May Begins…

May 6, 2009 § 2 Comments


The start of May and the coming of the long bank holiday weekend has seen plenty of goings on here at Edinburgh Zoo.

We are particularly pleased to announce that the first Gentoo penguin chicks have hatched from their eggs and can be spotted on the Gentoo nest site. The first hatched out one week ago on the 29th April, and now 8 more have followed over the last week. That brings the current count to 9 chicks and counting! The Gentoo penguins have laid 109 eggs to date this year, and so we can expect plenty more chicks to hatch out soon.

If you are visiting the zoo, look carefully for the chicks, who are often hidden underneath their protective parents! You may spot the chicks when they are hungry, as this causes their parent to sit-up, revealing their chicks underneath. The newly-hatched chicks get all their food from their parents, who regurgitate fish they have already consumed. Watch out for the chicks lifting their beaks to their parents and tapping them, as they demand more food! You might also hear their quiet, but really quite high-pitched calls as they try to communicate with their parents!

 Two new siblings look out from their father’s belly!

Two new siblings look out from their father’s belly! 

Dad checks on his two youngsters

Dad checks on his two youngsters

A spot of dinner? Dad regurgitates some fish to one of his chicks 

A spot of dinner? Dad regurgitates some fish to one of his chicks

 We waved good bye to our Bactrian camels last week as they left Edinburgh Zoo for the Highland Wildlife Park. These three individuals, one male and three females, will be sadly missed here at the zoo, but we are sure that they will settle in well to their new home. The camels are currently ‘off-show’ at the Highland Wildlife Park, and will be for the next 6 weeks, as the ‘Main reserve’ is prepared for their arrival. We will keep you posted with when you can expect to start seeing them out and about up there.

Our camels are off to pastures new!

Our camels are off to pastures new!

The camel enclosure here at Edinburgh Zoo did not stay empty for long, as some new arrivals moved in the very same day! These new arrivals are individuals from ‘Berlin Tierpark’ and Wuppertal Zoo, who will eventually be joining our existing groups of White-lipped Deer and Chinese Goral.

Two goral, one male and one female arrived to be paired with our existing resident goral. The new female, aged 7 will be the ideal mate for our resident male, aged 6. And the new male, born only last year, will be the ideal future mate for our young female, Bejing, who was also born just last year. This provides a happy ending to what was a dramatic year for our Chinese Goral. Bejing was born here in August last year, and shortly after her birth, her mother died. This meant that her keepers had to take on the difficult role of hand-rearing her. This requires keepers to be on hand at least every two hours, even throughout the night, in order to provide the young with regular milk feeds. As you can imagine, it is a very tiring and time-consuming role, and one that does not always guarantee the young will survive. However, Bejing responded well to her keepers care and grew strong. She was reintroduced to the male Goral later in the year, and these two have been keeping one another company ever since. However, I am sure they will welcome the new arrivals as Goral do prefer to live in small groups of between 4 and 12 individuals. The new arrivals also mean that we can continue our breeding efforts for this Vulnerable species here at Edinburgh Zoo.

The Chinese goral, a vulnerable species of ‘goat-antelope’

The Chinese goral, a vulnerable species of  ‘goat-antelope’

Twelve white-lipped deer, seven male and five female also arrived. This new additions will eventually take our total white-lipped deer herd to 16 individuals, 7 females and 9 males. This species prefers to live in large herds, and so by increasing their numbers we can do our very best to imitate their natural way of living, and encourage breeding. This is important for the white lipped deer, classified by the IUCN Redlist as ‘Vulnerable’ in 2008. They are threatened in the wild by over-hunting for their antlers, meat and other body parts (used in traditional medicines), and competition with livestock, leading to degradation of their habitat. By breeding this species in captivity we can therefore safe-guard the species and learn more about them, in order to ensure their protection for the future.

‘Logan’ our male wolverine isn’t fazed by his on-screen counter-part 

‘Logan’ our male wolverine isn’t fazed by his on-screen counter-part

On a lighter note, we finish this week’s blog with a picture of what happened when our male Wolverine was introduced to the X-men wolverine last week! It actually looks as though our Wolverine was far more interested in the cameras, than the cardboard cut-out erected in his enclosure. And we can report that he did not bother to waste his energy doing any more than having quick sniff around this cardboard cut-out ‘pretender’. It obviously wasn’t worth his effort! However, to mark the occasion, and the adoption of Edinburgh Zoo’s wolverines by Activision, our male’s name has now been changed to ‘Logan’, in honour of the on-screen character. Although, we doubt he really minds either way!


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§ 2 Responses to May Begins…

  • david says:

    The camel house will be bursting at the seams now, will both the deer and the goral be staying at the zoo or will they be going to the HWP eventually?

  • rzss says:

    These animals are intended to stay at Edinburgh Zoo, and are only living in the camel house as a temporary measure while they are tested for Blue Tongue. They will be moving to join to their respective enclosures to join the other individuals of their species in the future.

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