L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Animal Babies

Caption this: Palm cockatoo chick is naked as a jaybird

Cockatoo Chick

The sight of a baby bird, to one who's not used to seeing them, can be a bit jarring. Take this little guy, a palm cockatoo chick born in late November at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.

Palm cockatoos are native to parts of Australia and New Guinea and are known for their impressive bills, which are larger than those of most cockatoos and other birds their size. When this featherless little fellow grows up, he'll have beautiful black feathers, a crest atop his head and bright red patches on his cheeks. He'll be quite an impressive sight, though you wouldn't know it to look at him now!

The Jurong Bird Park is the biggest facility of its kind in the world, featuring about 8,000 different birds representing 600 species. (Most of them, we'd wager, are fully feathered, unlike this little guy.)


-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images

Your morning adorable: Red lechwe calf explores her snowy enclosure at England's Chester Zoo


At the Chester Zoo in northern England, a red lechwe calf named Astrid is becoming accustomed to the snow, despite the fact that her species hails from the swamplands and flood plains of Africa.

Astrid, who was born at the zoo earlier this month, is being hand-raised by keepers because her mother failed to properly care for her. (She even spent Christmas at the home of one of her keepers.)

There are several types of lechwe, a family of African antelope; another type is the also-darn-cute Nile lechwe. ("Lechwe" is the Bantu word for antelope.)

Astrid's species is well-adapted to life in the water; the lechwe is known for its swimming skills and ability to move about quickly in shallow water and mud. It tends to be less surefooted on solid ground than it is in the water, but Astrid seems to be getting along just fine.

See more photos of Astrid after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Reticulated giraffe calf sticks close to his mother at Frankfurt Zoo

Giraffe calf

At Germany's Frankfurt Zoo, a male reticulated giraffe calf named Tebogo made his public debut last week. His name translates to "thankful" in the Tswana language.

Tebogo, who was born to mother Monique without human help and discovered by keepers on the morning of Dec. 9, is the 16th reticulated giraffe to be born at the zoo. Monique is the mother of nearly half of those calves -- prior to Tebogo, she had given birth to four sons and two daughters.

Tebogo was considered an especially large giraffe calf, according to zoo staff -- at birth, he already weighed more than 180 pounds. He won't be considered fully grown until he's about 3 years old.

See more photos of Tebogo and his mother after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Pembroke Welsh corgi puppy cavorts after a bath

We always enjoy watching our dogs' post-bath revelries; seeing them run as fast as their legs will carry them or roll frantically on the carpet out of sheer joy almost makes up for the fact that they get us all wet when they attempt to shake water off themselves. Almost.

But seeing a freshly bathed puppy run, jump and play on video is even better than seeing it in person, because we're spared the post-bath shaking and wet-dog smell.

Little Chewie, the enthusiastic jumper above, is a 3-month-old Pembroke Welsh corgi, a breed so inclined toward cuteness that it's inspired several themed Tumblr blogs devoted solely to documenting it. (We can only provide you the link to one such blog, on account of this being a family website -- several other corgi-themed blogs' titles contain a certain four-letter word popular among the Tumblr set.)

You can also see more of Chewie's antics on a YouTube channel devoted to her.

Your morning adorable: Energetic Pembroke Welsh corgi dances for his breakfast
Your morning adorable: Pembroke Welsh corgi practices his dock-diving skills

-- Lindsay Barnett

Your morning adorable: Vienna zoo's giant panda cub gets a name


The giant panda born at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo in August reached a milestone -- his 100th day -- and received his name in a ceremony held at the zoo on Monday.

His name, chosen by the panda-loving public in an online poll, is Fu Hu, which means "Happy Tiger" in Mandarin. Fu Hu's older brother, who was sent to a panda breeding center in China's Sichuan Province last year, is named Fu Long -- "Happy Dragon."

Fu Hu's parents, mother Yang Yang and father Long Hui, arrived in Vienna in 2003 through a loan program with China. They're scheduled to return to their home country in a few years when that loan expires. Fu Hu will also move to China one day, since the conditions of his parents' loan require any offspring they produce in a foreign zoo to be sent to China when they're old enough.

See more photos of Fu Hu after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Zoo Atlanta's giant panda cub has a checkup


The giant panda cub born last month at Zoo Atlanta continues to grow at a healthy rate, weighing 2.2 pounds and measuring almost 14 inches from nose tip to tail tip during a veterinary examination last week. The cub, a male, is the third offspring for mother Lun Lun and father Yang Yang and the only giant panda born in an American zoo this year. He hasn't yet been given a name.

The cub recently began to crawl, moving around "like a little worm," Joseph T. Svoke, a carnivore keeper at Zoo Atlanta, noted earlier this week. (Keepers post short updates about the cub's progress on the zoo's website just about every day, and panda fans can also tune in to the zoo's online panda cam on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.)

Mostly, of course, the little guy spends his time eating and sleeping, as all babies should. "His abdomen's really round and full and that's what we really like in a baby," Dr. Hayley Murphy, director of veterinary services at the zoo, told the Associated Press last week. "That just tells us he's eating well and his abdomen's full of milk."

Zoo staffers expect the cub to begin opening his eyes soon. He won't be on display to the public until he's walking on his own, a milestone giant pandas typically reach when they're about 4 months old.

After the jump, see more photos of the cub during his exam last week!

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Your morning adorable: Cheetah cub makes his debut at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Kiburi the Cheetah Cub

At the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (known until quite recently as the Wild Animal Park), quite possibly the cutest thing going -- and that's saying a lot -- is a tiny cheetah cub named Kiburi.

More than 130 cheetahs have been born to date at the Safari Park, which is a participant in a conservation breeding program for the endangered species. Kiburi is the first cub to be born there to two hand-raised parents, mother Makena and father Quint. He's being hand-raised himself -- receiving a bottle of special formula every 2 1/2 hours around the clock -- after Makena failed to properly care for him.

Kiburi opened his eyes for the first time last week -- he's pictured shortly after that momentous event on Nov. 24 -- and since then has primarily occupied his time with eating and sleeping. See him doing just that in an alarmingly precious video after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Baby mangabey monkey drinks from a bottle at Rome's Bioparco Zoo


A baby white-naped mangabey monkey born in early November at Rome's Bioparco Zoo is a big deal for his species, which is among the world's most endangered primates.

The baby's mother, Ashante, failed to properly care for the baby (keepers instead found him clinging to Ashante's mother Jasmine, who lives in the same enclosure), so keepers have taken to caring for him themselves. They feed the little guy every four hours around the clock and report that he is gaining weight. When he's old enough, he'll be reintroduced to his family unit.

You wouldn't know it to look at him now, but when this baby is fully grown he'll have a tuft of fur growing out of each cheek and a white mane of sorts around his neck.

All species of mangabey, including the white-naped variety, are native to African rainforests, and all are endangered.

See additional photos and video of the Bioparco Zoo's new baby after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Kitten rides tortoise

We can't help but wonder if this kitten is a regular YouTube viewer.

Is it possible she saw another video that went viral a while back in which Hope, perhaps the world's laziest dog, rides a large tortoise named Carl? Did that inspire her actions in the video above? Or could she have come to her tiny-tortoise-riding conclusion all on her own?

It'll have to remain a mystery, we suppose. And whatever this cute kitty's motivations may be -- to say nothing of the motivations of the patient tortoise that puts up with this whole silly business -- we get a deep enjoyment out of watching the resulting video.

And, of course, a little Henry Mancini never hurt anything.

Your morning adorable: What happens when you remove one kitten from a sleepy-kitten pile?
Your morning adorable: Himalayan kittens take a nap

-- Lindsay Barnett

Your morning adorable: Pygmy hippopotamus born at Zoo Miami


At Florida's Zoo Miami, the recent birth of a pygmy hippopotamus is cause for big excitement.

The baby, a female, is the first of her species to be born at the zoo in more than two decades and the first offspring for 18-year-old mother Kelsey. "It is testimony that the zoo is doing all of the right things in order to make this normally shy animal comfortable enough to reproduce successfully and to be a great mother," Ron Magill, the zoo's communications director, said in a statement.

Pygmy hippos, like the more familiar Nile hippos, are native to parts of Africa, but pygmy hippos' range is much smaller than that of their larger cousins. Their habitat includes parts of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast, and it's believed that fewer than 3,000 of them remain in the wild.

Zoo Miami is asking members of the public to help name the new baby by voting for their favorite name in an online poll. Name choices are Nzuri (Swahili for "beautiful"), Nyumbani ("home"), Leona (a play on Sierra Leone) and Asali ("honey," a tribute to another Zoo Miami hippo who died last year).

See another photo of mother and baby after the jump!

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