GALLERY: Baby love as zoos celebrate new arrivals
Animal keepers have been kept busy thanks to a baby boom which has seen the arrival of many new mouths to feed.
Dudley Zoo, West Midland Safari Park, Telford's Exotic Zoo and Chester Zoo have all celebrated new arrivals during 2019.
From bats to penguins there been plenty of new faces for visitors to Dudley Zoo to get to know as they make they way around the enclosures.
Kicking off the year was the arrival of an Egyptian fruit bat in January who was the first of seven bats to born in its indoor Castle Creatures exhibit.
In February there were celebrations in the Small Primate House when keepers welcomed critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur twins, Pandora and Prometheus.
And March was another brilliant month for primates with the birth of a pygmy marmoset, twin ring-tailed lemurs, Spider and Loki and gelada Jinka. Plus, the zoo also welcomed two baby Patagonian mara and three Barbary sheep.
April heralded the arrival of Primrose, another critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur, four guinea pigs were born on Easter Day, there was another Patagonian mara, plus Nuno the Humboldt penguin, who was named after the Wolves Manager.
In May, tiny Harvest mice were born in the farm barn.
There were more celebrations on the farm in June when staff welcomed Bactrian camel, Delilah to the zoo family.
July saw the birth of two meerkat pups, who didn’t make their public debut outside until a month later.
During August Oakley the Bactrian camel arrived, alongside Toby, the Standing’s Day gecko in the Reptile House and another Patagonian mara.
September saw the notable birth of Kira, the zoo's female giraffe calf, Maximus the Burrowing owl hatched and staff welcomed their ninth yellow-breasted capuchin too, another little boy, who has been named Deet.
And little Shire, the second male gelada of the year arrived in October.
Curator Richard Brown, said: “We’re delighted with our new arrivals, who are all making fantastic progress, as they're living proof of the continued success of our international conservation programmes with some of the rarest species in the world, so why not come and visit them in 2020 to see how much they’ve grown."
Keepers at West Midland Safari Park have also had many reasons to celebrate this year.
In March, three boisterous, endangered dhole (Asiatic wild dog) pups were born but keepers didn't meet them pups face-to-face until they were 10 weeks old as they were kept hidden away in their den by seven-year-old mum, Berri.
Luckily, staff were alerted to the pups’ appearance when they noticed some tiny, wriggling fluff-balls, being carefully washed by their dad, Douglas, on the dhole house CCTV.
Like a domestic puppy, the dhole pups had their first veterinary check, microchips and vaccinations at ten weeks old. This also gave staff the chance to see what gender the pups were too – two boys and a girl.
On the morning of March 13, keepers were astonished to find that the Park’s pair of grey-handed douroucouli, also known as night monkeys or owl monkeys, had given birth to a tiny baby.
The appearance of the minute monkey came as a complete surprise to keepers, as they had no idea that mum, eight-year-old Kyna, was pregnant. Baby douroucouli only weigh a miniscule 3oz at birth, so although the adults are weighed weekly, there was no indication that Kyna was carrying a small passenger
In June here were smiles all round when three tiny, cute and incredibly fluffy chinchilla babies made their first appearance.
The long-tailed chinchilla youngsters, known as ‘kits’ were born to first-time parents, Gladys and Julian, who can normally be seen in the park’s Friendly Animal Encounters and Safari Academy classroom sessions.
Keepers suspected that Gladys may have been pregnant as she was putting on a lot of weight, as discovered in her weekly health checks. After they had alerted the Park’s veterinary team to their suspicions, the vet confirmed Gladys was pregnant and promptly put her on ‘maternity leave’.
During their afternoon rounds on June 1, keepers were excited to find the three tiny balls of fluff, no bigger than a ping pong ball, cuddled up with their mum.
The same month two fluffy, grey Humboldt penguin chicks also emerged from their nests , under the watchful eyes of their parents – pairs Elm and Elder and Ash and Juniper.
All babies born at the park during 2019 have names beginning with the letter ‘H’ and the penguin keepers went for a food theme and named the chicks ‘Hotdog’ and ‘Haggis
In July they welcomed the arrival of a critically endangered teeny-tiny pancake tortoise.
After hatching from its egg, the miniscule youngster, named Hartley, was about the size of a bottle-top, which was reused as a water bowl for the tiny hatchling.
Hartley is the second success of the park’s breeding programme for pancake tortoises, following the hatching of older half-brother Finn, who became an internet sensation in 2017, due to his minute size.
Deputy head keeper of the Discovery Trail, Steve Slater, said: “When Finn, our first baby pancake tortoise, hatched in 2017, the conservation status of his species was classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since then, the IUCN have reviewed the status and have found that the population of the species is drastically declining, so now list the species as ‘critically endangered’.”
A dozen baby skunks have been settling in to their new home after being welcomed into the world at Telford’s Exotic Zoo over the summer.
The kits, which are black, brown and albino, proved a big a hit with visitors.
Visitors got a nice surprise when a pair of baby Patagonian maras came into the world before their very eyes.
Staff at the popular attraction in Priorslee had no idea their mother was pregnant but have warmly welcomed the new arrivals.
The zoo may have become the first in the UK to successfully breed black widow spiders – welcoming between 100 and 200 of the tiny creatures just in time for Halloween.
But as well as the thrill of seeing the infamous creatures up close, The zoo’s owner Scott Adams says he’s hoping people take the time to learn more about these often misunderstood spiders.
Visitors to a Chester Zoo were buzzing with delight following the arrival of three cute rock hyrax pups.
The triplets - two female pups and their brother - were born to parents Daissie and Nungud on July 18.
The mini mammals weighed no more than a banana at about 250 grams.
Keepers also celebrated the birth of Chester Zoo’s first dusky pademelon – a rare ‘miniature kangaroo’ from Indonesia.
The adorable joey started to peek out from the pouch of first-time mother Styx after being born earlier in the spring. Dusky pademelons, also known as dusky wallabies, are small, hopping marsupials found in forests on the island of New Guinea, as well as some neighbouring islands.
Five endangered ring-tailed lemurs were also among the new arrivals Zoo, as well as one rare black lemur, the first to be born there.