Baby Boom at the Zoo!

Babies, babies, and more babies! This June has seen a massive baby boom throughout the Houston Zoo, with the biggest baby yet to come when later this summer, the zoo will welcome a 250-300-pound Asian elephant calf.

 

A California sea lion pup was born to first-time mother, Cali, on June 26 after a three-hour labor. The pup and Cali began to bond immediately, and nursing was spotted within hours. The sex of the pup has not yet been determined and the mother and pup will spend a while behind the scenes strengthening their bond before they are ready to make their first public appearance.

This birth is the second sea lion pup to be born at the Houston Zoo in the past year. TJ, was born to Cali’s sister Kamia just last summer.

The sea lions at the Houston Zoo play a major part in the zoo’s Take Action conservation initiatives. As ambassadors for the sustainable seafood program, the sea lions help guests understand that the simple choices they make can have a big impact on animals. The zoo’s sea lions eat 23,850 pounds of responsibly-caught, sustainable fish each year. Sustainable seafood is defined as seafood that is either responsibly wild-caught or farm-raised that not only keeps current populations of marine wildlife at balanced numbers, but ensures they thrive over the long term. The methods by which the seafood is harvested or raised must not cause undue harm to the ocean. The Houston Zoo strongly believes that embracing the use of sustainable seafood is one of the best ways we can all protect our oceans’ health.

Two red river hogs were born to first-time-mother, Luna, on Tuesday, June 27. This is the first litter of red river hogs to be born at the Houston Zoo since they were brought to Texas in 2015 for Gorillas of the African Forest. Though gorillas and red river hogs share the same forest lands in Africa, this is truly a unique experience as you won’t see them together in a shared habitat in any other zoo.

The two yet-to-be-named hoglets made their public debut today, and can be seen frolicking in the dry riverbed of the habitat along with their mother and the other two adult hogs, Neptune and Vidalia.

The Houston Zoo is protecting red river hogs in the wild by providing funding for wildlife saving education programs in the area the hogs live in Africa.  The education programs guide local people to protecting red river hogs and other local animals in the wild.

In the zoo’s aquarium department, a fever of five white blotched river stingrays were born on Sunday, June 18. The stingrays are currently behind the scenes in quarantine. They have joined the fever (or group) of stingrays that were born in January 2017 and a few born in October 2016.

Stingrays are ovoviviparous, meaning they bear live young. Once the female stingray gives birth, the babies are left on their own. They have a yolk sac from which they absorb nutrients until they can eat on their own. Stingrays, both in the wild and at the zoo, enjoy meals of worms and shrimp.

As their name would suggest, the white blotched river stingrays have several white spots on their backs. This helps them to camouflage in the rocky bottom riverbeds where they reside in the Amazon River Basin of South America. Each white blotched river stingray is unique; no two have the same spot pattern.

The Houston Zoo is working to ensure a safe environment for rays in the wild.  Plastic bags can end up in water ways and be dangerous for aquatic animals.

Guests can see two, recently hatched Palawan peacock-pheasant chicks being raised by their mother in the zoo’s Birds of the World habitat.

This small threatened pheasant species is only found on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The males of this species are brightly colored and have eye spots on their tails, which are used in a courtship display to attract females.

The Palawan peacock-pheasant lays a clutch of two eggs that hatch after an incubation period of 18 to 20 days. The Species Survival Plan for this species is managed by Houston Zoo bird department supervisor, Mollie Coym. The zoo is helping to save this species in the wild through the Take Action Initiative for Palm Oil. Guests can also help this species in the wild by checking labels and purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil.

Ten African bush vipers were born on June 11 inside the zoo’s Reptile and Amphibian House. Like most pit vipers, the neonates were born live instead of hatched from eggs like many other types of snakes. These tiny vipers weigh-in at a mere two grams when born and are expected to grow to be between 18-24 inches long. Bush vipers vary in color, mostly shades of green, but can also be bright yellow, grey, even red.

These snakes are found in the tropical rainforests of western and central Africa and get their name from their preference for lower bushes rather than the tall canopy trees. The baby snakes will remain behind-the-scenes while they continue to grow. The Houston Zoo is saving African bush vipers in the wild by providing funds for education programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that empower local people to protect the forested homes of the wild African bush viper.



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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam. Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years.

The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/
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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam.  Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years. 
 
The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: https://www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/

 

Comment on Facebook

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur; happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr #RIP #bigbangtheory

I know he lived a lot longer due to the excellent care he got at the Zoo.

Aww. When interning in the carnivore dept he was one of my faves. So smart! Ashley remember when Angie was teaching him to do the moonwalk after Michael Jackson passed?

So sorry for the loss of this beautiful creature. Kan Balam.

Is this the one that had the limp?

Thank you Houston Zoo for taking such good care of him and all the animals! I've been going to this zoo since I was little bitty. I always enjoy it.

RIP Kan Balam. You have given the visitors so much pleasure just watching you over these years. You were taken care of by top notch professional handlers, etc.

So sorry for your loss. He was a brilliant cat and he is at peace now and free.

So sorry they had to go through this, a decision that is emotional and difficult, and necessary.

Thank you to you and your staff for the years of quality care given this magnificant creature.

Sending my love to Kan Balam's keepers ❤️ This is the hardest part of our jobs 💔

We just saw Kan Balam on Monday😔.... he will be missed❤️

I am so sorry for your loss, each of these animals are precious ....

This was my daughters favorite critter at the Zoo. We always went to say hello to him before anyone else whenever we went. When she was 7 years old we sent a post out to out neighborhood on Halloween saying Paisley was asking for pocket change donations in lieu of candy for Halloween and all amounts would be donated to Kan thru the zoo. She raised over $40 in coins! I still have the letter from the zoo thanking her for her donation. He was a sweet boy and will be missed. 😔

Hugs to all of you keepers that took special care of Kan Balam.

Awe, I’m so sad to hear his quality of life was declining. But, I’m happy to know he had a long and wonderful life thanks to the wonderful teams at the Houston Zoo. He was a beautiful cat.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking such great care of him so he was able to live a long life. My thoughts are with his keepers and all who adored him. <3

Heartfelt condolences to the veterinary and keeper staff. Thank you for taking care of him

Katie Rose Buckley-Jones I won’t ever forget the time you asked him to bring something and he ripped off a piece of cardboard and tried to hand it to you ❤️ thank you for introducing me to him. Sending you guys many hugs

The Houston Zoo staff has lost several animals this year and I am sure each one is so hard to go through.

Thank you for providing him with a caring and enriched life. So sorry for your loss!

My thoughts of sympathy are with you all. I can't even imagine the sadness you feel today.

So sorry to read this. It is always a hard decision. RIP and run free sweet boy.

I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful cat.

So sad. Native Houstonian. He was one of my favorites.

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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.

 

Comment on Facebook

Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Happy New Year “sea lion keeper “ 💖💖

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂

Brrrrr

Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Mike DePope

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We've heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing? ... See MoreSee Less

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Weve heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing?

 

Comment on Facebook

Ok, it took me a minute to get this. I was literally zooming in to try to find the mouse. 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄😂

Cindy Christina Angela Ramirez see I told y’all! Lol

Andrew Kaufmann Look its Richard Jr! 😂

Wow ... good photo shot ... show the world that you need to protect your pipe ... if not, freezing water will expand the pipe and crack the pipe !!!

“Baby it’s cold outside!”

My gutters had glaciers in them!

I fell for the mouse thing too..

That's nothing! Talk to keepers from the northern states or Canada!

i was honestly looking for a mouse lol

Wow,that is so neat!

Annecia Wesley but where is the ice bacon? Lol

Johnnie R. Summerlin, cool, see the "stalagm ice"?

Two words. Pipe insulation.

That’s awesome!

Ana Rivers Smith cool!

Cortez

Pauline Ervin

Denise Daigre

Ashley Nguyen

Vicente Gonzalez

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