Sample text for ZooBorns : the newest, cutest animals from the world's zoos and aquariums / Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog

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Name: Miracle Kitten

Species: Ocelot

Home: Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

D.O.B.: 10/31/2008

Status: Least Concern

Sometimes nature needs a little help, and this feisty Miracle Kitten is the result. Only the third ocelot in history to be born through artificial insemination, Miracle Kitten was specifically conceived to bolster this rare species. Reproductive scientists like those who brought Miracle Kitten into the world are key to addressing the conservation and management challenges associated with ocelots.

Menari means "dance" in Indonesian—a fitting name for a great ape that swings gracefully from branch to branch among the treetops.

Known for their intelligence, orangutans use tools to catch tasty termites and scrape stinging spines off their favorite fruits.

With only a few thousand Sumatran orangutans remaining in the wild, these red apes could soon become extinct in their native home.

Bob MacLean / Audubon Zoo

Name: Menari

Species: Sumatran Orangutan

Home: Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana

D.O.B.: 6/10/2009

Status: Critically Endangered

Species: Swift Fox

Home: Calgary Zoo, Canada

D.O.B.: 4/22/2009

Status: Least Concern

Calgary Zoo / Jennifer Potter

These were the first pups for swift fox father Beren and mother Foxy Cleopatra, who have proven to be attentive parents.

Swift foxes were hunted to extinction in Canada in the 1930s. Luckily, experts were able to rebuild the Canadian population by breeding and transferring swift foxes from the United States.

Name: Margaret Abigail

Species: Giraffe

Home: WCS's Bronx Zoo, New York

D.O.B.: 2/17/2008

Status: Endangered

Curious and playful, Margaret Abigail is never far from mom's gentle touch.

Margaret Abigail may look tiny, but she is already taller than most humans. At birth, giraffe calves weigh 100-150 lbs (45–68 kgs) and stand 6 feet tall (1.8 meters). As adults, females may reach 1,800 lbs. (816 kg) and 16 feet tall (5 meters) or more!

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Name: Kit

Species: Sea Otter

Home: Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

D.O.B.: January 2010

Status: Endangered

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program has been studying and trying to save the threatened southern sea otter since 1984.

Kit came to the Aquarium as part of this program after the five-week-old pup was found stranded. Here she was introduced to a nine-year-old sea otter named Mae, who helps teach Kit how to groom herself, eat, dive, and play.

Sea otter populations are rebounding thanks to conservation efforts like SORAC. However, the species is still vulnerable to other threats like oil spills.

© Monterey Bay Aquarium / Randy Wilder

Species: Gentoo Penguin

Home: SeaWorld San Diego, California

D.O.B.: November 2009

Status: Near Threatened

For the first few months of life, penguin chicks have soft, downy feathers. After their first molt, this fluffy plumage is replaced by small, tightly packed feathers that will protect the penguins from frigid sub-Antarctic seas.

Names: Tai and Pip

Species: Red Panda

Home: Edmonton Valley Zoo, Canada

D.O.B.: 5/26/2008

Status: Vulnerable

Jesse Popowicz / City of Edmonton

Still sporting the grayish fur of babyhood, Tai and Pip will soon develop the thick, rusty-colored fur of adult red pandas.

The word panda means bamboo-eater in Nepalese, so it's no surprise to learn that these raccoon-sized critters love to munch on tasty bamboo leaves. Scientists continue to debate their relationship to another famous bamboo-eater, the much larger black-and-white giant panda.

Wild red panda populations are threatened by deforestation and poaching for their fur. In China, red panda tails are prized for making hats!

Name: Sasa

Species: Banded Mongoose

Home: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, Indiana

D.O.B.: 11/26/2009

Status: Least Concern

Cheryl Piropato / Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Sasa is one of six siblings, including brothers Shangaza, Shitua, Sitini, and Shukuru, and sister, Sena.

Banded mongooses are champion chompers, with needlelike teeth for eating insects, lizards, and small rodents, which are excavated with sharp claws.

Extremely social, mongooses are rarely alone. Even when sleeping, they pile together in a furry heap.

Species: Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Home: SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

D.O.B.: August 2009

Status: Endangered

Just one week old when Hurricane Bill struck, these loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings never completed their dangerous journey to the sea. Instead, they were scooped up by park rangers and sent to SeaWorld Orlando's Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Team for a few days of pampering until the seas calmed down.

Though these little loggerheads made it to safety, many do not. Street lights and human activity can lure hatchlings toward traffic instead of the ocean.

In the United States, conservationists patrol beaches to locate turtle nests, count eggs, and protect them from beach visitors, dogs, and raccoons.

Jason Collier/SeaWorld

After falling from her mother's pouch, little Rooby was quickly rescued by zookeepers. But keepers were unable to determine which female 'roo had lost her joey, so they fashioned a fleece pouch for Rooby and successfully nursed her with a bottle.

Darlene Stack / Assiniboine Park Zoo

The largest of all kangaroos, red kangaroos can be found in nearly all parts of Australia.

Name: Rooby

Species: Red Kangaroo

Home: Assiniboine Park Zoo, Canada

D.O.B.: March 2009

Status: Least Concern

Name: Kali and Durga

Species: Bengal Tiger

Home: Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, Florida

D.O.B.: 10/4/2008

Status: Endangered

Robert La Follette.
Taken at Lowry Park Zoo

Contrary to popular belief, white tigers are not albinos, nor are they a separate species. These blue-eyed beauties are most often Bengal tigers carrying an unusual gene that results in white, rather than orange, fur. Wild white tigers are rare. Why? Even tiger cubs have predators, and a bright white coat makes them an easy mark.

At first, zookeepers had a hard time telling brother and sister Kali and Durga apart. But a closer look at the chocolate brown stripes on the cubs' faces revealed that each has its own unique markings.

Species: Vancouver Island Marmot

Home: Calgary Zoo, Canada

D.O.B.: 4/22/2009

Status: Least Concern

Calgary Zoo / John Ternan
and © Oli Gardner (bottom right)

The feisty Vancouver Island Marmot is Canada's most endangered mammal, with only about 30 living in the wild in 2003. However, institutions like the Calgary Zoo have launched aggressive breeding and release programs that have since bolstered the wild population to 200 or more!

© Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Name: Miki

Species: Beluga Whale

Home: Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois

D.O.B.: 8/16/2007

Status: Near Threatened

Often called "canaries of the sea," beluga whales squeal, chirp, cluck, and whistle to one another as they swim. Shedd Aquarium's whales even mimic the sounds of the scuba divers who clean their habitat!

Two layers of blubber keep wild belugas warm in the frigid Arctic waters.

Newborn calves like Miki sport on their sides big wrinkles called fetal folds. As the calf grows bigger, the folds smooth out.

When Miki was hungry, he would nudge mom's belly to let her know it was dinner time and to stimulate milk production.

Species: White Rhinoceros

Home: Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida

D.O.B.: August 2009

Status: Near Threatened

The white rhinoceros is the second largest land mammal after the elephant, but that doesn't mean it's slow. White rhinos can run at speeds over 30 mph (50 kph)!

Busch Gardens participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetic diversification among threatened and endangered animals in zoos. This birth brings their total white rhino population to nine.

Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Species: Potto

Home: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Ohio

D.O.B.: 12/23/2008

Status: Least Concern

Primitive primates, pottos have strong opposable thumbs, which allow them to hold on tight in the treetops. Mother pottos "park" their babies on a secluded tree branch while they forage for fruit and bugs.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Species: Piping Plover

Home: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

D.O.B.: 4/2/2009

Status: Near Threatened

Nearly wiped out along the Great Lakes due to hunting and housing development, the piping plover has staged a small comeback thanks to conservation efforts like those at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This tiny plover was one of three hatched from abandoned eggs; all three were reared and released by the Zoo in 2009.

Joel Pond / Lincoln Park Zoo

Name: Amani

Species: Aardvark

Home: Detroit Zoo, Michigan

D.O.B.: 12/8/2008

Status: Least Concern

All ears, wrinkles, and toenails, Amani the aardvark weighed less than four pounds at birth.

Even though Amani's too young to eat insects just yet, his super snout is ready for action. With a keen sense of smell and superb hearing, aardvarks can easily zero in on their favorite food, termites, eating up to 50,000 in a single night!

Mark M. Gaskill - Phoenix Innovate. Taken at the Detroit Zoo

Joachim S. Muller taken at Opel Zoo

Species: Wildcat

Home: Opel Zoo, Germany

D.O.B.: May 2009

Status: Least Concern

New research suggests that modern domestic cats descended from wildcats who roamed the Near East around 8000 B.C. As humans stockpiled grains, which attracted rats, the cunning kitties took advantage of the abundant food supply. The wildcats were welcomed by farmers eager to keep pesky rodents away.

Name: Kai

Species: Spotted Hyena

Home: Denver Zoo, Colorado

D.O.B.: 8/8/2009

Status: Least Concern

Dave Parsons / Denver Zoo

Clever little Kai is known for his precocious antics: playing hide-and-seek with mom, diving beneath logs, and exploring every corner of his exhibit. After a busy morning, Kai often falls asleep with legs pointed skyward, as if in mid-leap.

Kai's cleverness is no accident: Spotted hyenas are among the world's most intelligent animals, and current research compares them to great apes. Despite outward similarities with dogs, hyenas are actually more closely related to cats!

Species: Grevy's Zebra

Home: Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida

D.O.B.: May 2009

Status: Endangered

Never far from mom's side, Grevy's zebra foals stay with their herd for three years before striking out to join their own group.

The largest of all zebras, Grevy's zebra is endangered in its native home of Africa, where it is hunted for its striped hide and forced to compete with domestic livestock for grazing and water sources.

Well adapted to their arid surroundings, Grevy's zebra foals can go long periods without suckling and don't drink water until three months of age.

Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

Name: Tahina

Species: Crowned Sifaka

Home: MusÉe de BesanÇon, France

D.O.B.: 12/27/2009

Status: Endangered

MusÉe de BesanÇon

With her mother unable to care for her, tiny Tahina relied on zookeepers for nourishment and a stuffed teddy bear for comfort.

Crowned sifaka lemurs are found only in Madagascar, and their survival is threatened by deforestation. Less than 1,000 remain in the wild.

The European Endangered Species Programme counts only three breeding females in captivity, so Tahina's birth represents great hope for the species.

Names: Moa and Kain

Species: Short-beaked Echidna

Home: Perth Zoo, Australia

D.O.B.: August 2009

Status: Least Concern

Along with the platypus, echidnas are the only mammals that lay eggs. Newly hatched echidna babies are called puggles. They are born naked, without the spines that will protect them in adulthood.

Only thirteen echidnas, including Moa and Kain, have been bred in captivity in Australia, and five of those were at the Perth Zoo!

The echidna's tongue moves in and out rapidly when slurping up ants, as fast as 100 times per minute!

Daniel Scarparolo / Perth Zoo

Names: Lana and Lucy

Species: Emperor Tamarin

Home: Denver Zoo, Colorado

D.O.B.: 7/9/2009

Status: Least Concern

When Lana and Lucy were just three weeks old, their mother died unexpectedly, so Denver Zoo keepers rushed in to provide around-the-clock care.

In the wild, emperor tamarins often live side by side with saddleback tamarins. With the emperor tamarins looking for aerial predators and the saddlebacks watching the ground, both species benefit.

The tiny twins needed more than just food. Keepers helped Lana and Lucy exercise to build strength and coordination. A soft toothbrush simulated a grooming session with mom.

Dave Parsons / Denver Zoo

Species: Rock Hyrax

Home: Los Angeles Zoo, California

D.O.B.: 7/12/2009

Status: Least Concern

They may look like oversized guinea pigs, but these five-day-old hyraxes are more closely related to elephants. In prehistoric times, some hyrax species reached the size of a small horse!

Groups of up to eighty rock hyraxes live together and search for grasses and leaves. While the herd forages, one or two hyraxes will serve sentry duty, perching high on a rock to look for danger.

Tad Motoyama / Los Angeles Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo partners with the Center for Wildlife Conservation and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to rebuild the Western Pond Turtle population.

By protecting wild nests from predators with screen cages and caring for new hatchlings until they are able to fend for themselves, the Zoo gives these turtles a head-start.

Species: Western Pond Turtle

Home: Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington

D.O.B.: October 2008

Status: Vulnerable to Extinction

Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

Name: Pan

Species: Aye-aye

Home: Denver Zoo, Colorado

D.O.B.: 4/18/2009

Status: Near Threatened

With glowing eyes, bizarre fingers, and nocturnal habits, aye-ayes are considered bad omens by local villagers, who persecute these rare creatures. But aye-ayes are gentle lemurs that use their long, crooked fingers to extract grubs from under tree bark.

Dave Parsons / Denver Zoo

Names: Sawyer and Hoover

Species: Tawny Frogmouth

Home: SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

D.O.B.: January 2009

Status: Least Concern

Scruffy and fluffy, these tawny frogmouth chicks are part of six hatched in 2008 and 2009 through a cooperative program of SeaWorld and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

When they gain the smooth gray feathers of adulthood, Sawyer and Hoover will boast some of the best camouflage of any bird. Coupled with their ability to sit completely motionless, they look exactly like a tree branch.

Jason Collier / SeaWorld, Orlando

Often confused with owls because of their appearance and nocturnal hunting habits, tawny frogmouths are actually related to nightjars.

Species: Clouded Leopard

Home: Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C.

D.O.B.: 2/14/2010

Status: Vulnerable

Weighing just half a pound at birth, these two little kittens will weigh 35 to 50 lbs (16 to 23 kg) in adulthood.

The Smithsonian National Zoo is a founding member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, which manages the largest population of confiscated clouded leopards in Southeast Asia.

Clouded leopards' short but flexible legs and long claws make them excellent climbers. They can hang upside down from a tree branch!

Michelle Turton / Newquay Zoo

Species: Owston's Palm Civet

Home: Newquay Zoo, United Kingdom

D.O.B.: 4/30/2009

Status: Vulnerable

Newquay Zoo breeds rare Owston's Palm Civets, which are threatened by poachers in their native home of Vietnam. Little is known about these shy, tree-dwelling animals.

As a participant in the Vietnamese Carnivore and Pangolin Programme, the Zoo also trains rangers in Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam and supports local education and research projects.

Name: Mali

Species: Asian Elephant

Home: Melbourne Zoo, Australia

D.O.B.: 1/16/10

Status: Endangered

Mali is Melbourne Zoo's first baby elephant, and her playfulness makes her a real standout. Whether splashing in her pool or harassing the adult elephants, Mali is always on the lookout for fun.

Made up of over 40,000 different muscles, elephants' trunks are powerful and flexible but they are also sensitive. While many elephants can lift over 800 lbs (363 kg) with their trunks, they can also pick up a single leaf.

AFP/Getty Images

Only about 30,000 Asian elephants remain in the wild and those are scattered across thirteen different countries. In every location they are threatened by continued habitat destruction, conflict with farmers and poaching.

Trent Browning/ Melbourne Zoo

Name: Wingu

Species: Chimpanzee

Home: Dierenpark Amersfoort, Netherlands

D.O.B.: 8/30/2009

Status: Endangered

Highly intelligent, chimpanzees are regrettably often trained as performers for television and movies. This has led to the mistaken perception that chimpanzees are abundant in the wild when in fact the species is endangered and in need of stepped-up conservation efforts.

A.J. Haverkamp

Species: Kihansi Spray Toad

Home: WCS's Bronx Zoo, New York

D.O.B.: January 2010

Status: Extinct in the Wild

When Tanzania built a massive hydroelectric dam in the Kihansi Gorge, this tiny toad lost 90% of its habitat. Luckily, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo collected an "insurance colony" of 499 toads. They've since figured out how to keep the little toads comfortable and, more important, how to encourage them to produce baby toads!

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Species: Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit

Home: Oregon Zoo, Portland

D.O.B.: 7/12/2009

Status: Extinct

Native to a single area of Washington State, these tiny bunnies went extinct in the wild in the 1990s when researchers collected the fourteen known remaining rabbits to build a viable breeding population.

Unlike most rabbits, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit did not breed prodigiously in captivity, partially due to inbreeding within the tiny wild population. To improve the odds, they were crossbred with Idaho pygmy rabbits, which paid off.

Seventy-three bunny kits were born in zoos and breeding facilities in 2009, including twenty-six at the Oregon Zoo. Color is added to the ears so zoo staff can tell the kits apart.

© Oregon Zoo/Photo by Levi Barnett

Name: Nino

Species: Southern Three-banded Armadillo

Home: Minnesota Zoo

D.O.B.: 2/19/2009

Status: Near Threatened

Three-banded armadillos produce only one baby at a time, and newborns like little Nino are about the size of a golf ball!

Minnesota Zoo

Their hard shell, which covers most of the body and much of the head, is made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails.

Mike Aguilera / SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld used sex-selection techniques to ensure this calf was female, allowing them to optimally balance their ratio of males and females.

Celebrated for their playfulness and intelligence, bottlenose dolphins have demonstrated considerable evidence of self-awareness, including recognizing themselves in mirrors!

Species: Bottlenose Dolphin

Home: SeaWorld San Diego, CA

D.O.B.: 6/10/2009

Status: Least Concern

Name: Matari

Species: Common Wombat

Home: Taronga Zoo, Australia

D.O.B.: July 2008

Status: Least Concern

Matari means "little man" in Aboriginal, and when the orphan wombat was dropped off at the Taronga Zoo, he was underweight as well as stressed and missing patches of fur.

Like all wombats, Matari is nocturnal. His first nights at the zoo, he played in his pen until the wee hours, keeping his surrogate zookeeper mother wide awake.

Because Matari is a marsupial, he likes to curl up in a pillowcase, which reminds him of his mother's pouch.

After a few weeks at the Taronga Zoo, keepers took Matari outside to play and were proud to see him instinctively digging in the dirt and eating grass roots, just like a wild wombat!

Lorinda Taylor / Taronga Zoo

Species: Northern Tamandua (Lesser Anteater)

Home: Discovery Cove, Florida

D.O.B.: February 2010

Status: Least Concern

Baby tamanduas first explore the world perched safely on mom's back. Once they learn to walk, the free ride is over—tamandua toddlers have to find ants on their own.

Toothless tamanduas use their 16-inch (40 cm)-long tongue to eat up to 9,000 ants a day!

Jason Collier/Discovery Cove

Amazonian Indians sometimes use tamanduas as natural exterminators to rid their homes of ants and termites.

Species: American Flamingo

Home: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia, South Carolina

D.O.B.: June 2009

Status: Least Concern

Flamingo babies begin life with gray feathers, which turn pink as the chicks begin eating tiny, beta carotene–rich shrimp and other crustaceans.

Richard Rokes/Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Name: Kalispell

Species: Okapi

Home: Denver Zoo, Colorado

D.O.B.: 6/27/2009

Status: Near Threatened

Little is known about the shy, mysterious okapi, which lives only in the dense Ituri Rainforest of Central Africa. While the okapi's stripes might remind you of a zebra, this creature is more closely related to giraffes.

Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo

Name: Radar Ears

Species: Fennec Fox

Home: Everland Zoo, Seoul, Korea

D.O.B.: 9/14/2008

Status: Least Concern

Cherl Kim/Everland Zoo

Enormous ears allow fennec foxes to hear insect prey scurrying along the scorching Saharan sand. They also help to dissipate heat.

Thick tufts of fur protect the soles of the paws from blistering hot sand.

The fennec's barks, yips, and purrs communicate alarm, distress, or contentment to other members of the fox's family.

Name: Monifa

Species: Pygmy Hippopotamus

Home: Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

D.O.B.: 10/15/2008

Status: Critically Endangered

Still slippery from her bath, shy Monifa weighed only 8.4 lbs (3.8 kg) at birth and fit neatly into keepers' outstretched hands.

Lorinda Taylor/Taronga Zoo

At home in rivers or on land, pygmy hippos are dwarfed by their cousins, the river hippos of East Africa. Adult pygmies stand only waist-high to humans.

Some pygmy hippos live in dens and burrows on river banks like otters or muskrats.

Deforestation from logging in Western Africa threatens the survival of this species.

Species: Asian Small-clawed Otter

Home: SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

D.O.B.: March 2009

Status: Vulnerable to Extinction

This pile of pups looks quiet for now, but they'll call out to parents Simon and Sophie with high-pitched, birdlike chirps!

Jason Collier/SeaWorld Orlando

Wild Asian small-clawed otters struggle with habitat destruction, pollution, and hunting. SeaWorld breeds otters under the Species Survival Plan, which helps preserve threatened and endangered animals.

In ancient times, pandas were considered noble creatures, and the public's love affair with these roly-poly bamboo eaters continues today. The San Diego Zoo's little panda, Yun Zi, is a spirited, feisty little cub who loves wrestling with mom, Bai Yun.

Zoological Society of San Diego

Name: Yun Zi

Species: Giant Panda

Home: San Diego Zoo, California

D.O.B.: 8/5/2009

Status: Endangered

Name: Kito

Species: Hamadryas Baboon

Home: WCS's Prospect Park Zoo, NY

D.O.B.: 10/26/2005

Status: Least Concern

Kito and his older brother were the "terrible duo" of the baboon troop, constantly getting into mischief and annoying their elders. Of course, their antics were a delight to the public.

These two were also the most curious about zoo visitors, often sitting close to the glass viewing window and interacting with children.

Smaller groups of Hamadryas baboons will often join together to form bands of up to 200 individuals who travel and sleep together.

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Name: Hasani

Species: Western Lowland Gorilla

Home: San Francisco Zoo, California

D.O.B.: 12/8/2008

Status: Critically Endangered

Amy Frankel (opposite)/George Nikitin / San Francisco Zoo

Hasani was abandoned by his first-time mother shortly after birth. Luckily, San Francisco Zoo keepers were able to find a surrogate mother, named Bawang, who adopted and raised Hasani like one of her own.

George Nikitin /San Francisco Zoo/(right) Eva Thoresen

Wild Western lowland gorillas have benefited from conservation efforts to protect their forests from loggers and poachers.

Species: Green Sea Turtles

Home: SeaWorld San Diego, California

D.O.B.: October 2009

Status: Endangered

Since these were wild sea turtles that were born on SeaWorld's Shipwreck Beach, it was up to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the best home for them.

Bob Couey/SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is committed to green sea turtle conservation and was thrilled to welcome 82 little babies without human aid or incubation in their last hatching.

Species: Common Cuttlefish

Home: Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C.

D.O.B.: 2009

Status: Least Concern

Hundreds of tiny cuttlefish hatched at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in 2009. Please note, the penny is used for scale—do not put pennies in your aquarium.

When threatened, common cuttlefish squirt ink to create a smokescreen. The cuttlefish scoots off in the opposite direction, propelled by jets of water shot through its siphon.

Meghan Murphy/Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Species: Thick-billed Parrot

Home: Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida

D.O.B.: August 2009

Status: Endangered

Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

It's hard to believe that these scrawny chicks will grow into sleek green-feathered adults. As the last parrot species native to the United States, thick-billed parrots are endangered. Luckily, breeding programs in zoos maintain a stable population of these birds.

Name: Oliver

Species: Koala

Home: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia, South Carolina

D.O.B.: April 2009

Status: Least Concern

Koalas are not bears, despite the common misnomer "Koala Bear." They are marsupials and one of the few nonprimate species with unique fingerprints, just like humans.

Richard Rokes/Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Name: Kira Victoria and Pasha Ryan

Species: Snow Leopard

Home: Toronto Zoo, Canada

D.O.B.: 5/16/2009

Status: Endangered

Thick fur, compact ears, and long bushy tails keep snow leopards toasty in their frosty, high-altitude, Himalayan homes.

Endangered in the wild, snow leopards may some day depend on the genetic diversity preserved at zoos and aquariums for their species' survival.

To deter poaching and incentivize snow leopard protection, the Toronto Zoo and the Snow Leopard Trust offer fair trade products made by people living in snow leopard habitats.

Species: Senegal Bushbaby

Home: Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington

D.O.B.: 10/11/2008

Status: Least Concern

Also known as the Senegal galago, bushbabies are small, nocturnal primates that leap from branch to branch among the treetops.

Mother bushbabies carry their newborns in their mouths. When it's time for bed, bushbabies call out to one another and gather together to cuddle up as a group.

Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Names: Bunyip and Devitt

Species: Tasmanian Devil

Home: Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

D.O.B.: May 2009

Status: Endangered

Lorinda Taylor/Taronga Zoo

Ill-tempered and noisy while eating, Tasmanian devils live up to their feisty reputation. These small but muscular marsupials are found only on the Australian island of Tasmania.

Since the late 1990s, a mysterious transmissible cancer epidemic has devastated the wild Tasmanian devil population. The Taronga Zoo, with many other Australian partners, breeds Tasmanian devils on the mainland, to sustain the species should the wild population collapse as a result of the disease.

Species: Meerkat

Home: Zoo Basel, Switzerland

D.O.B.: 4/2/2009

Status: Least Concern

Cautiously crawling from their underground burrow, these meerkat pups take in their first view of the aboveground world.

Zoo Basel

Highly social, meerkats form groups of twenty to thirty that maintain social bonds by grooming, scent-marking, and licking each other. Clan members take turns serving as sentries and babysitters. Meerkat pups are fiercely guarded by their entire clan.

© 2010 ZooBorns LLC

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Zoo animals -- Infancy.