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.
Our greater kudu herd has recently expanded! A female calf named Shani was born on July 29 to first-time dad Baraki and experienced mom Taraja. Shani, who was named for a Swahili word meaning "marvelous", weighed about 30 pounds at birth.
Greater kudus are native to eastern and southern Africa. These woodland antelopes can weigh up to 600 pounds, however females, like Shani, are noticeably smaller than males. Their tan coats marked with thin, white stripes offer great camouflage on the arid African savannas.
In the wild, female kudus will form groups of mothers and calves. Moms will give birth in areas of tall grass that provide the babies with protection from predators, which is especially important during the first few weeks. During that time, kudu mothers spend most of their time grazing and only tend to the calves for short periods to nurse. When the calf is a little older, mom returns and the two spend the next several months together bonding.
Visit Shani and the rest of our kudu herd in our Plains area.
We're tickled pink over our newest additions to Flights of Fancy. On June 26, 2015, at only 94.5 grams, a little male chick pecked its way into the world — the very first Caribbean flamingo hatched from an egg laid at the Indianapolis Zoo! A second flamingo chick hatched on Aug. 19. Both chicks are healthy and growing every day.
These bright pink birds are native to the Caribbean and Galapagos regions and get their color from eating shrimp. But don't worry, when our feathered flamboyance (yes, that's what a group of flamingos is called) makes room for one more this fall, you'll still be able to tell the chick apart from the rest. Born with white-gray plumage, the chick 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 this beautiful new Zoo baby! Plus, you might even see our chicks from last year now participating in our Flamingo Mingle, offered seasonally as one of our many animal keeper chats.
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