L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Zoos & Aquariums

Orphaned Yellowstone grizzlies make debut at Montana Zoo


They will never escape their savage backstory, but three young bears whose mother led them on a rampage through a Montana campground embarked on a new career Friday: fuzzy zoo attractions.

As a posse of preschoolers pressed close as the glass would allow, the three grizzlies -- now Dolly, Loulou and Koda -- nosed around their new two-acre spread at ZooMontana.

Wildlife officials euthanized the bears' mother in July, after the bruin family was trapped in the wake of a rare late-night attack outside Yellowstone National Park. A Michigan man was killed and two people were injured.

The young -- now almost two years old -- were with the marauding sow bear, but their precise role remains unknown. Investigators concluded the mother was leading her young to food.

Now, after five months in quarantine, the bears are taking their first forays this week around their enclave in Billings. The zoo is about 125 miles from the site of the attacks, a streamside campground near Cooke City.

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

Celebrity polar bear Knut celebrates his 4th birthday with a party at Berlin Zoo

Knut BdayBERLIN — Knut, Germany's favorite polar bear, has celebrated his 4th birthday with a lavish party at his zoo attended by about 250 people.

Fish and meat were served in the polar bear's snow-covered outdoor enclosure at the Berlin Zoo on Sunday, followed by a birthday cake shaped like the number 4.

As Knut gobbled up his cake, the spectators sang "Happy Birthday,"the German news agency DAPD reported.

The visitors also were given the rare opportunity to feed Knut, and he seemed to enjoy the bread, fruit and fish they brought for him.

Knut has been a star in Germany since he was hand-raised by zookeepers after his mother rejected him at birth.

Knut, beloved polar bear, has a run-in with a fan
Zoo custody dispute over Knut the polar bear ends; he'll remain in Berlin

-- Associated Press

Photo: Knut enjoys his birthday cake in his enclosure at the Berlin Zoo on Dec. 5. Credit: Soeren Stache / European Pressphoto Agency

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

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!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

Royal starlings at English zoo are named for Prince William and Kate Middleton


In honor of the recently announced engagement of Prince William and longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, an English zoo has named its young pair of royal starlings (get it?) after the couple. The birds are a few months old and have been hand-raised by a keeper at the Chester Zoo in northwest England.

Royal starlings, also known as golden-breasted starlings, are native to parts of east Africa, where the couple were traveling when they became engaged. "As William proposed during a visit to Kenya it would be nice to think that, as they became engaged to be married, royal starlings may have been there to witness the special event," keeper Andrew Woolham said.

Royal starlings, like other starling species, are known for their tendency to make loud vocalizations. They live in small family groupings, and often entire families help with the rearing of chicks, with adult birds dividing chores like feeding young and building nests.

Though the species is not considered vulnerable to extinction in the wild, zoos have had limited success with breeding royal starlings in captivity.

Six thick-billed parrot chicks at New York's Queens Zoo are a big deal for their endangered species
Your morning adorable: Chilean flamingo chick already knows how to stand on one leg

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Royal starlings William, left, and Kate sit on a branch in their enclosure at the Chester Zoo on Nov. 18. Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters

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.

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


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Pet Adoption Resources

Recent Posts