The sunflower sea star is now critically endangered due to a mysterious illness called sea star wasting syndrome. But researchers have made a breakthrough for their recovery. Photo credit: Marco Mazza/Courtesy of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
A mysterious disease called sea star wasting syndrome decimated 95% of the sunflower sea star population in 2013. Since then scientists have been working to learn more about the disease and figure out ways to save the sunflower sea star from extinction.
For the first time, researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s reproductive sciences team, in collaboration with Sunflower Star Laboratory and Dr. Jason Hodin, senior scientist at Friday Harbor Laboratories were able to hatch dozens of baby sunflower sea stars using cryopreservation technology.
Cryopreservation is the process by which live tissues and cells are frozen in order to keep them for an extended amount of time. In this case, the researchers successfully froze sunflower sea star sperm, thawed it and fertilized eggs that developed into larvae.
According to Nicole Ravida, laboratory manager for San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, “Cryopreservation is one method reproductive scientists can contribute to the preservation of gene diversity in sunflower sea star populations.”
The researchers believe maintaining gene diversity is the best way for sea stars to adapt to future stressors.
Female cougar cub during an examination at Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife transported two cougar (or mountain lion) cubs to the Oakland Zoo for care after their mother was struck and killed by a car. Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital staff conducted thorough exams on the cubs, including virus testing, parasite treatment, and bloodwork testing. They also provided vital fluids as the cubs were underweight and dehydrated.
“Our team will be caring for the cubs daily to restore them to full health and for their overall animal wellbeing,” said Dr. Alex Herman, Oakland Zoo’s Vice President of Veterinary Services.
In the wild, cougar cubs stay with their mothers for two years to learn survival and hunting skills. Since these cubs are only 6-10 weeks old, they cannot be returned to the wild and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will find a suitable home for them in a few months.
An endangered Grevy’s zebra was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo credit: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo
A female baby zebra was born on August 21 at Lincoln Park Zoo. The foal, a Grevy’s zebra, was able to run just one hour after birth. She will be dependent on her mother, Adia, for the first seven months.
Grevy’s zebras are considered endangered by the IUCN. There are fewer than 2000 Grevy’s zebras in the wild, due to hunting and habitat loss.
Pictured with her mom, Adia, the newborn was able to run just one hour after birth. Photo credit: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo
Fern and Juniper are two orphaned brown bear cubs living at Woodland Park Zoo. Juniper was found wandering around alone at an air base in Anchorage, Alaska. Fern was rescued from Montana. At Woodland Park Zoo, they have become fast friends.
Ever heard of the dingiso or the tamandua or the gerenuk? Yes? You’ve actually heard of the dingiso?? Oh.
But for those of you who maybe don’t know about the Blainville’s beaked whale or the Artai argali or the black and rufous sengi (yes it’s both black AND rufous), it’s about time you did! In Even More Lesser Spotted Animals, Martin Brown shines the spotlight on some lesser known, but incredibly fascinating animals.
With fun, cartoony illustrations, Brown gives these animals personality and pizazz. His text is funny and engaging. You’ll discover some not-so-famous animals, pick up a few strange facts, and learn how to help some animals at risk for extinction — all while being wholly entertained.
Aimed at readers ages 7 years and older, this hilarious, informational picture book will be a hit for animal lovers and/or people who like jokes.
Author/Illustrator: Martin Brown Publisher: David Fickling Books / Scholastic Pub Date: July 30, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-338-34961-0
Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia is doubly pleased to announce the birth of two baby giraffes- born just one week apart!
The first calf has been named Zuberi, which means “strong” in Swahili. He was born in the exhibit around noon on August 8.
Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
According to zookeeper Pascale Benoit, “It was a smooth delivery and was followed by a number of giraffes in the herd getting up close to meet the new calf within moments of its arrival. They were a great support for experienced mother, Asmara, helping her to lick her new calf and encouraging him to stand.”
The second calf arrived on August 15 in the middle of the night. He has been named Kibo, which means “the highest”.
Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
“Both pairs of mother and calf are doing very well, and have integrated nicely back into
the herd,” Pascale said.