Keepers Use Night Vision Cameras to Spy on Maned Wolf Pups

At just over three months old, our four maned wolf puppies, Stella, Luna, Betts, and Cieza, are fully weaned. Keeper Lauren has been providing them with “grown-up” food, but since they’re still shy around people, she hasn’t been able to see them actively eating on their own. In order to determine whether the pups are eating by themselves or still relying on mom, Anaheim, as their main source of food, Lauren installed night vision cameras in their blockhouse.

Here are a few clips of what she’s seen:

The puppies are eating the same food that their mom eats: 30% ground beef mixed with 70% pureed fruits and veggies, plus supplements. The fruits and veggies are pureed and mixed with the meat because, while meat is their favorite, as omnivores, fruits and veggies are vital to their health. Mixing everything together ensures they are motivated to eat their veggies!

Mixing the meat with fruits and veggies also helps keep their meat intake in check. If maned wolves eat too much meat, they can get cystinuria, a condition in which crystals form in their urine. Cystinuria can be deadly, so keepers work hard to ensure our animals eat a well-balanced diet!

You may be wondering why the pups are coming inside so late at night to eat! Our maned wolves are given the choice to come and go as they please after hours. On nicer days, they tend to sleep in their outdoor den boxes, which are heated to stay above 50 degrees – for those cool nights! If it’s especially cold outside, they often opt to sleep inside the blockhouse, where temperatures are heated to a nice, warm 73 degrees.

As you can see, our maned wolf pups are growing up quickly under the faithful care of our dedicated animal care staff. Be sure to stop by the maned wolf exhibit the next time you visit for a chance to see these playful pups in action!

A New Angle(r)

If you’ve visited the aquarium recently, you might’ve noticed the mother-son fishing cat duo has disbanded. But no need to worry, this is a good thing for both animals. Read on to learn why.

Earlier this month, keepers decided there was sufficient evidence that Tallulah was no longer getting along with her son, Angler. This was obvious in that her aggression was higher, along with other signs of stress being observed while they were on exhibit together. These signs led the animal care team to their decision to move Angler to what is called our “large quarantine” area. Contrary to how that sounds, the move does not mean Angler is under quarantine. Instead, the large quarantine space is currently being used for animal holding.

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Angler

As mentioned before, this separation is not a bad thing and is actually quite normal! In the wild, fishing cat mothers and their offspring separate after anywhere from 9 months to a year. Since February is the one-year mark for Angler and Tallulah, this change has arrived right on time. In addition, fishing cat males reach sexually maturity at 1.5 years of age, so it was extra important that Angler move out before reaching that stage of his life.

Keeper Rachael tells us Angler is doing great in his new space – eating normally, training daily, and conducting his regular antics of using his pool as a house cat would use a litter box. His current neighbors are giant anteater Eury and cassowary pair Dodo and Moa. Though they cannot see one another, they can smell one another, and all are doing well with the new situation.

Mako (our adult male) and Tallulah will continue being rotated on exhibit daily. At the time of this writing, there is not yet a schedule in place as to who will be on exhibit and when; the team is working to figure out what will be best for Tallulah, as Mako does not care where he is, provided that he has been fed. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?

We have not yet heard from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) about future plans for Angler, nor whether or not Tallulah and Mako will be recommended to breed again. You can learn more about AZA’s Species Survival Plan Programs by clicking here.

Maned Wolf Pups Born at the Greensboro Science Center

On December 11, 2018, the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) 5-year-old female maned wolf, Anaheim, gave birth to four puppies. This is the fourth time she and 11-year-old Nazca (the GSC’s adult male maned wolf) have been recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan. This litter, comprised of two males and two females, is the second successful litter from the pair.

The maned wolf exhibit has been closed since early December as keepers began “pup watch”. During this time, Lauren Davis, the GSC’s Wolf String Lead Keeper, has worked to ensure that Anaheim’s four den boxes (two inside and two outside) are well-heated and filled with appropriate bedding. She has also installed Bluetooth baby monitors in the outside den boxes so she can monitor the mother wolf from a distance. Closing the exhibit to guests has provided Anaheim with a quieter, calmer environment in which to give birth and raise her new family.

Davis says, “Sometimes, we are able to observe the breeding behaviors, which allows us to count the days and determine a solid window for when Anaheim will give birth. For the last two years, though, the wolves have been very secretive, so it’s up to me to be observant of her body condition and behaviors.”

As a part of their ongoing care, the wolves are weighed once each month. If Davis sees Anaheim exceeding her normal weight range, she begins weighing the animal weekly to get a more accurate estimate for a potential due date. Davis says Anaheim also becomes very pushy when pregnant. During the last half of pregnancy, Davis looks for a round belly and visible teats as milk develops.

“This year, I was about 2 weeks off,” Davis says. “I thought she would have Christmas babies, but when that huge snow storm was rolling in, she started to look very, very round. It is not unusual for animals to give birth during bad weather, so I knew it would be that weekend — and I was right!”

Davis says Anaheim is currently doing well taking care of four hungry mouths and Nazca is a fantastic father. She says, “He is protective and does a very good job supporting Anaheim. Once the pups get older, he will regurgitate for them and play with them, but for now his job is to stay out of the way and make sure I don’t mess with his family.”

The pups received their first veterinary exam on Thursday, January 10. Each wolf was thoroughly examined, microchipped and weighed, and all received a clean bill of health from the GSC’s veterinary team. The pups will receive their first vaccines in about two weeks, followed by routine exams every three weeks until they are 12 – 14 weeks old.

The maned wolf exhibit will reopen to the public on Monday, February 11. The pups may or may not be visible immediately after reopening, as they will continue to spend much of their time in their den boxes until they get a little older.

ABOUT THE SSP

The mission of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program is to oversee the population management of select species within AZA member institutions (i.e., AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, Conservation Partners, and Certified Related Facilities (CRFs)) and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild.

Where’s Angler?

Angler, the baby fishing cat born at the Greensboro Science Center in February, will be off exhibit for six to eight weeks as he recovers from a broken arm. Last week, keepers noticed the kitten limping, prompting two immediate actions: 1 – our veterinary team performed a physical exam in an attempt to identify the injury and 2 – our animal care team reviewed camera footage to see how the injury occurred.

Upon palpating the animal’s forearm, GSC veterinarian, Dr. Sam Young, found the broken bone and promptly scheduled a visit with the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Cary, NC.

The forearm is made up of two bones – the radius and the ulna. Radiographs showed the kitten has a broken radius, but the ulna is still intact, which Dr. Sam tells us is good news as it acts like a splint for the fractured bone.

The orthopedic surgeon at VSH inserted a k-wire to align the bones, then plated the fracture, as you can see in the image below.

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Upon reviewing camera footage, our animal care team saw Angler stick his paw under the barrier between his holding space and his father, Mako’s holding space. Although the cats have been separated since birth by this barrier, on this occasion, Mako grabbed Angler’s paw. It appears the kitten broke his arm when he quickly pulled away. Our animal care team has now added an additional barrier – metal sheeting that fills the gap under the wall – to prevent future incidents.

Angler’s arm is being kept bandaged and in a splint to prevent him from licking or chewing on the injury, which could cause additional harm. Our animal care team is changing his bandage daily as well as providing him with pain medications and antibiotics. In order for our team to change his bandage, Angler must be sedated, brought from his behind-the-scenes exhibit space to the hospital, where his bandage is changed, then brought back to his exhibit – and his mom, Tallulah. He is currently being trained to go into a crate to make the transport process easier and less stressful for him.

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As he continues to heal, keepers are ensuring all toys and furniture in his space are kept small or low to ground, so as not to encourage climbing. Keeper Rachael tells us Anger is eating well and taking all of his medications, which will aid in a speedy recovery. We’ll be sure to share any changes in Angler’s condition on our Facebook page, so stay tuned for updates!

 

Fishing Kitten Born at the Greensboro Science Center

MEDIA RELEASE

GREENSBORO, NC – The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is excited to announce that Tallulah, its female fishing cat, has given birth. On Thursday, February 15, Tallulah delivered two fishing kittens, one of which was stillborn. The second kitten, however, has been observed moving about and nursing. If all continues to go well, GSC guests and media can expect to see the kitten on exhibit in about three months.

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Tallulah and her mate, Mako, have been recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) since 2014, in cooperation with Mako’s owners, the Lionshare Educational Organization (LEO) Zoological Conservation Center in Connecticut. This is the first successful fishing cat birth at the GSC and one of only a few successful fishing cat births in the United States this year.

Senior Keeper Rachael Campbell says, “Mom and baby appear to be doing well. From the video monitors, we can see the baby nursing and getting lots of grooming from Tallulah. We’re always cautious with new babies and new moms, so we’re trying to be as hands-off as possible. As long as we continue to see positive signs, we will let them be.”

Campbell says she doesn’t see any signs of stress from Tallulah when she is cleaning the exhibit, but the pair has a good relationship and the cat is comfortable with her.

“Tallulah is not comfortable around people she doesn’t know,” Campbell says, “so my relief keepers have noticed her being a bit more vocal.”

Keepers will continue to keep their distance until the kitten is about 30 days old. At that point, Campbell says she may begin to handle the kitten if Tallulah is comfortable with the separation. Because Tallulah tends to become stressed around strangers, the GSC’s veterinarian will not check the kitten until it reaches six to eight weeks of age.

Once it is around three months old and can easily move around, get in and out of the water, jump, climb, etc., the kitten will move onto exhibit. If the kitten is a female, she will continue to live with Tallulah until placed in another facility. If the kitten is a male, he will be separated from his mother once he reaches sexual maturity, which typically happens at the year and a half mark.

The GSC will continue to update the public on the kitten’s progress on the organization’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Rare Javan Gibbon Birth at Greensboro Science Center

This article was written by Zoo Curator, Jessica Hoffman, for WubbaNub.
The Greensboro Science Center in North Carolina is pleased to announce our first birth of the rare Javan gibbon, Hylobates moloch, born on the morning of April 29th, 2013.  Only 2 AZA facilities and 1 CAZA facility currently exhibit a total of 8 Javan gibbons around North America.  The Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) in California, a private non-profit, also houses a small group.   The parents are a newly bonded pair who just arrived to the Science Center a little over a year ago.  The father, Leon, is a 9 year old male on breeding loan from the GCC.  The 10 year old mother Isabella, also arrived to us from GCC but is owned by Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada.  Javan gibbons are considered to be one of the world’s most endangered primates.  Current population numbers are at less than 2000 but this in an improvement over numbers from the 80’s when the species was considered critically endangered.  The species inhabits deeply forested tracts of land, solely on the island of Java.  Primary threats include habitat loss and poaching for the illegal pet trade.  For the Science Center, they have been one of our most popular and loved species.  “Building a superior exhibit for active participation in a gibbon SSP program was one of our institution’s first collection plan mandates during the design of Animal Discovery back in 2006. It is gratifying to finally see our vision turn into such a significant birth for such an imperiled species” says Glenn Dobrogosz, Director of the Greensboro Science Center.  Exhibiting this new pair also helped to kick off our first ever International Gibbon Conference where gibbon experts from around the world came to share ideas and discuss new initiatives.  This networking became key in offering support to us through the pregnancy and birth.
Duke

Animal care staff had been monitoring Bella’s pregnancy since November when she first started showing signs.  However, an exact due date was questionable.  Attempts to ultrasound the female were tried but were unsuccessful.  Since the parents were new and had never bred before, there was concern about how this first pregnancy might go.  Often times, first time parents may abandon or reject their offspring and the Science Center was prepared for this scenario. As feared, the male infant was born early in the morning but was found, by primary keeper Amanda Bissert, cold and unresponsive on the ground.  “He was not moving and it was hard to see if he was breathing” says Bissert.  Fortunately, the infant was still alive and supportive care by keeper and veterinary staff was immediately started.  “It took a minute to process everything, but when I saw that he was moving, the adrenaline kicked in.  The first thing I said was ‘He’s alive!'”  After approximately 30 hours, the infant was strong enough that a reintroduction to the mother was attempted.  At this time, the mother did accept the infant and immediately showed very positive signs of motherhood, cradling the infant, grooming him, and vocalizing.  However, after an additional 24 hours of observation, no nursing was ever observed and the infant appeared severely weakened again.  At this time, the decision was made to immobilize the mother and again offer supportive care to the baby.  While under anesthesia, the baby was placed on the mother to nurse but it was evident that there was very minimal milk production.  To not cause further risk to mother or baby, the decision was made to hand- rear the infant from this point forward.

Animal care staff has been working around the clock holding, feeding, cleaning, and exercising the now named baby Duke.  Additional volunteer support has been utilized through our local Cone Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who assist with holding Duke during the day and have donated the majority of the supplies needed for Duke’s care.  We definitely could not have done this alone and we thank them immensely for their support.  Duke has proved to be a very happy, healthy baby who is eating and growing well.  Daily interactions also take place between Duke and his parents about four times per day.  His mother especially has continued to show a very strong interest in him and has the ability to touch him, smell him, and lick him through protected contact.  It is our hope that once Duke is weaned on to solid foods, at about 4 mos, full introductions back to his family group will begin.  In the meantime, Duke can be viewed by visitors daily through glass viewing at our zoo hospital.

Greensboro Science Center is working with a wide variety of nurses, related staff, and volunteers from the Women’s Hospital at Cone Health, where they have a neonatal intensive care unit. At this hospital, volunteers are utilized regularly to sit and hold premature babies who need to stay at the hospital.  Just like a human baby, a primate baby needs constant care-even more so because they cannot be put down. They must be held at all times, just like their mothers would do. You can imagine the staff time that this would take!

What makes him very different from a human baby, though, is that Duke needs to have constant motion and must be clinging at all times. Members of the animal care staff have been working around the clock holding, feeding, cleaning, and exercising him. Greensboro Science Center is able to fill almost all of the workday with volunteers. And in the evening, one of the two keepers or Jessica H. (Zoo Curator) takes baby Duke home for overnight care.

The volunteers had to think outside of the box in many ways. To help Duke feel as if he was with his real mother, volunteers wear furry “vest.”  This vest simulates the mother’s chest and allows baby Duke to cling to the volunteers. A nurse named Melissa W. first showed the Zoo Curator a photo of the WubbaNub Monkey. Everyone loved it!  A few days later, the WubbaNub arrived for Duke. Duke is on a pretty regular feeding schedule – this is where the WubbaNub comes in very handy.  Volunteers explain how Duke can get very fussy between feedings. When it is too early for a feeding, they use the WubbaNub to calm him until his next feeding time.  The caretakers especially like the WubbaNub because it allows Duke to grasp it easier.  Many other primate stuffed animals are used to help Duke with grasping and socializing, so the WubbaNub Monkey is a DOUBLE BONUS!

It is the Zoo Curator’s hope that they won’t be doing this for too much longer as he continues to grow so quickly. Interactions take place between Duke and his parents about four times per day. His mother has continued to show a very strong interest in him and has the ability to touch him, smell him, and lick him through protected contact. If all else goes well, and Duke stays strong and healthy, they hope to reintroduce him to his family!

Baby Duke Continues To Grow

Baby Gibbon Duke - nearly 1 month old

Baby Gibbon Duke – nearly 1 month old

Just one month ago, Senior Keeper Amanda Bissert walked into the Javan Gibbons’ indoor habitat and discovered a tiny, full-term baby gibbon lying cold and barely alive on the floor. Just one month later, we are thrilled to be able to tell visitors that baby Duke is doing well and continues to grow stronger each day thanks to the dedicated care of GSC keepers and volunteers.

Isabella, Duke’s mother, unfortunately has had a difficult time producing enough milk to nourish the infant. To ensure his greatest chance at survival, GSC keepers made the difficult decision to hand-raise the baby. Although, as many human parents know, it isn’t easy caring for a newborn, GSC zoo staff has stepped up to the plate and readily accepted the challenge. Their efforts are paying off. As you can see from the chart below, Duke is continuously gaining weight and grows stronger each day.

Weight-Growth Chart for Duke

Weight-Growth Chart for Duke

Due to the incredible amount of time and resources that goes into hand-rearing this fragile infant, volunteers from Cone Health have generously offered assistance. During the day, these volunteers can sometimes be seen through the windows of Animal Discovery’s hospital, holding, rocking and feeding Duke. This allows GSC staff to continue to provide excellent care for the remainder of our resident animals while being assured Duke is well taken care of by these faithful volunteers.

> Click here for a recent video of Duke.

Duke continues to receive regular interaction time with his parents, during which he can see, smell and hear Leon and Isabella. This will hopefully lead to a positive outcome once he is able to eat solid foods and can be reunited with them.

Interested in helping out? A donation to the Center goes toward the daily husbandry and veterinary care of the animals, like Duke!