August 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
Over the past month, babies have been born by the bucket load! We are pleased to announce several of the new arrivals this week.
The hoofstock section have been kept as busy as ever, with two different species under their care, giving birth this month. On the 26th June a white-lipped deer was born to our relatively new herd here at Edinburgh Zoo. The new arrival, a young male christened ‘Gansu’, has been named after a northern province in China, where the species can be found natively. White lipped deer are one of the largest deer species, measuring up to 2 metres in length, and growing 5 pronged antlers, that can span up to 1.3 metres! Unfortunately, they are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN red list due to a declining population.
You may recall that we received 12 new white lipped deer earlier this year. These individuals were brought to Edinburgh in order to increase the number in our resident herd, and in doing so, make the deer feel more comfortable. It is encouraging to see that our herd has already welcomed one new youngster into their fold, and we hope it is the start of more to come (although it is unlikely any others will give birth this year). There are currently just over a hundred individuals of white-lipped deer resident in captivity, worldwide. It is therefore important for us to keep and breed this species in order to protect them and learn more about them.
Relaxing in the summer sun!
From one of the largest species of deer, to the smallest species of deer in the world; the hoofstock section have also welcomed a baby southern pudu into the world this month! Jeff, a male, was born 2nd July to and can be seen in the pudu enclosure opposite to the monkey house. This ‘vulnerable’ species is also in decline, and current conservation efforts include better coordination of the international captive breeding program to ensure that the population is healthy and diverse. Just like the white-lipped deer, the international captive breeding program totals just over 100 individuals, and so the breeding successes here at Edinburgh are important. Why not pop along to the pudu house to see if you can spot little Jeff out and about?
The size of an adult pudu!
Our penguin youngsters are also doing well, and can still be seen in the crèche area of the penguin enclosure. They are keeping very busy learning to swim in the shallow pool, feeding from the keepers and socialising with one another. In the meantime, many of the adult gentoo penguins are now beginning their annual moult. During this time, the penguins will stay out of the water (as they are not waterproof), and for the most part save their energy by staying pretty stationary! They will also look incredibly scruffy! However, it will all be worth it, as within just a few weeks most of the gentoos will be sporting fresh feathers and looking very dapper indeed!
The moulting begins!
And finally, we have yet another birth to announce! On the 19th May, a giant anteater was born! You may recall that a new breeding pair of giant anteaters arrived at the zoo back in April, and we were hopeful that they would quickly begin breeding. Well, our wish was granted, because unbeknown to us, the female arrived at Edinburgh already pregnant!
Hitching a ride with mum!
Despite being a few months old now, keepers have still not been able to sex the baby. In fact, it is unlikely that they will be able to get close to the baby for a few months yet, as mother is very protective and anteaters can be dangerous. However, the baby can now be viewed, usually in the top enclosed area of the South American grasslands enclosure, at the very top of the zoo. This area is kept darkened as anteaters are nocturnal animals, and as a result, this is the place you are most likely to find this youngster during the day. If you spot the adult female, do look carefully for her infant, as it is likely to be camouflaged well. The infant is born with an adult coat and immediately climbs onto its mother’s back for safety. The infant can walk one month after birth but it will remain on the mothers back for up to a year and stay with her until they are two years old.
Showing of its impressive tongue!