Easter Arrives…

April 8, 2009 § 4 Comments


 

The Easter holidays have begun, and if you are visiting the zoo over the next couple of weeks, expect it to be busy! Typically, Easter weekend is the busiest weekend of the zoo year, as families flock to the zoo to see the animal eggs and babies!

 

And they won’t be disappointed! Our Gentoo Penguins have now laid an impressive 33 eggs, while our Rockhopper Penguins have gone further still, having laid 10 eggs now! Eggs can be spotted with ease on the Gentoo nest site, as parents swap over ‘incubation duty’ and take their turn at looking after their eggs.

 

We can also now officially announce the birth of our three Gelada baboon babies, the first ever born at Edinburgh Zoo! The first, born on 10th February has been named Chandu (meaning ‘octopus’) and is a male. The second, born on 6th March, is another male, and has been named Chibale (meaning ‘kinship’). And the third, born on 10th March has been named Chiku (meaning ‘chatter’), although its sex is as yet, unknown. The names for the three baboons have been chosen by their keepers to reflect the Ethiopian origin of this species.

 

Chiku, the youngest of the three, is sticking close to mum for the mean time 

Chiku, the youngest of the three, is sticking close to mum for the mean time

 

This species is restricted in the wild to grassy Ethiopian highlands. This habitat is being threatened by an increasing human population, agricultural expansion and competition with livestock. They are also persecuted by farmers, fearing the baboons raid their crops. The Gelada population is therefore decreasing. However, despite the increasing threats to their survival, their range is still large and they are abundant. It is fantastic that Edinburgh Zoo has successfully bred this species, after keeping them for only 2 years. Malachi, the father to all three babies, only arrived last year. However, it is evident that he wasted no time in taking the dominant role over the group, and fathering his first offspring!  All three youngsters can be seen out and about with the rest of their group, on their hillside enclosure.

 

Chandu and Chibale are more independent and are becoming rather adventurous, exploring their enclosure and playing together

Chandu and Chibale are more independent and are becoming rather adventurous, exploring their enclosure and playing together

 

On the 2nd April two Giant Anteaters arrived at Edinburgh Zoo. This follows the departure of our male Giant Anteater to another collection, back in February. Now a different male and female have arrived, and we hope to begin breeding this ‘Near Threatened’ species in the future. The Giant Anteaters will be sharing a ‘South American grassland’ enclosure with the Maned Wolves at the zoo hilltop. The Maned Wolves have had the enclosure all to themselves for the last month in the hopes of breeding success (watch this space for more news on this one!), and we hope that the Giant Anteaters will settle in well and follow in the Maned Wolves footsteps!

 

The nocturnal Giant Anteaters can be spotted (if your lucky!) at the Zoo hilltop 

The nocturnal Giant Anteaters can be spotted (if your lucky!) at the Zoo hilltop

 

As well as plenty of moving animals between zoos, keepers at Edinburgh have also been moving around some of our animals between enclosures. Recently, the Red-fronted Brown Lemurs have been moved from their old enclosure opposite the Budongo Trail, to the Walk-through Exhibit near the Zoo entrance. They have swapped enclosures with the rather shy Blue-eyed Black Lemurs who were rarely seen out in the walk-through exhibit. In comparison, the Red-fronted Brown Lemurs have been enjoying the large walk-through exhibit, and can be seen out and about, making the most of their new enclosure. Why not take a walk through, and get a closer look next time you are in the zoo?

 

 

Our pair of dimorphic Red-fronted Brown Lemurs – the female pictured in front, and the male (sporting the red tufts) pictured behind

Our pair of dimorphic Red-fronted Brown Lemurs – the female pictured in front, and the male (sporting the red tufts) pictured behind

 

Now that the Blue-eyed Black Lemurs have settled into their new enclosure, keepers are slowly attempting to mix them with the Ringtailed Lemurs, so that both species can enjoy the large outdoor enclosure attaching their inside houses. So far, the lemurs have approached each other with playful curiosity! However, the keepers will keep a close eye on them to ensure there are no violent or territorial interactions. We will keep you updated with the introduction process right here!

 

The Ring-tailed Lemurs can often be seen ‘sunbathing’ in warm weather  

The Ring-tailed Lemurs can often be seen ‘sunbathing’ in warm weather

 

 

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§ 4 Responses to Easter Arrives…

  • Barry says:

    The news about the Rockhoppers just keeps on getting better. Is this the best ever year? If so is this because of a change in husbandry and/or diet? Of course one should not count one’s penguins before they are hatched

    The arrival of a pair of Giant Anteaters is exciting and, as you rightly say, they are normally considered to be nocturnal but I have seen them out and about in the middle of the day in London Zoo.

    Also congratulations to the primate section on the breeding of the Geladas. A small point I don’t think Geladas are true “Baboons”. Isn’t there a difference in the thumb? I could be wrong.

    Would appreciate your comments.

  • rainbowtotz says:

    We loved our trip to Edinburgh Zoo this Easter hols, highly recommend it!!

  • robinsaunders says:

    I need to visit the zoo again this weekend so I can photograph the penguins and their eggs before they hatch!

    I love the photographs on this blog.

  • rzss says:

    You are right, Geladas are not considered true baboons, but have been placed in their own genus ‘Theropithecus’. However, some genetic research suggests that this monkey should, in fact, be grouped with its baboon kin; while other researchers have classified this species even farther distant from the baboon genus ‘Papio’.
    Physically, Geladas differ by having nostrils that are a further distance from the tip of the muzzle than other baboons. Other physical features which distinguish Geladas from any other primate species are indeed their highly developed thumbs (the most developed of all the primates) and their colourful chests. Their diet too, is strictly foliovorous, compared to baboons who tend to be omnivorous.
    Despite these differences, there are many similarities between Geladas and true baboons, and we can be sure that they are closely related to one another.

    With regards, to our rockhopper breeding success, please see the latest post for more information.

    And fingers crossed, perhaps the new anteaters may make some appearances during zoo opening hours! Please let us know if you do spot them.

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