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Baby Boom at Zoo Just in Time for Mother's Day


The giraffe, orangutan and other babies are thriving.

Baby Boom at Zoo Just in Time for Mother's Day

Baby orangutan with mother Sarah. Photo by Natalie Sommer/ABQ BioPark.

April 30, 2013

The ABQ BioPark Zoo welcomed two zoo babies last week and both are doing well. First, a giraffe calf was born on April 20. Then six days later, Sarah the Sumatran orangutan had another healthy baby. Older zoo babies, including Chopper the rhino calf, continue to thrive, and the zoo is looking forward to several other significant births this year.

"Zoo animals are always fun to visit and babies like the giraffe and orangutan really add to the excitement," said Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager. "We've been fortunate to have healthy babies and mothers, and our zookeepers will continue to provide the best care. They know how important these births are to our conservation and education efforts."

As part of the Association for Zoos and Aquariums, the ABQ BioPark participates in Species Survival Plans for 29 different species. We also work with other zoos and aquariums around the world on breeding and population management programs for many other animals.

New Zoo Babies

The unnamed female giraffe calf is thriving under the care of zookeepers. Unable to bond with her mother, the calf is being bottle fed four times a day. Guests can see her in the giraffe yard throughout the day and might even catch one of her mid-day feedings around 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. BioPark Facebook fans can vote through May 3 - 10 on their favorite name for the calf.

The orangutan mother and baby are venturing into the exhibit now. Guests may be able to catch a glimpse of the young one clinging to Sarah on warm, sunny days. (If the weather is breezy or cloudy, or if temperatures are under 60, the pair will remain inside.)  Zookeepers have organized special gender-revealing enrichment for the Orangutan Baby Shower on May 11 at 10 a.m. Will the orangutans' boxes and treats be blue or pink?  Join us to find out and vote on your favorite name! Voting for the orangutan name will continue at Sunday's Mother's Day Concert and on Facebook the following week.

Continuing to Thrive

Chopper, the white rhino calf, can be seen from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily with Bertha, a female adult that acts as an "auntie" or surrogate mom. Born on October 30, 2012, he is six months old today and weighs in at 884 pounds. He has started eating grass and hay, in addition to four bottles of specially formulated milk each day.

Behind the scenes in the Reptile House, zookeepers are caring for several less cuddly but still cute babies: three crocodile skinks and 13 Western Diamondback rattlesnakes. Born about five inches long, the baby snakes have no rattle but are "hot" from birth. Baby rattlers can actually be more dangerous than adults because they cannot control their venom flow, and a bite results in a relatively large amount of venom.

And behind the scenes at the Aquarium's Aquatic Conservation Facility, staff is rearing more than 50,000 baby Rio Grande silvery minnows!

Coming Soon

BioPark cat keepers will be watching the female snow leopard, Kachina, closely over the next few weeks. A video monitor gives them an inside look at her nest box and they hope to see one or more cubs very soon. UPDATE: Snow Leopard twins born Friday, May 3.

With about five months to go, Rozie the elephant is in the home stretch of her 22-month gestation. Zookeepers expect a birth sometime around September. The elephant team works daily with Rozie on an exercise routine to keep her fit and help prevent birth complications. Other birth preparations include training with older sibling Daizy and regular ultrasounds.

And as one might expect in spring, bird keepers have observed nesting and egg-laying in many species, including two that are extinct in the wild-Socorro doves and Micronesian kingfishers. Keepers hope to see successful hatches and rearing in both species this year. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

Giraffe photo by Marcus Casman/ABQ BioPark.

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