April 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
The gentoo penguins have now laid 101 eggs! This means that they have beat last year’s total of 94 eggs, and have reached the 100 mark! So it seems that even our penguins have decided to join in the RZSS centenary celebrations! We expect their eggs to begin hatching any day now, as we announced the laying of the first eggs just over one month ago. Gentoo egg incubation takes around 35 – 38 days. Next time you are in the zoo why not stop for a while at the gentoo nest site; you may just spot some hatchlings!
A taste of what’s to come…
We are pleased to announce the birth of a male Nyala on the 22nd March. The male, has just turned one month old and has been named ‘Kirabo’, meaning ‘gift’. He can already be seen out on the ‘African Plains’ enclosure with the rest of his herd and has found his feet well. He joined a young female Nyala, born on the 17th December last year, who was named ‘Myiesha’, meaning ‘blessing of life’. Our Nyala herd now has 9 individuals, ranging from 4 years to one month old, and we expect it to continue growing. Watch this space for news of more births to come!
The Nyala herd can be seen on the African Plains enclosure
Our hoofstock section has certainly been kept busy recently as we can also announce the birth of a female Javan Chevrotain (also known as a mouse deer), on the 21st March. Although this one month old has not been named yet she is doing very well and can be seen outside the Pudu house (although not living with the Pudus!) with her mother ‘Minnie’, and a young male who was born only last year and arrived at Edinburgh Zoo just this month.
Javan chevrotains are the smallest hoofed animals in the world and are endemic to the island of Java. They have not been classified by the IUCN redlist as not enough data has been collected to determine the state of this species, and their survival in the wild. Two threats that are likely to be affecting wild chevrotain populations however, are the bushmeat and pet trades. Chevrotains are often spotted being traded at markets, both alive and dead in Java. It is therefore important that zoos work to conserve this animal that little is known about in the wild.
An adult Chevrotain, the smallest hoofed animal in the world
This Thursday Edinburgh Zoo will be welcoming a different sort of ‘animal’ to the zoo! In line with the premier of the film ‘X-men Origins: Wolverine’, and the launch of the computer game, a cardboard cut-out of the X-men character ‘Wolverine’ will be put into one of our real wolverine enclosures. This is to celebrate a very generous donation of £6k towards the care of our wolverines here at the zoo, from Activision, the company launching the computer game. It will certainly be interesting to watch the wolverine’s reaction to this, and the cardboard cut-out should provide some great enrichment for them. I’m just not sure how long it will last! Wolverines are known for their ferocity and fearlessness, and I’m sure it won’t take them long to tear down a cardboard cut-out! In the wild, wolverines have been known to hunt animals, such as Caribou, twelve times their own size!
The wolverine, a ferocious predator
You may also recall that we mixed our male wolverine with one of our female wolverines back in February. The two appeared to enjoy one another’s company greatly, and some really positive behaviours were observed, leading us to hope that perhaps some successful breeding would result. The two wolverines have been separated for some time now, because outside of their breeding season, they are much happier as solitary animals. We can report that there has been no change in the behaviour of the female which would lead us to suspect a pregnancy. However, you may recall that wolverines can utilise ‘delayed implantation’ of the embryo to ensure that their young only develop and are born at an optimal time when food is plentiful. Although it is unlikely that our female has utilised ‘delayed implantation’, as in captivity there is no need for this, there is always a chance of it happening. At the moment, it looks unlikely that our wolverines will be welcoming any kits into the world this year, but we will keep you updated if we notice any changes