L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
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Category: Photos

Your morning adorable: Waterbuck calf gets a nuzzle at Berlin Zoo


A waterbuck calf born at the Berlin Zoo in late November is giving the zoo's other resident animal babies -- like the guanaco calf and African lion cubs, for instance -- a run for their money in the unofficial Cutest Zoo Baby competition.

The calf recently joined the zoo's waterbuck herd; young waterbucks don't typically interact much with adults until they've reached a few weeks of age and are ready to be inducted into herd life.

Once a young waterbuck becomes a full-fledged herd member, it sticks close to its mother by following a vivid marker: a bright white marker in the vicinity of her tail, rather like a target.

Waterbucks are native to parts of central and southern Africa, where they stick close to water -- hence the name -- but prefer not to swim in it unless they have to in order to escape a predator.

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

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Photos: Elephants love playing in snow. Who knew?


We're beginning to sense a trend here. Elephants seem to be enjoying winter, and specifically having a blast playing with -- and, in some cases, eating -- snow.

The fact that elephants can paint masterful portraits has already been established. Can a pachyderm-constructed snowman be far behind?

Above, a resident of the Berlin Zoo is shown picking up snow and sticking it right into its own mouth in a series of photos taken last week. Clearly, this creative elephant has just discovered the concept of Sno Cones -- all that's missing is fruit flavoring.

After the jump, check out more photos of snow-loving elephants!

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Caption this: Ring-tailed lemur goes for his weigh-in at Germany's Hagenbeck Zoo


At the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, keepers recently conducted an "animal census" of sorts. Zoo residents -- including ring-tailed lemurs like this fellow, crocodiles, sharks, rays and even a giant millipede -- were weighed, measured and given a general once-over.

Ring-tailed lemurs and other members of the lemur family, of course, are known more for their jumping ability than for their ability to sit still on a scale -- which means that it was probably a smart plan on this keeper's part to give this little guy a snack to entice him to stay put.


-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Angelika Warmuth / AFP/Getty Images

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: 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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Researchers dressed as giant pandas prepare panda cub for the wild in Chinese reserve

Human Panda

At the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in China's famous Wolong Nature Reserve, this 4-month-old cub is something of a pioneer, and the human researcher in a panda suit is helping to prepare him for life in the wild.

The captive-bred cub is being prepared for his eventual release through a new program conceived by panda researchers working to increase the endangered species' numbers in the wild.

For the program to be successful, the cub must be prevented from "imprinting" on his human caretakers or developing too much dependence on people. (We wonder if a similar aim could be achieved by allowing the cubs to be raised by dogs trimmed and dyed to resemble pandas.)

The researchers released four pregnant pandas into a protected area monitored by hidden cameras  this year, according to the Telegraph; the cub in the photo above was born to one of those mothers. When the researchers must come into close contact with him -- to take his temperature or give him a veterinary checkup, for example -- they do so only when clad in full-body panda costumes.

If anyone knows where one can fill out an application for panda-costume-wearing cub-sitter, please clue us in! This sounds like the best job in the world, perhaps tied only with Professional Island Caretaker. See more photos of the cub and his fake-panda caretakers after the jump!

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Caption this: Baboon snacks on peppers

Hamadryas baboon hearts peppers

At the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, you don't have to be human to celebrate St. Nicholas Day! In an event held Friday, the zoo's animals -- like this hamadryas baboon -- received special treats including peppers, apples and nuts and were given stuffed Santa hats to play with. (St. Nicholas Day is actually Dec. 6, but the animals got a head-start on the festivities.)

Hamadryas baboons are native to the Horn of Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, which makes them the species of baboon with the northernmost habitat. Their home turf once included Egypt as well, and they were revered by ancient Egyptians. The Hagenbeck Zoo has long been known for its "monkey rock" exhibit for hamadryas baboons, which was conceived by the zoo's founder is considered the first installation of its kind in any zoo in the world.


-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Malte Christians / AFP/Getty Images


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