Think there is nothing new or exciting to see at the Memphis Zoo during the fall and winter? Guess again. During the past nine months, the zookeepers have welcomed a nursery full of new babies.
The pitter patter of little hooves can be heard at the Giraffe Exhibit at the Memphis Zoo. On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, "Marilyn," a 19-year-old reticulated giraffe, gave birth to "Maliki," a baby girl weighing 115 pounds. This is the fourth calf for Marilyn, and the sixth sired by "Kenya." This addition brings the Zoo's giraffe herd to a total of nine.
"Marilyn is a great, experienced mother," says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. "We're always excited about the birth of a healthy baby, but I'm especially pleased because Maliki inherited her mother's beautiful coloring."
Baby Maliki and her mother, Marilyn, have already been out on exhibit. She will be spending short amounts of time on exhibit between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, due to cold temperatures, the Zoo's animal staff will continue to rotate them on and off exhibit.
On January 21, 2013, the final Komodo dragon egg from a clutch of 16 hatched. This ended a three-week watch after the first egg pipped on January 2. Komodo dragons have an incubation period of 220-250 days. "Norberta," the Zoo's nine-year-old female, laid a clutch of 20 eggs in late May. Out of the 20, 16 were viable and produced offspring.
This marks the Memphis Zoo's third successful clutch of Komodo dragons since the reproduction program began in 2011. There are fewer than 20 zoos in the United States that have bred Komodo dragons. Of those, only half successfully bred them more than once.
Zookeepers at the Memphis Zoo recently welcomed the first red panda cub since 2005. “Justin” was born July 1, 2012, to parents “Ryo” and “Pele.” The bouncing baby boy was born on exhibit in The Commercial Appeal Cat Country. Because his mother was unable to properly care for him, within a week animal staff moved Justin to the hospital where he was being hand-reared.
The Memphis Zoo also announced its first ever hatching of a North Island Brown Kiwi. The female is named “Aria,” which means “spirit” in the native New Zealand Maori language, is only the fourth kiwi to live at the Memphis Zoo, and one of only 26 kiwis that live in North America.
Aria is the daughter of “Gruen” and “Koru,” both housed at the Columbus Zoo, on loan from the Frankfurt Zoo. Aria’s egg was laid in Columbus, Ohio, and was picked up on July 19, by Memphis Zoo representative Denise Brucchieri. Aria hatched July 22, and is being raised by Zoo staff.
“It’s an exciting challenge to hatch her and hand rear her,” said Brucchieri, a keeper at the Memphis Zoo. One such challenge is raising Aria on a reverse light cycle. As a nocturnal bird, she is more active during the nighttime hours. In order to monitor her, Zoo staff retrofitted the Zoo’s hatchery with blackout curtains and red lights, so she is conditioned to be awake during our night hours and vice versa.
Staff members at the Memphis Zoo welcomed a baby California sea lion pup on June 27, 2012. The newest addition to Northwest Passage was born to proud parents, “Andre” and “Callie.” The baby girl is named “Teva.”
Teva joins the Memphis Zoo’s sea lion pack that includes her parents, Andre and Callie, as well as “Skimmer” and “Chloe.” All can be seen at Northwest Passage. During the summer, three sea lion shows are performed at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Callie is 10 years old. She was a rescue from California, and moved to the Memphis Zoo when she was only 3 months old. Teva is her first surviving pup.
Andre is 18 years old. Andre came to the Memphis Zoo by way of the Gulfport Gulfarium. A victim of Hurricane Katrina, he was washed inland, until he was found and brought to the Memphis Zoo to be rehabilitated. He has been at the Memphis Zoo since 2005.