Monthly Archives: October 2016

Cheetah Cub Baby Boom at Smithsonian

The animal care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia must be seeing spots! Two large cheetah litters were born in one week in March. Happy, 3, had five healthy cubs on March 23, while Miti, 7, gave birth to seven cubs on March 28. Sadly, two of them were very small and less active, and didn’t survive. But luckily, the 10 surviving cubs are doing well and being raised by their attentive moms. Each of the litters of five includes two boys and three girls. “The average litter size is three, so this time we’ve got an incredible pile of cubs,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist and manager of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan. “In just one week, we increased the number of cheetahs at SCBI by 50 percent.” The Virginia facility is affiliated with the National Zoo in Washington. — Read it at the National Zoo


Mexico to Put Rare Porpoises in Refuge

In a controversial new “emergency plan” to save the vaquita marina porpoise from extinction, Mexico’s government announced plans to put some of the animals in a temporary refuge. But conservationists warn the world’s smallest porpoise species isn’t an animal that can thrive in captivity. There are only 30 vaquitas remaining, and they face extinction by 2022. The porpoises are threatened by illegal fishing in the Gulf of California. They get caught up in nets that are meant to catch the totoaba, which is an endangered fish. — Read it from AFP via Yahoo


Best Friends Opens New York Adoption Center

Known for its animal sanctuary in Utah, Best Friends Animal Society is spreading the love. On Tuesday, they opened an adoption center in New York City. The New York space has room for about 30 dogs and cats, and includes a state-of-the-art kitten nursery. They’re hoping the center will help educate animal lovers, and will be another step toward their goal of making all U.S. animal shelters no-kill shelters by 2025. Best Friends also has an adoption center in Los Angeles.

Old Girl Falls for Blind Cat

Britta Bergeson, 8, first spotted Justice on the Arizona Humane Society’s web site, and pleaded with her family to adopt the blind cat, even drawing sweet pictures of the kitty in her home. Her parents agreed, and the whole family (grandpa, aunts and cousins included) arrived at the shelter asking to meet Justice last week. “She started crying and it was an instant love connection,” when Britta was introduced to Justice, said adoptions supervisor Vanessa Crues. “Justice just melted in her lap and was so calm with her new friend. The family was very emotional. Love connections like these are what make this job so rewarding, especially for a cat like Justice who really needed to find a great home!” — Read it at People Pets


Rare Giraffe’s Birth Caught on Video

As the world waits for April the giraffe to have her long awaited baby at a New York state zoo, an endangered Rothschild giraffe was born across the pond at the U.K.’s Chester Zoo on Monday. The baby’s birth was caught on CCTV cameras, and the zoo released the stunning video, which also shows the baby’s first wobbly steps, on Tuesday. “Those long legs take a little bit of getting used to but the new calf is doing ever so well, as is mum,” said Sarah Roffe, giraffe team manager. “She’s an excellent parent and is doing a fantastic job of nursing her new arrival.” This is the second Rothschild giraffe to be born at the zoo in just fourth months. And the zoo couldn’t help but make a little dig at the giraffe mom who’s been all over the news. “The world may be waiting for April the giraffe to have her calf over in America, but Orla has beaten her to it!” Roffe said. — Read it from the Chester Zoo


New Mountain Lion Kitten Found in Santa Monica

Researchers from the National Park Service have found and tagged a mountain lion kitten who’s believed to be the daughter of a puma mom referred to as P-23. The baby was given the name P-54. Wildlife officials are concerned the kitten might be a product of inbreeding because the cats are stuck on an island habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains, but said she’s healthy and they’re pleased the mountain lions continue to breed successfully. While P-54 was the only kitten they found in her mom’s den, officials said it’s possible they might be surprised with one or two more kittens at some point.

Vets Intervene to Save Lion Cub

An adorable lion cub overcame “considerable odds” to make a safe arrival at the Dallas Zoo on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Bahati Moja, whose name means “Lucky One,” was born to mom Lina and dad Kamau. Lina had previously given birth to stillborn cubs, so veterinarians intervened in an effort to ensure this little girl’s survival. Thanks to their hard work, she’s now “bonding beautifully with Lina, nursing, putting on weight and turning into a feisty little cub,” the zoo said in a Facebook post last week. The mother and daughter duo will remain behind the scenes for a few months before they make their debut. — Read it at Zooborns


Wild Dogs Feared Extinct Captured on Camera

More than 50 years after they were last seen, New Guinea highland wild dogs have been spotted in their natural island habitat. The rare canine species are the same as or close relatives of New Guinea’s singing dogs, which only live in captivity. Camera trap pictures from last year reveal at least 15 individual dogs, including males, females and pups. DNA evidence suggests the wild dogs may be the most primitive canines alive today, and scientists are hopeful they can shed more light on the ancestry of domestic dogs. — Read it at National Geographic


Still No Calf for April the Giraffe

It was back in February when thousands of fans started tuning in to a live stream of April the giraffe at New York’s Animal Adventure Park, expecting her to give birth at any moment. The zoo’s veterinarian made news on Friday when he predicted that the mom would give birth over the weekend — but the joke was on him. Still, in a Facebook post on Sunday night, Dr. Tim said April isn’t overdue. “I’m not concerned she is ‘taking so long,’ nor should you be,” he wrote in response to questions from fans. “She remains happy and comfortable (considering the circumstances) … she will have this calf when she is good and ready.” He added that he doesn’t plan to give a new timeframe for the baby’s arrival. “It really shouldn’t be much longer, I’m just not going to tell you my guesstimate anymore.”

Mom Saves Pups From Factory Fire

It was December when a Good Samaritan found a Pit Bull mix on a road in South Carolina, close to the abandoned factory where she’d been living. That same day, the empty factory caught fire. “They took her to animal control and realized she had a broken front left leg and knew she was still producing milk, so she had puppies somewhere,” said Victoria McGonigal, owner of Dochas n Gra Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. Animal control called the local fire department to ask about returning to the site to look for the dog’s puppies, but it was four days until the area was safe enough to go back. When they did, the mama dog led animal control straight to the wooded spot where she’d moved her puppies. All six were safe and sound, and the rescuers believe the dog they named Miracle had broken her shoulder while moving each puppy out of the factory. Her leg was later amputated and she’s recovered. The puppies stayed with their mom until recently, when they were ready for adoption, and now their hero mom is ready for a forever home, too. — Watch it at ABC News


Rescued Meerkat Pup Gets 24/7 Care

A wide-eyed meerkat pup is getting lots of TLC at the Cango Wildlife Ranch in South Africa after his mom was struck and killed by a car. A man who was afraid the pup would be hit, too, caught him and brought him straight to the ranch for help. There, the keepers named the 6 to 8 week old pup Scout, and has been getting around-the-clock care at the facility’s Animal Care Center. He’s formed bonds with his caregivers, who are working to instill natural meerkat behavior in the little one. Scout will live at the ranch’s meerkat exhibit indefinitely. — See photos at Zooborns


Study: Puffin Couples Who Migrate Together Have More Chicks

Puffins are long-lived, monogamous birds who migrate long distances to wintering grounds. A new study that tracked 12 puffin pairs found that those mates who followed similar migration routes bred earlier and more successfully the following spring, showing a clear benefit for puffins to migrate close to their mates. The Oxford University study was published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.