For immediate release
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Celebrates a Baby Boom!
July 06, 2012 - Jacksonville, Fl -
Beginning with the births of two Amur leopard cubs born at the Zoo on May 31st, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ zookeepers and veterinarian staff have been very busy assisting with the care and delivery of nine additional newborns and hatchlings. Rock pythons, a giraffe, a lion and marbled teal ducks have all been born or hatched from June 28th through July 1st, 2012. Add to that two penguin eggs and one more Rock Python egg that we’re anticipating will hatch within the next month, and there is good reason for a baby boom celebration at the Jacksonville Zoo.
A female lion cub, born on June 30th at 3:00 p.m., is the most significant birth since the leopard cubs. The cub now weighs three and one-half pounds and appears to be healthy and strong. Because this is only the second offspring for Tamu, the dam (mother), she is not nursing the cub adequately. Therefore, the staff has been supplementing the cub’s diet with formula that is being bottle fed. The sire (father) of the cub, Mshoni, is one of the most genetically valuable lions in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ population. That makes this birth highly significant and the cub very valuable to the health of the AZA population. Due to the dam’s inexperience as mother, the risk for the cub is increased. Zookeepers and veterinarians will continue to closely monitor the cub to ensure its health. This is first surviving lion birth at Jacksonville Zoo since 1974.
On May 30th, Victoria, a female Magellanic penguin, laid one egg which was followed by a second one on June 3rd. Her mate is named Troy. Victoria is a young mother and this is her first time with a two egg clutch, the normal clutch size for a Magellanic penguin. The eggs were found to be fertile, and when keepers observed that Victoria was not incubating them properly, they were moved to an incubator. Victoria and Troy were given model eggs so that they could practice the art of incubation. Since then, the original eggs were given to Oreo, a female Magellanic penguin that exhibited good brooding skills after recently laying two eggs that weren’t fertile. The Zookeepers have since candled the eggs and found that the embryos are very active. If all continues to go well, the eggs should hatch around mid-to-late July. The Magellanic penguin is listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCH) Red List as Threatened Species.
Three African Rock pythons hatched on June 28th and 29th and two more eggs are still in incubation. The eggs were produced by female python, Roxanne and her male python partner, Solomon. Zookeepers are monitoring the eggs and hatchlings closely. If they all survive, they will be moved to other Association of Zoos and Aquarium facilities once appropriate permits are acquired. These are the first of this species to be hatched at the Jacksonville Zoo. Rock pythons’ native habitat is throughout most of central Africa. This species’ conservation status is Vulnerable and CITES II.
The Zoo’s 32nd giraffe calf was born on June 30th at 7:40 a.m. It weighed 132 pounds and measured five feet eleven inches tall at birth. This was mother Zawadi’s seventh offspring and Duke’s, the calf’s father’s eighth since he arrived at the Jacksonville Zoo in April 2003. The female calf is doing well and spends most of her time nursing and napping. The Zoo now has 10 giraffes in its collection. Guests riding the Zoo Train may see the calf and its mother in the outdoor holding area, pending weather conditions or healthcare requirements.
Four Marbled Teal species of ducks that hatched early morning on Sunday, July 1st, are being hand- raised in the bird incubation room. Three of the ducklings are doing well and gaining weight, but one that was moved to the Zoo’s hospital for more intensive care did not survive.
Lastly –but not at all least- the Zoo’s two leopard cubs are thriving! If you look closely at the back right hand corner of the Leopard Exhibit the next time you come to the Zoo, you may see the cubs outdoors in a screened-in enclosure. They are as feisty as kittens can be and appear to be having a wonderful time. Look for them to be officially on exhibit soon! Amur leopards are the most northern subspecies of leopard and come from parts of Russia, China and North Korea. Although estimates vary, all suggest less than 50 specimens surviving in the wild, resulting in their classification as a critically-endangered species—and perhaps even the most endangered large cat on earth.
About the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Started in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and regional, state and local awards for its botanical gardens. The Jacksonville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is open year-round, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Christmas day, and is located on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95. For more information on the Zoo, log on to http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.