At the Indianapolis Zoo, we have very different ideas about what makes a baby adorable. For example, if a human baby had bristles, tusks, webbed feet or a dorsal fin, there would be cause for alarm. But at the Zoo, we're fortunate enough to welcome to the world baby animals of many species. Our animal breeding efforts are a key part of our animal conservation mission as they help to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied animal population. Take a closer look at some of the adorable and amazing babies born at the Zoo within the last 12 months. Thanks to our friends Hendricks Regional Health for presenting our Zoo Babies.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin
Our Atlantic bottlenose dolphin pod welcomed its newest arrival this spring with the birth of a healthy baby girl. Born to mother Kalei (kuh-LAY) and father Kimo (kEE-mo), our Marine Mammal team named her Calypso to match the consonant sounds of her parents' names. The new calf is also the granddaughter of Nova, who is the matriarch of our dolphin pod.
Dolphin calves are very fragile within the first few weeks of life, but both mom and calf are doing well. When she was born on April 24, Calypso weighed 39 pounds and she grew to more than 70 pounds by week six. Kalei is an attentive and relaxed mother, and the calf began nursing well right away. Additionally, our Marine Mammal team monitored mom and baby 24/7 for the first 30 days and our vet staff conducted important medical checks and daily monitoring.
Kalei and Calypso will remain in a private area of the Dolphin Pavilion for the first few months to allow them some quiet time to bond. However, you can still see the other members of our dolphin pod in the underwater viewing dome.
Calypso and the other members of our dolphin pod are ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. The daily dolphin presentations shed light on the health of the waters where dolphins live in the wild and what we can do to help make their world a healthier place.
What's orange, striped and cute all over? A tiger cub! Since she was born at
6:48pm on July 10, 2014, Zoya has captured the hearts and interests of thousands of
people across Central Indiana. Nearly 7,000 votes poured in from fans across
North America during a two-week Facebook poll to name the cub. This feisty little cub is growing healthy and strong. She weighed just 6.2 pounds at her first weigh-in on July 26, but by Sept. 24, she had already grown to 22.7 pounds. By the time she went outside for the first time in November, keepers estimated she weighed about 45 pounds. According to keepers, Zoya is very playful toward Andrea, who has proven to be a nurturing first-time mother. The name Zoya means
“life” and is a variation of Zoe that’s popular in Russia and the Ukraine where
these big cats originate.
One of six surviving tiger sub-species, Amur tiger populations
once numbered in the tens of thousands. Now, less than 500 of these endangered
tigers are estimated to live in the wild. Living in the Tiger Forest at the Indianapolis Zoo, Zoya will be
an ambassador for her species, highlighting the need for continued conservation
Our pink feathered flamboyance has a few new additions! On July 9, 2014, we welcomed the first Caribbean flamingo chick ever hatched at the Indianapolis Zoo, and the second and third followed just days later.
These bright pink birds are native to the Caribbean and Galapagos regions and get their color from eating shrimp. You'll definitely be able to tell the chicks apart from the rest of the group — born with white-gray plumage they won't be fully pink until 9 months old, and will reach full plumage by age 4. Make sure to check out the flamingo exhibit in Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds to see these beautiful new Zoo babies! Soon, you might even see them participating in our Flamingo Mingle, offered seasonally as one of our many animal keeper chats.
Four adorable warthog piglets have
joined our Plains family! Born on May 1, 2014, the two male and two female piglets
weighed about 4 pounds at 10 days old and continue to grow at a steady, healthy
pace. The piglets are extremely active and like to run around in their yard. As they grow, they will acquire two pairs of tusks from their upper and
lower canine teeth.
Warthogs get their name because of these wart-like lumps on
top of their head that serve as protection as well as an excellent mechanism
for digging! These intriguing mammals enjoy activities such as rooting in the
dirt or grazing on hay while kneeling on their front wrist pads. If you see
them dashing to a den or burrow with their tails held straight in the air, this
means they feel threatened. Even though warthogs may seem ferocious they would
rather skedaddle than engage in any sort of fight!