During January three southern gerenuks were born. All three calves are spending some time in the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo hoofstock yard. Native to Ethiopia, Somalia, and Northern Kenya, these elegant creatures are also known as giraffe gazelle—“gerenuk” is their Somali name. Although they look delicate, they survive in tough, dry habitat and can quickly scamper out of harm's way on their long legs. The young, generally born one at a time, are hidden in the bush at first and later attentively follow their mothers. Their soft, sandy-brown coat allows them to blend into the desert background, affording them protection in an excellent example of cryptic coloration. The L.A. Zoo has housed this species since September 1977. Since then, 230 have been born here and many have made homes at zoos around the world.
The other hoofed arrival was a female pudu was born on January 12. She is currently being cared by her mother in a behind-the-scenes area.
An ocelot was born on January 14. Mother Maya and her kitten are currently bonding behind the scenes and doing well. They should be out in their habitat at the beginning of April after completing a series of vaccinations. According to Animal Keeper Stephanie Zielinkski, “Maya is much more relaxed this time around. She had her paws full with the twins she gave birth to last time!”
Lowland gorilla Angela has been basking in the spotlight, but the day before her birth on January 18, a male Coquerel’s sifaka was born. Mother Leopolda and her baby are currently doing well and should be out for public viewing in their habitat at the beginning of this month. Sifakas are a particular species of lemur. The endangered Coquerel’s sifaka can be found in the tropical dry lowland forest of northern Madagascar. Sifakas are exceptional clingers and leapers—they crouch with their long tails curled behind them, then use their powerful legs to launch themselves up to 30 feet from branch to branch. Because of our compatible climate, year-round browse availability, and staff expertise, L.A. Zoo was the first North American zoo to be loaned a breeding pair by the Duke Lemur Center (DLC) in North Carolina (the largest group of lemurs in human care), and we have done extremely well with them.
The Zoo held its winter member bird walk on February 15. This walk coincides with the Great Back Yard Bird Count organized every Presidents’ Day weekend by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Birds Canada. This is one of the biggest community science events of the year with bird watchers across the continent counting local birds and sharing the data with conservation scientists. Eight docents with six members of the provisional docent class following along led a total of 32 members. A total of 34 species were identified: band-tailed pigeon, mourning dove, white-throated swift, Anna's hummingbird, Allen's hummingbird, Cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, acorn woodpecker, Nutall's woodpecker, northern flicker, yellow-chevroned parakeet (heard but not seen), black phoebe, Cassin's kingbird, California scrub jay, common raven, American crow, bushtit, ruby-crowned kinglet, Bewick's wren, European starling, northern mockingbird, scaly-breasted munia (nutmeg mannikin), house sparrow, house finch, lesser goldfinch, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrow, song sparrow, California towhee, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, Brewer's blackbird, orange-crowned warbler, and yellow-rumped warbler.
Brewer's blackbird Photo by Mike Elliott
black phoebe Photo by Matt Carey
house finch Photo by Matt Carey
mocking bird Photo by Mike Elliott
mocking bird Photo by Mike Elliott
Northern flicker Photo by Tad Motoyama
scrub jay Photo by Mike Elliott
song sparrow Photo by Tad Motoyama