Baby Francois Langur Monkey Arrives at Sydney Zoo

Baby Francois langur

Elke, a baby Francois Langur monkey, was born last Thursday at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.  Her mother, Saigon, has not accepted the baby, so Elke will be hand-raised by keepers to insure her survival.

Francois Langurs are endangered in their native Asian habitat due to habitat loss and hunting.

For more information: Taronga Zoo

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Rare Clouded Leopard Cubs Born

Clouded leopard cubAgainst all odds, two clouded leopard cubs were born at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Virginia.

In captivity, these endangered leopards usually give in to murderous tendencies during the breeding process. Either the male will kill the female when placed together to mate, or if mating is successful, the mother leopard will kill her cubs accidentally or intentionally.

But yesterday, caretakers discovered the two cubs with Jao Chu, the mother leopard. The babies will be hand raised by zookeepers to guarantee their safety and survival.

In the wild, clouded leopards are native to southeast Asia. Their population has dwindled due to hunting for their pelts.

For more information, see: Washington Post

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Endangered Sea Turtle Threatened by Port Construction

Photo: Dr. Bivash Pandav

Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, located on the coast of Orissa, India, is the largest of only three nesting areas for Olive Ridley sea turtles, which are considered endangered by the IUCN.  In fact, the mass nesting (or arribadas) include 200,000 – 500,000 female turtles coming on to the shore. [Watch a video of hatchlings traveling back to sea]

Now, in addition to the dangers of netting and trawlers, these endangered animals could be confronted with another threat to their survival. Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro are scheduled to build a major sea port just north of the sanctuary at the mouth of the Dharma River. If the construction takes place, then dredging, increased shipping traffic, artificial lights, oil spills, and other pollutants would be brought to the area causing a disruption to ecological balance of the area’s waters.

To learn more and get involved, see:
The Wild Foundation’s Olive Ridley Turtle Page
The Wild Foundation’s Olive Ridley Turtle Blog Update

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Endangered Tortoises Hatched at Tennessee Zoo

Endangered Burmese star tortoise hatchlingFive Burmese star tortoises hatched two months ago at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.  They are due to be displayed this spring.

Burmese star tortoises are classified as critically endangered, nearing extinction in the wild due to deforestation and poaching.

The zoo worked in conjunction with the Turtle Survival Alliance to develop successful incubation periods for the tortoises. As one of only four AZA zoos to hatch these endangered tortoises, the Knoxville Zoo will share their successful incubation techniques with other AZA organizations in order to propogate the species.

For more info:
Knoxville Zoo

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Another Western Lowland Gorilla Born

While zookeepers in San Francisco were training a surrogate mother for the abandoned western lowland gorilla born there last month, another baby gorilla was born at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.  The newborn arrived in full view of spectators and a zookeeper last weekend.

In the wild, western lowland gorillas inhabit West and Central Africa where they are critically endangered.

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Rare Tree Kangaroo Twins Born at Nebraska Zoo

Milla, Matschie's tree kangaroo with twinsTwo Matschie’s tree kangaroos were born at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska in December 2008. Pictured here is mother Milla with the babies in her pouch. Zoo officials expect to see the twins’ heads poking out of the pouch in May 2009.

The pair of twins was a welcome surprise as Matschie’s (or Huon) tree kangaroos are endangered. In the wild, they inhabit high elevations of the island of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

For more information, see:
AP’s “Rare tree kangaroo species has twins at Neb. zoo”

Lincoln Children’s Zoo – Matschie’s tree kangaroo

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Gorilla Families Survive in Congo War Zone

Mountain gorilla

In August of 2007, rebels had taken over Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the few habitats of the extremely endangered mountain gorilla. In turn, most of the rangers and staff fled the rebel-occupied area.

Last Tuesday, a group of reporters, rangers, and scientists returned to the area for the first time in 15 months. What they discovered was uplifting: a family of mountain gorillas contently consuming bamboo stalks.

Ironically, the rebel hold of the area actually benefited the gorillas as it shifted the area of fighting away from the gorilla habitat. According to Benjamin Nsana, a park guide who elected to stay behind when the rebels took control, the area was safe for gorillas because the rebels guarded the perimeters so carefully. In fact, 6 babies were born since last year.

Mountain gorilla and baby gorilla

For more information about the rangers’, scientists’, and reporters’ recent trip to Virunga National Park, see the AP’s “Congo gorillas survive in rebel-held forest.”

Mountain gorillas are extremely endangered with only 700 living in the wild. For more information about mountain gorillas, read Animal Fact Guide’s article: Mountain Gorilla.

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