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Zoo Babies: Winter 2018

Shoshana Lewin

If it has been awhile since something made you go "awwwww" -- fear not! We have a ton of reasons for you to say it today. We've rounded up some of the newest members of the animal kingdom from around the country for you to fawn over -- and possibly meet in person. For the ones not yet named, many of the zoos are asking guests to suggest names via social media, which means YOUR name could be chosen.

Brookfield Zoo in Illinois




Name: To be determined ...

Animal Type: Wombat

Born: February 4, 2017

More Information: It wasn’t until the joey was about 6½ months old that animal care staff first saw her emerge from mother Kambora’s pouch. At birth, a wombat joey is tiny and hairless, and is about the size of a bumblebee. Guests can venture over to the zoo’s Australia House to see the latest addition along with her mom, 17-year-old Kambora. In 1969, Brookfield Zoo received three southern hairy-nosed wombats, and, in 1974, became the first zoo outside of Australia to successfully breed the species in professional care. Since then, there have been 21 wombat births at Brookfield Zoo.

Did You Know? Southern hairy-nosed wombats, whose closest living relative is the koala, are thick, heavy-bodied animals. They are native to central southern Australia, where they live in arid to semiarid savannah woodlands, grasslands, and low shrub plains.

 

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota


 

Name: Nyati

Animal: Western lowland gorilla

Born: October 2017

More Information: Nyati, born October 18, 2017, is the daughter of Alice and Schroeder, a 31-year-old silverback western lowland gorilla. Schroeder’s troop includes females Nne (29 and pronounced E-Nee); Dara (14) and Dara’s baby, Arlene (2); and Alice (15).

Did You Know? Gorillas have an eight-and-a-half-month gestation period. Offspring are born nearly helpless except to cling to their mother’s hair and to nurse. Young gorillas stay with their mothers for several years after birth. At birth, baby gorillas weigh between 4 and 5 pounds.

 

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio


 

Names: Fleck and Pitino

Animal: Emperor Tamarins

Born:  August 8, 2017

More Information: Como Zoo named its twin baby male emperor tamarins, born August 8, “Fleck” and “Pitino” after the new University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck, and the University of Minnesota basketball coach Richard Pitino. Fleck and Pitino are the fifth and sixth babies born to parents Lara and Roger. The gender of the twins usually takes several weeks to determine with absolute certainty. Along with Lara and Roger, Fleck and Pitino join brothers Luke and Chewbacca (Chewy) at Como Zoo.

Did You Know? After birth, it is a male, usually the father, who will carry the babies on his back for the first 6-7 weeks. The fathers do the majority of the caretaking, usually only handing the infants over to the mother for nursing. Siblings often help the father carry the babies.

 

Denver Zoo  in Colorado


 

Name: Forest

Animal: Okapi

Born: December 2017

More Information: The male calf was born to mother Kalispell (Kal-lis-pell) and weighed just under 40 pounds. The calf is only the seventh birth of his species at the zoo. Forest is the second birth for both of his parents, and when ready he will be in the okapi yard near Toyota Elephant Passage.

Did You Know? Okapis look like a cross between zebras and giraffes. In fact, the species is the only living relative to the giraffe. Adult okapis weigh between 500 and 700 pounds and stand approximately five feet tall at the shoulder. Females are generally larger than males, and this rare species was only first discovered about 100 years ago.

 

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois


 

Name: To be determined ...

Animal: Goeldi's monkeys

Born: October 2017

More Information: The family shares the Helen Brach Primate House with many friends, including the howler monkeys.

Did You Know? Goeldi's monkeys are also known as marmosets and callimicos. This small primate species is native to northwestern South America, where loss of its Amazon forest habitat threatens its survival.

 

The Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin




Name: Kazi

Animal: Reticulated giraffe

Born: September 2017

More Information: The male calf was born in the afternoon to mom, Ziggy (originally from Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and dad, Bahatika (from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado). This is Ziggy’s second calf and they can be seen at the giraffe exhibit.

Did You Know? In the wild, giraffes are found throughout the savannas of Africa. Although not threatened by extinction, the wild giraffe population is less than 80,000 and decreasing; but exact numbers are uncertain.

 

Oregon Zoo in Portland




Name: Lincoln

Animal: Sea otter

Born: October 2017

More Information: The tiny pup, rescued in late October, was stranded in Morro Bay Harbor when he was less than 2 weeks old. Unable to be paired with a surrogate mom, he was eventually deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The orphaned sea otter was given a home at the Oregon Zoo last year and can be seen with adult sea otters Eddie and Juno at Steller Cove. Otter fans can watch this video of Lincoln exploring his behind-the-scenes pool.

Did You Know? The species was hunted to extinction along the Oregon coast in the early 1900s and has not established permanent residence in the state for more than a century.

 

 The Phoenix Zoo in Arizona




Name:  Siku

Animal: Masaii giraffe

Born: September 2017

More Information: Siku (pronounced ‘see-koo’) means “day” in Swahili and spends a lot of time with her mom, Sunshine, a 4-year-old Masai giraffe on the Africa Trail in the Savanna exhibit. She arrived at the zoo in order to breed with 8-year-old male Masai giraffe, Miguu (pronounced Mee-goo), who came to Phoenix in 2010 from the Los Angeles Zoo.

Did You Know? Although most people think that giraffes are among the quietest animals in the world, they do make some basic sounds, but not very often. Additionally, most of their communication takes place at frequencies that are much lower than the human hearing capability.

 

St. Louis Zoo in Missouri




Names: Eight not-yet-named babies

Animal: Cheetah cubs

Born: November 2017

More Information:  The cubs, three males and five females, were born at River’s Edge Cheetah Breeding. Mother and cubs are doing well and will remain in their private, indoor maternity den behind the scenes at River’s Edge for the next several months.

Did You Know? In over 430 litters as documented by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, this is the first time a female cheetah has produced and reared on her own a litter of eight cubs at a zoo. The average litter size is three to four cubs.

 

 San Diego Zoo in California




Name: To be determined ...

What Kind of Animal: Hippopotamus

Born: September 2017

More Information: The male hippo calf was born to mother, river hippopotamus Funani, and father, Otis. This is Funani’s twelfth calf.

Did You Know? One cup of hippo milk provides approximately 550 calories to a baby calf.

 

 San Diego Zoo in California




Names: Eight not-yet-named babies

Animal: West African Dwarf Crocodiles

Born: November 2017

More Information: The parents are 11-year-old female Yendi, and a 50-year-old male named Kumba, who can be seen by guests in the West African Forest habitat at Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks. This is the first hatching of its kind in the zoo’s 101-year history.

Did You Know? Like other crocodilian species, the gender of West African dwarf crocodiles is dependent on egg incubation temperatures, with higher temperatures required to hatch males.

 

San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California




Names: Rakan and Moka

Animal: Sumatran tiger cub and Bengal tiger cub

Born: October 2017

More Information: The Bengal tiger cub (Rakan) was brought to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Aug. 23, after being confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers during a vehicle inspection at the U.S./Mexico port of entry near San Diego. The Sumatran tiger cub (Moka) was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, but his mother was unable to care for him properly. They can be seen on the Tull Family Tiger Trail.

Did You Know? The Sumatran tiger cub is considered to be bolder and braver than the Bengal cub.

 

San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California




Name: Roketi

Animal: Cheetah cub

Born: November 2017

More Information: Animal care staff made the decision to hand-rear the cub because she was very small compared to her siblings — four brothers and one sister. She will remain at the Safari Park for about three months, and will then move to the San Diego Zoo to become an animal ambassador.

Did You Know? Over the past 50 years, cheetahs have become extinct in at least 13 countries.

 

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.




Names: To be determined ...

Animal: Two screaming hairy armadillos

Born: August 2017

More Information: The pups’ parents, Amber and Dylan Walter, were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Screaming Hairy Armadillo Species Survival Plan. These are the first pups for both parents. Visitors will be able to see the pups at the zoo after they have grown larger and have acclimated to their enclosure.

Did You Know? Screaming hairy armadillos are native to South America and are listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They get their name from the squealing noise they emit if they are threatened, and the greater amount of hair they have compared to other armadillo species. At less than 2 pounds fully grown, the screaming hairy armadillo is the smallest of the three species of hairy armadillos.

 

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.




Name: To be determined ...

Animal: Prehensile-tailed porcupine

Born: October 2017

More Information: The porcupette (the name for a baby porcupine) is the fourth offspring for 11-year-old mother, Bess, and 8-year-old father, Clark, and can be found in the Small Mammal House.

Did You Know? Native to South America, prehensile-tailed porcupines are one of about 18 species of New World porcupines. They have short, rigid quills interspersed with soft hairs. At birth, porcupette quills are soft, but they harden within minutes. An arboreal species, prehensile-tailed porcupines are adept at climbing and spend their time in tree canopies eating leaves, flowers, shoots, and other vegetation. The name prehensile means “capable of grasping”; the underside of its tail lacks quills, allowing the porcupine to grip branches with this appendage and navigate the forest canopy with ease.

 

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.




Name: To be determined ...

Animal: Dama gazelle

Born: August 2017

More Information: The male calf was born in an off-exhibit enclosure on Aug. 30 to 10-year-old mother Adara, and 3-year-old father Edem. This is the fourth calf for Adara, but the first for Edem.

Did You Know? Native to Chad, Mali, and Niger, dama gazelles are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Less than 500 dama gazelles remain in the wild due to habitat loss from human and livestock expansion, hunting, and drought.

 

Zoo Atlanta in Georgia




Name: To be determined ...

Animal: Angolan colobus

Born: October 2017

More Information: Mommy is named Adanna. These monkeys are highly active and easy to observe in the mixed-species primate habitats near The Living Treehouse. On colder days, however, they generally choose to spend time in their heated indoor areas.

Did You Know? Anolan colobus are born completely white, and as they mature, their hair starts to turn black.
Porcupine image: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo; Dama gazelle image: Gil Myers, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Shoshana Lewin Fischer is the Senior Content Manager for YP.com. She is a writer and blogger whose work has appeared on Wonder & Co., Disney Family, Disney Baby, MousePlanet.com, and The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
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