Babies and more babies!
September 23, 2009 § 1 Comment
The breeding success at Edinburgh Zoo has continued recently, with two more species adding to their numbers. Read on to find out more.
Over the summer a pair of twin ringtail lemur babies were born. Isalo, a female and Anakao, a male, were born on the 26th June to mother, Claire (recognisable by the green and purple beads in the necklace she wears), and father, Sam (the only mature male in the group). This is only the second time that Claire has given birth as she is still a young mum, at just 5 years old. However, she is doing a fantastic job and is helped out by the rest of her group.
Youngsters spend a lot of their time being carried around on their mother’s back, and looking over her shoulder. However, they will not hesitate in jumping from mum’s back, onto any other lemurs! The rest of the group is usually happy to play aunty or uncle to the youngsters for a while, carrying them around and playing with them. This helps the youngsters to learn about foraging, communication, grooming and plenty of other behaviours from not just mum, but all of their peers. These two youngsters are now almost 3 months old, and are beginning to venture further away from the adults, exploring the enclosure for themselves. However, they are still easily recognisable by their small size and playful ways! Why not try and spot them next time you’re passing?
We are pleased to announce that two red river hog piglets were born on the 14th August. Red river hogs have been at Edinburgh Zoo since 2004 but this is the first year they have bred successfully. Young adults, 5 year old Belle and 3 year old Hamish are now very proud, first time parents to a boy named Sammi and a girl named Becca!
Proud mum, Belle, watches over Sammi and Becca
Both youngsters have yellow and brown stripy coats but when they mature they will look very different. Adult red river hogs have a shaggy red coat, with a tufted white stripe running the length of its back. They also have long black and white tassels of hair hanging from each ear. This change in colouration helps the animals to camouflage and defend themselves in the wild. The yellow and brown stripy coat of the youngsters is perfect for blending into the undergrowth of swamps, marshes and forests in their native western and central Africa. This keeps them safe when they are too young to defend themselves otherwise. The shaggy red coat with a tufted white stripe and tassels, sported by the adults, makes them look larger to other animals. This makes them look less vulnerable to predators such as leopards, lion, hyena and pythons. The adults also sport tusks which assist them in defending themselves.
Learning from Mum that any food is good food!
Kathleen Graham, Head Keeper of Hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are thrilled that the red river hogs have bred this year. The piglets are really playful and have been chasing each other around their enclosure. Belle is also doing well and is proving to be an excellent mum to her two youngsters. We hope that this is the first of many contributions our red river hogs make to the breeding programme.”
And finally, we can now confirm that 8 Heck Cattle have arrived safe and well at Edinburgh Zoo. This new group consists of 3 males and 5 females, ranging from the ages of 7 and 1 year old. They are housed in the old Addax field and have been settling in well to their new enclosure. However, the keepers have experienced some aggression from these large cattle. They have already ripped off their water trough and one particularly challenging female has been aptly named ‘Psycho’! It appears that when you breed back a wild, ancestral animal of this size, you have to take the good with the bad!