L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
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Category: Animal Babies

Zoo Atlanta's giant panda cub is a male

Zoo Atlanta giant panda cub is a male

It's official: The giant panda cub born to Lun Lun at Zoo Atlanta early this month is a male. The cub's sex was determined last week during an examination by the zoo's veterinary team and a visiting expert from the China's Chengdu Panda Base research and breeding center.

The cub weighed about 1 pound, 1 ounce and measured a little over a foot in length, including his tail, at his examination Thursday. The cub, which weighed only about 4 ounces at birth, "is definitely working on growing with how much he is nursing," keeper Kris Gelhardt wrote on Zoo Atlanta's website Monday. "It seems like every time I come back from my weekend he has grown!"

The cub is the third of Lun Lun and partner Yang Yang, who are in Atlanta through a loan program with China. The cub's brother, Xi Lan, born in 2008, still lives at Zoo Atlanta. Sister Mei Lan, born in 2006, moved from Atlanta to China this year along with Tai Shan, a giant panda born at the National Zoo in Washington.

In keeping with Chinese tradition, the cub won't be given a name until he's 100 days old.

RELATED PANDA NEWS:
Your morning adorable: Madrid Zoo's giant panda twins entertain a royal visitor
Giant panda baby boom at Chinese preserve is good news for the endangered species

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: The cub shown Friday. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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

To answer the question posed by our headline: Something astoundingly cute happens when you remove one kitten from a sleepy-kitten pile. (You can take that answer to the bank, should it ever come up on "Jeopardy!")

We're not sure of the circumstances behind this video -- but what we do know is that a visit to YouTube user chibiumeharu's channel yields a wide variety of cat-and-kitten videos, including this very adorable one.

Who knew kittens could sleep so soundly? When we think of a "cat nap," this -- a deep sleep from which this kitten doesn't wake, even to move its paws -- is decidedly not what springs to mind.

RELATED CUTE KITTENS:
Your morning adorable: Ragdoll kitten plays Duck Hunt video game (sort of)
Your morning adorable: Kitten hasn't quite gotten the hang of playing

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: chibiumeharu via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Sumatran orangutan baby at the Budapest Zoo

OrangBaby2

Hungary's Budapest Zoo has had a big year for endangered ape births -- both a Sumatran orangutan baby, above, and a western lowland gorilla baby were born there in 2010.

Sumatran orangutans and western lowland gorillas are both considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the organization that maintains a "red list" of species considered at risk of extinction.

Sumatran orangutans like this little one, a female, are genetically distinct from their relatives, the more well-known Bornean orangutans. Both species are endangered, but there are far fewer Sumatran orangutans remaining in the wild (an estimated 7,300) than Bornean orangutans (in the tens of thousands). A report released by the wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC last year showed that Sumatran orangutans were increasingly imperiled by the pet trade.

All of this, of course, means that the birth of a new Sumatran orangutan is a big deal indeed.

Check out another photo of the Budapest Zoo's orangutan baby after the jump!

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Your morning adorable: Himalayan kittens take a nap

When you're in the mood for an adorable video, it's always a safe bet to seek out one that combines baby animals and sleepiness. (Exhibit A is above; if you require further proof, might we suggest viewings of other videos in which, respectively, a tiny gray kitten stretches in its sleep and a Shiba Inu puppy barks, howls and waves its paws around while dreaming?)

YouTube user ShallAdoreCats' channel is a good one to bookmark if you find yourself regularly in need of a kitten-related pick-me-up. It is, after all, the channel that yielded another of our favorite kitten videos, in which a very young Himalayan fellow tries to play with a cat toy, but hasn't quite mastered the art of playing yet.

Oh, kittens -- sometimes your cuteness makes it difficult to get things done.

RELATED KITTEN VIDEOS:
Your morning adorable: Orange tabby kitten does his best 'Surprised Kitty' impression
Your morning adorable: Kitten finds his own paws terribly, terribly delicious

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: ShallAdoreCats via YouTube

Your morning adorable: Rothschild giraffe calf makes her debut at England's Chester Zoo

RothschildGiraffe1

At England's Chester Zoo, there's a great deal of excitement about a giraffe calf born last week. The calf, a female, is the first of her subspecies -- the Rothschild giraffe -- to be born at the zoo. (Members of different giraffe subspecies, of which there are nine, can interbreed, and the new calf has several half-siblings who share the same Rothschild giraffe father but have mothers belonging to different giraffe subspecies.)

"Both mum and baby are doing very well and it is delightful to see the pair of them making the most of the winter sunshine," chief giraffe keeper Belinda Porter said Monday.

The new calf hasn't yet been named, and the zoo is asking the public to help choose one for her through a survey on its website. Zoo staff have narrowed possible names for her down to five: Anaka, Aisha, Zafi, Tula and Yala.

Rothschild giraffes (also known as Ugandan giraffes or Baringo giraffes) are considered endangered and are among the rarest of all giraffe subspecies.

See more photos of the Chester Zoo's calf after the jump!

Continue reading »

Your morning adorable: Madrid Zoo's giant panda twins entertain a royal visitor

PandaCub1

Twin giant panda cubs born at the Madrid Zoo in September had a high-profile visitor -- Spain's Queen Sofia -- on Friday.

Queen Sofia held the cubs and even tried her hand at bottle-feeding them.

The cubs, both males, now have their eyes open and are able to turn their heads and crawl, though they're not very steady yet.

They're the first offspring for their mother Hua Zui Ba, who, with partner Bing Xing, arrived in Madrid on a 10-year loan from China in 2007. When the two failed to procreate on their own, their cubs were conceived through artificial insemination. They're the first set of giant panda twins conceived using the method outside of China.

See more photos of Queen Sofia's visit to the panda nursery after the jump!

Continue reading »

Your morning adorable: Double your squirming bulldog puppies, double your fun

It's finally happened! At long last, we've had the good fortune of finding an adorable animal video that combines the best elements of two of our past favorites -- the Shiba Inu puppy who barks and howls in its sleep and the pair of alarmingly cute rabbits who yawn, stretch and clean each other gently.

The video above is, we think, something like a mashup of both.

These two bulldog puppies squirming and moving their little mouths as if trying to nurse are among the cutest things we've seen lately -- and we've seen a lot of cute things lately, so that's saying something!

"Pink puppy bellies: Resistance is futile," one commenter says on YouTube. We couldn't agree more.

RELATED CUTE PUPPIES:
Your morning adorable: Boston terrier puppy and cat are the best of friends
Your morning adorable: Beagle puppies learn to bay

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: exxentrix via YouTube

Zoo Atlanta's giant panda Lun Lun gives birth for third time

Giant panda Lun Lun and her newborn cub at Zoo Atlanta

ATLANTA — A giant panda gave birth to her third cub Wednesday at Zoo Atlanta, one of only four U.S. zoos that house the endangered animals.

The cub weighed about 4 ounces and was about the size of a cellphone, zoo officials said. Mother panda Lun Lun had been on round-the-clock birth watch since Oct. 22, when an ultrasound confirmed the pregnancy.

The cub, the only giant panda born at a U.S. zoo so far this year, was born at 5:39 a.m. in a specially prepared birthing den, zoo officials said.

Zoo officials probably will get a chance to examine the cub and determine its gender next week after Lun Lun feels comfortable with setting it down, zoo veterinarian Sam Rivera said.

It will take several weeks for the cub to develop its signature black and white fur.

"Lun Lun is an experienced mom. She knows exactly what to do, and she's doing the right thing," Rivera said. He said that although Lun Lun's mammary gland development indicates she's producing milk, he can't be certain yet whether the cub is nursing. "The first week is critical," he said.

Continue reading »

Your morning adorable: Guanaco calf makes her debut at the Berlin Zoo

baby Guanaco

We sometimes wonder if the Berlin Zoo --  home to African lion cubs, wolf pups, moose calves and, of course, world-famous Knut the polar bear -- has room for any animals that aren't adorable. The breakneck pace with which it debuts cute animal babies is enough to make our heads spin.

This week, the zoo's baby animal du jour is a female guanaco calf, seen above with her mother, Hannah, in their outdoor enclosure. The calf was born in mid-October.

The guanaco, like its domestic counterpart, the llama, is native to parts of South America. (Both animals share a penchant for spitting.) The species is also a relative of the camel and, as such, doesn't need much water to survive. Another similarity between the guanaco and the camel, according to the San Diego Zoo, is that "both animals have two padded toes that help with footing on rocky trails or gravel slopes. Their feet are best described as 'squishy.' " Of course, guanacos don't have humps.

Guanacos are known for their loud vocalizations, meaning you probably wouldn't want to have this baby -- no matter how cute she is -- as a roommate.

See more photos of the Berlin Zoo's new guanaco baby after the jump!

Continue reading »

Australia's Taronga Zoo welcomes its first female Asian elephant calf

Baby Elephant

SYDNEY — Sydney's premier zoo is celebrating the birth of its first female Asian elephant -- a 270-pound (120-kilogram) calf who is doing well.

Taronga Zoo director Cameron Kerr said in a statement that the birth Tuesday means that Australia now has a dozen of the endangered animals in zoos in Sydney and Melbourne, after initially receiving eight from Thailand in 2006.

The newborn, which has yet to be named, is the third born in the Sydney zoo and the first female.

The zoo says the calf was suckling within two hours of birth and walking unassisted within three hours.

RELATED ELEPHANT NEWS:
Asian elephants Jewel and Tina to move from San Diego to the L.A. Zoo's new Asian elephant exhibit
Your morning adorable: Asian elephant calf makes her debut at Australia's Melbourne Zoo

-- Associated Press

Photo: The newborn calf stands beneath her mother, Pak Boon, at the Taronga Zoo on Nov. 2. Credit: Taronga Zoo / Getty Images

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