New at the Zoo

Educational Adventures: Stretching to Connect Giraffes and People
July 6, 2018

This female calf is the 35th Masai giraffe born at the L.A. Zoo. Photo by Lori Conley

Recent mammal births include a female Masai giraffe (the 35th for the L.A. Zoo) who is being raised by her mother with the herd on exhibit, a red-flanked duiker who needs a little more time off-exhibit with mom, three bighorn sheep, and four Tadjik markhor.


Desert bighorn sheep are a subspecies native to the deserts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Photo by Danila Cremona

Wild species of sheep and goats are often much more difficult to tell apart than are their domestic cousins. Because humans have been selectively breeding these animals for thousands of years (goats were domesticated about 10,000 years ago; only dogs have been living with humans longer) to serve different purposes, it’s easy to tell the Shetland sheep from the Nigerian dwarf goats at Muriel’s Ranch. Goats have been raised mainly for milk and meat. Sheep are also raised for those purposes, but they are more highly valued for their wool.


Markhors are wild goats native to the mountains of Central Asia. Photo by Jamie Pham


The nine new ambassador flamingo chicks spend time together in a behind-the-scenes pool. Photo by Rose Legato

A total of nine greater flamingo chicks have hatched this season, all destined to be part of the ambassador flock that meets and greets guests during the Flamingo Mingle. They will all be hand reared by animal care staff so that they are accustomed to being with people. Three white rock doves hatched recently and will become part of the flock that concludes the World of Birds Show. A Cape thick-knee (also known as spotted thick-knee) chick hatched at the beginning of May and is being raised by the parents in the exhibit they share with the weaver birds.


Cape thick-knees are also known as spotted thick-knees, and they also lay spotted eggs. Photo by Tad Motoyama


The Cape thick-knee chick is growing rapidly. Photo by Tad Motoyama

A female Von der Decken’s hornbill that arrived on May 5 has joined the male in the duiker roundhouse near the gerenuk exhibit. A food exchange between them took place within the first 20 minutes—a good sign as this is a breeding recommendation. A male black-collared starling has been released into the Australasia aviary to join the female who came to the Zoo as part of the May 2017 USFWS confiscation. The pair is already building a nest. The sixth and final California condor chick for the season hatched on May 29. This year there was a total of 10 eggs for the season.


The male Von der Decken’s hornbill has a larger and more colorful bill than the female. Photo by Lori Conley


As soon as the female Von der Decken’s hornbill arrived, she and the male exchanged food—a good sign that they may one day produce offspring. Photo by Lori Conley


Male and female black-collared starlings are very similar in appearance. Photo by Tad Motoyama

The tamanduas (South American anteaters) have been released from quarantine and can now be seen in nursery window #6, sharing the space with a red-rumped agouti.

A Merten’s water monitor arrived from Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas at the beginning of May and will eventually move into the Australasian Aquarium/Terrarium at the LAIR. These beautiful lizards dive off trees and actively hunt for fish underwater.


The Merten’s water monitor is listed as Vulnerable in Australia mainly due to the invasion of its habitat by the non-native cane toad. Photo by Ian Recchio


Hello, world! Baby rough-scaled pythons Photo by Ian Recchio

Rough-scaled pythons are one of the world’s rarest snakes, so the recent hatching of eight babies is reason to celebrate. The origin of its name lies in its keeled scales, which are common in vipers such as rattlesnakes, but unusual among constrictors. Due to its tiny range and reclusive habits, very little is known about these nocturnal snakes. Adults can be seen in the damp forest section of the LAIR.