening routine— and more food!

Peaceable, laid-back Ekuba has the ability to enter his brothers' bedrooms at night.

Peaceable, laid-back Ekuba has the ability to enter his brothers’ bedrooms at night.

Each of the boys has their own room at night. They are fed in their separate rooms to make sure everyone gets their fair share. Afterwards, the doors between rooms are opened wide enough for little, peacekeeping Ekuba to mingle. This allows for some socializing but still gives both of the big boys a peaceful night’s sleep without worrying about the other sneaking into “their” room while they are relaxing. Maka is the troop leader, being the oldest brother, but Mandazzi already outweighs him and we are always aware of the possibility of a coup. No such drama tonight, however. All is quiet as bedding is adjusted and sleepy boys are ready to settle in for the night. After all, tomorrow starts with an early morning keeper wake up call, and big bowl of heart healthy biscuits.

Nerissa Foland is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous blog, Oh, joy—It’s a Boy!

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San Diego Zoo Will “Shake, Rattle and Roar” During Nighttime Zoo; Cymer Sponsors Zoo’s Annual Summer Event

PrintThere is always so much to see at the San Diego Zoo, and during Nighttime Zoo, presented by Cymer, there is so much to hear, too. Beginning Sunday, June 21, guests can stay at the Zoo until 9 p.m. and experience toe-tapping, body-moving music in a variety of sounds and styles throughout the afternoon and evening, including rock tunes through the decades, festive mariachi melodies, a brass band and even a cappella harmonies. The Zoo has also added a 15,500-square-foot exhibit for Asian leopards that is the new entrance to the the Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek.

On Front Street, Zoo guests will be treated to the sounds of The Chameleons, a brass band that changes tunes like its namesake changes colors. From funk to Beach Boys and beyond, their musical stylings—and jokes—are sure to bring a smile. The Front Street Mariachis are a talented trio who also perform on the Embery Stage and will provide a festive musical flair by blending trumpet, strings and voices. For guests who like to dance, be sure to catch the Funky Monkeys. These agile and exuberant dancers have some fun and fresh new moves. Their jazzy hip-hop-with-a-twist style just might work their way into your own dance repertoire.

As guests tour the Zoo, perhaps venturing down Hippo Trail to see the hippo calf, Devi, and her mother Funani, they will find more music and entertainment. “Tunes in the Treetops,” will bring back memories, or make new ones, for guests who enjoy “old timey” piano melodies.

In Panda Canyon, Zoo visitors shouldn’t miss the new Asian Leopard exhibit. The multi-level living space for these endangered cats is filled with rock outcroppings, slopes and felled trees to encourage climbing, foraging and other natural behaviors. The habitat has four separate exhibits with enclosed, overhead passageways above the visitor walkway, which allow the leopards to cross between exhibits. The ability to change the passageways and access for the cats is another element of enrichment for the animals. The Amur leopards and snow leopards live separately but will have opportunities to trade living areas.

If guests venture to see the jaguar cub and its mother in Elephant Odyssey, they can stop by Sabertooth Grill where The Alley Cats will be rocking to the sweet sounds of Doo Wop. The group serves up tight harmonies, humor, and pure a cappella energy.

In Urban Jungle, where there are three koala joeys making their way out of the mothers’ pouches, the trampoline has been set up for “Viva Las Kangas,” a performance that tells the story of acrobatic “kangaroos” who visit Las Vegas and flip (and bounce) over songs by popular Las Vegas headliners. Across the road at the Koalafornia Boardwalk, Dr. Zoolittle has built his “Music Factory” with a score of ways to have fun exploring music.

To end the evening of Nighttime Zoo events, the Zoo has added a spectacular music, light, and video experience at the newly remodeled Wegeforth Bowl. The show, Earth Rhythms, features how humans have always been influenced by the sounds of Nature. In a dazzling blend of music, video and special effects, the connection between the two comes into mesmerizing focus. The show plays each evening at 8:30 p.m.

During Nighttime Zoo, which runs Sunday, June 21 through Monday, Sept. 7, the Zoo is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. All Nighttime Zoo activities and entertainment are included with admission to the San Diego Zoo.

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 the 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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How to Build a Pollinator Garden

Pollinators are one of Mother Nature’s greatest gardeners, yet many populations continue to decline at an alarming rate. While National Pollinator Week continues to raise awareness, conservation of our precious pollinators is a year-round project. One way you can be a hero for wildlife is by creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your own yard or community, and invite hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to do what they do best.

Hummingbird | How to Build a Pollinator Garden

For starters, you’ll need a nectar source for your hummingbird guests. They get most of their nectar from tubular blossoms, the perfect shape to accommodate their long, slim beak and tongue. Hummers like bright plants that are open during daylight hours, when the birds are awake and hungry. Sage is an excellent option for these tiny pollinators, not to mention the added bonus of providing your herb pantry with some homegrown goodies.

Bee | How to Build a Pollinator Garden

It’s no secret that honeybee and native bee populations are in trouble. Entertain bees in your outdoor space by planting a diversity of vibrant flowers. It’s extremely important to select plants that do not contain neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that may contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder. Nowadays, some stores label plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids, but many do not, so it’s best to consult with your local nursery before purchasing.

Bee | How to Build a Pollinator Garden

Including suitable nesting habitat in your landscape can help bolster the struggling populations of native bees. Many are solitary (so you don’t need to worry about a hive) and a good number of species are considered stingless, in case that is a concern. You can purchase ready-made nesting houses for mason and orchard bees online, or make your own.

Butterfly | How to Build a Pollinator Garden

For butterflies, a simple search on Google will help you discover which species are common in your area. Once you know which butterflies live in your region, it’s important to learn about their habitat needs. Certain species require specific host plants to serve as larval food for caterpillars. Choose a variety of colorful, native plants with upward-facing blossoms as they provide a landing pad for butterflies to stop and sip on sweet nectar.

Butterfly | How to Build a Pollinator Garden

Adding a water source for all of your pollinator guests is another great idea. If you’re going to use a bird bath to accomplish this, just be sure to add stones that peek above the surface so your tiny guests (bees) don’t drown.

Do you have any tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden? Leave them in the comments.

 

Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 10 Cats You Don’t Want to Cuddle With.

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Amur Leopard Explores New Habitat at San Diego Zoo Asian Leopard Exhibit Expands Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek

Primorye, a 4-year-old male Amur leopard climbs on a rock at the top of his new habitat at the recently expanded Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek area of the San Diego Zoo.

Primorye, a 4-year-old male Amur leopard climbs on a rock at the top of his new habitat at the recently expanded Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek area of the San Diego Zoo.

Two Amur and one snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo have been acclimating to their new exhibits for the last week in preparation for the expansion of The Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek area of the Zoo. The 16,500-square-foot habitat includes 5,500 square feet of multi-level living space with rock outcroppings and slopes with felled trees to encourage climbing, foraging and other natural behaviors. Two other snow leopards will be moved to the new habitat next week.

The habitat has four separate exhibits with enclosed, overhead passageways above the visitor walkway allowing the leopards to cross between exhibits. The ability to change the passageways and access for the cats is another element of enrichment for the animals. The Amur leopards and snow leopards will live separately but will have opportunities to trade living areas.

“The overhead passageways are one of the exciting features of this exhibit,” said Todd Speis, senior keeper, San Diego Zoo. “This feature allows the cats to get up high, which is a unique way for the visitor to observe the cat, and it’s also a place a cat naturally wants to be—it wants to be high where it can see its whole territory.”

The San Diego Zoo has two Amur leopard brothers, and one male and two female snow leopards. Additional animals will be brought to the Zoo to create breeding pairs for both species of big cats in the future. With plans to breed both species, one of the four exhibits in the new habitat can be used as a nursery for a mother and her cubs, with a glass viewing area for guests.

More than 1,600 donors contributed the $3 million dollars needed to build the habitat designed specifically for large cats. This is one of the first steps in moving animals out of the Zoo’s aging exhibits which have gone through several upgrades over the years.

The Amur leopard is believed to have just 40 individuals left in its native habitat of southern Russia and northern China. There are only 300 Amur leopards in zoos around the world, making it the most critically endangered big cat on the planet. The home range of snow leopards is the cold, rugged mountains of central Asia. It is estimated that just 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild.

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 the 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.

Photo taken on June 4, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

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

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10 Cats You Shouldn’t Cuddle With

There’s no doubt that domestic cats are cute and cuddly, but when it comes to their wild brothers and sisters, we strongly advise keeping your hands to yourself.

Connor by Darrell Ybarrondo

photo: Darrell Ybarrondo

With two- to three-inch long canine teeth, Connor would rather chow down than cuddle with you.

Jaguar by Bob Worthington

photo: Bob Worthington

We suggest you steer clear of Nindiri, or suffer the same fate as this poor rabbit.

Serval by Ion Moe

photo: Ion Moe

Kamari might look cute, but servals are perhaps the best hunters in the cat world. They make a kill in about half of all tries, which means you probably wouldn’t survive a snuggle session.

Snow leopard

The legendary snow leopard is rarely seen by humans. Cuddling with one? Don’t kid yourself.

Sumatran tiger

One look at Teddy and you know he isn’t in the mood for some TLC.

Cheetah by Stephen Moehle

photo: Stephen Moehle

With the ability to reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this cheetah’s gaze.

Fishing cat by Bob Worthington

photo: Bob Worthington

If you’re thinking “Aw, this looks just like my fluffy Felix,” think again—fishing cats can be very aggressive.

Izu

Izu barely has enough patience for his cubs, so he probably isn’t interested in your warm embrace either.

Oshana by Ion Moe

photo: Ion Moe

The same is true for Oshana.

photo: Deric Wagner

photo: Deric Wagner

Mountain lion, puma, cougar, panther—this cat is known by more names than just about any other mammal—”cuddle buddy” isn’t one of them.

 

Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 11 Incredibly Awesome Animal Moms.

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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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Penguin Cam Offers Live Views of Adorable Birds

PrintA live cam showing the antics of two young penguins at the San Diego Zoo’s Children’s Zoo debuts today. The new cam, featuring penguins Dan and McKinney, is part of a popular feature of the San Diego Zoo Global website and can be accessed at sandiegozoo100.org/penguincam.

The two young penguins are residing at the Children’s Zoo while their new habitat, Penguin Beach, is being built.  Penguin Beach, which opens in 2017 in Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks, will resemble southern Africa’s shoreline with a sandy beach nestled among towering boulders. Gentle waves from a more than 60,000-gallon penguin pool will lap on the sand and guests will be afforded close-up and underwater viewing. Also included are 30 burrows that lead to nest boxes in a penguin care center, where parents can nurture their chicks. The new habitat is being funded largely by a $5 million gift from local philanthropists Dan and Vi McKinney. The McKinneys’ leadership gift, along with support from 1,550 additional donors, will enable the Zoo to create Penguin Beach, a seashore habitat and breeding center that will be home to as many as 50 African penguins.

African penguins face many threats in the wild, and they are one of the most endangered species of penguin.  From 2001 to 2009, researchers have noticed a decrease in the African penguin population by more than 60%, making the conservation of this species critical.

San Diego Zoo Global is taking a leadership role in conservation awareness and hosts more than 275,000 schoolchildren on grounds at the San Diego Zoo each year. San Diego Zoo Global works with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) on conservation efforts for African penguins in South Africa and is part of the conservation action plan called SAFE. This program is a biodiversity management plan looking at challenges and concerns these birds are facing in the wild, including commercial fishing, human disturbance of habitat and oil spills.

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, 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.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Tag, You’re It!

The public is invited to help select a name for the Zoo's rambunctious jaguar cub.

The public is invited to help select a name for the Zoo’s rambunctious jaguar cub.

A jaguar cub taps his mother playfully during a morning spent outside at the San Diego Zoo. Animal care staff has been giving the mother, Nindiri, and the wobbly-legged cub access to explore the area beyond the two bedrooms they share.

The public is being asked to help the Zoo select a name for the young cub through voting at www.bit.ly/NameTheCub. Voting will close on Sunday, May 24.

The cub was born at 8:30 p.m. on March 12, 2015, inside the jaguar den at the Harry & Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey exhibit. This is the third cub for 7-year-old Nindiri.

Photo taken on May 22, 2015, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Hippo Mother Nudges Curious Calf at the San Diego Zoo

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Devi gets a gentle, loving nudge from her mother, Funani.

Devi, an 8-week-old hippopotamus is nosed to shallower water by her mother Funani Thursday morning at the San Diego Zoo. The female calf has recently been venturing to the farthest reaches and deepest parts of the 150,000-gallon pool.  But everywhere Devi goes, Funani is just a few feet away. Hippo mothers are known for being very protective.  For the first six weeks of Devi’s life, it was very hard for guests – and keepers – to see the calf because Funani often had her tucked into vegetation near the shore, and kept her body between the calf and the public.

This morning, the curious calf could be seen repeatedly popping up to the glass wall of her 150,000 gallon pool take to take a look at all the guests who were fascinated with her. Hippos have a membrane that protects their eyes and allows them to see underwater, which means that Devi can watch the guests watching her.

Devi was born on Monday, March 23 at 6:30 a.m. with animal care staff observing. Funani and Devi share the exhibit with Devi’s father, Otis. Mother and daughter can be seen on exhibit Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

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.

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.

Photo taken on May 21, 2015, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

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

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Masai Giraffe Calf Deemed Healthy and Strong after First Medical Exam at San Diego Zoo

Here's looking at you, kid!

Here’s looking at you, kid!

A one-day-old female Masai giraffe at the San Diego Zoo had her first medical exam earlier today. Veterinarians and animal care staff covered the newborn’s eyes with a soft towel to keep her calm while they confirmed her sex, checked her eyes, ears, tongue and throat, drew blood to ensure she is nursing properly, and checked her umbilicus for proper healing. Initial results determined the calf is healthy and strong, even though she is still getting used to her long, wobbly legs. The lanky youngster weighed in at 136 pounds and stands 6 feet tall; she may weigh as much as 500 pounds and stand 7 to 7 ½ feet tall by the time she is 6 months old.

After the exam, the youngster ventured around the maternity yard with her doting mother, Bahati. The curious calf interacted with her father, Silver, and other members of the Zoo’s giraffe herd from the protective fencing set up by keepers to separate the newborn and her mother from the herd until the calf is strong enough to venture into the larger habitat and interact with the others.

Bahati gave birth to the calf in the afternoon of May 19 after a three-hour labor under the watchful eyes of her keepers and to the amazement of Zoo guests. The experienced mother immediately began bonding with her calf, and Bahati helped the calf stand just minutes after her introduction to the world.

Masai giraffes, also known as Kilimanjaro giraffes, are the world’s tallest land animals and are native to Kenya and Tanzania. Masai giraffes are the most populous of the giraffe subspecies, but all giraffe populations have decreased from approximately 140,000 in the late 1990s to less than 80,000 today because of habitat loss and competition with livestock for resources. As a result, the future of giraffes is dependent on the quality of habitat that remains. San Diego Zoo Global supports community conservation efforts in Kenya and Uganda that are finding ways for people and wildlife to live together.

This is the 11th calf born to Bahati. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can see the giraffe calf, yet to be named, on exhibit in the Urban Jungle.

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, 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 inspiring 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.

Photo taken on May 20, 2015 by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

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