Zoo Babies presented by Hendricks Regional Health

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Cubs, pups, calves, chicks — no matter what they're called, b​aby animals are adorable! ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​At the Indianapolis Zoo, 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. Learn more about the babies born recently at the Zoo. Thanks to our friends Hendricks Regional Health​ for presenting our Zoo Babies.

Addra Gazelle

On Sept. 29, ​2017, the Zoo welcomed baby Carina into the world. Carina is a rare addra gazelle, a species that is critically endangered. The Zoo’s animal care staff noticed that Carina was not receiving any maternal care from her rst-time mom. Staff stepped in to hand-rear Carina to ensure the calf would thrive – in the photo, you can see one of our staff members Laura taking care of our calf. Carina was bottle-fed several times a day and received all the care she would have gotten from her mom. 

While addra claves are mostly brown when they're born, the color fades to white as the grow. Carina is still noticeably smaller than the adults in her herd, but she's starting to show the adult coloring and her horns are also growing in. She's energetic and playful, and has started venturing outside with the rest of the addra herd. We are excited to report that she is doing great. To catch a glimpse of the young gazelle, visit Plains as the​ temperatures warm up this spring and summer. ​

Greater Kudu

Our greater kudu herd has recently expanded! A male calf, Hasani, was born on Sept. 28, 2017, to mother JoJo and father Bakari. An experienced mom, JoJo is caring and attentive to her calf. The herd has been going outside together on nice days and the youngster has enjoye d exploring his new surroundings.  

Greater kudus are native to eastern and southern Africa. These woodland antelopes can weigh up to 600 pounds, however females are noticeably smaller than males. Their tan coats marked with thin, white stripes offer great camouflage on the arid African savannas. [more ...]

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. [close]


We have some tiny new arrivals in our Deserts Dome! Five chuckwalla babies hatched in the Dome in mid-September. At birth, they weighed less than 10g each and easily fit into the palm of a keeper's hand. Right now, they look very different than our adults, with zebra-striped tails and bright orange bands on their backs that will fade as they grow, slowly changing to the gray and brown tones that are characteristic of adults.

Native to the western United States and into northwestern Mexico, these reptiles like to live in desert regions around lots of rocks that provide basking spots as well as shelter and protection. Females lay 5-10 eggs in a clutch, hidden in rocky crevices. While they will protect the eggs until they hatch, the juveniles are left to fend for themselves after hatching.

Cownose Rays​

Three cownose ray babies were born June 30, July 23 and July 31 in our Oceans area. The babies, all of which we believe are female, are already exploring their new home. It's easiest to spot the newcomers when they're next to the adults because they are so much smaller, and they'll still remain that way for a while.

Found from New England all the way down to South America, cownose rays can swim in schools of up to 10,000 in the wild, migrating up and down the coast while they hunt for fish along the ocean floor. Also known as cowfish, it's easy to see how these rays get their names because their foreheads look like a cow's nose. [more...]

Although the babies start out in eggs, they hatch out while still inside the mother, and she gives birth to a live pup following nearly a year-long pregnancy. The babies are born tail-first with their wings folded over their bodies almost like a taco shell. Newborn rays are independent from the start, and our babies are already munching on fish just like the adults.

Although U.S. populations of cownose rays are stable, the species is near threatened in South America, which makes the births here all the more exciting! [close]

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Our ring-tailed lemur troop just grew — by two! Mom Bree gave birth to twin boys on April 2, 2017. We continued the Celtic/Gaelic tradition when choosing names. The red-haired baby is named Rooney, which literally means “red-haired.” He also has beautiful orange eyes. The grey-haired, yellow-eyed baby is named Quigley, which means “the maternal side.”​ Quigley's name is pretty fitting since he is most often seen riding on Bree's back and is also a bit more shy and hesitant to go off on his own. An experienced mom, Bree takes a relaxed but attentive approach to her newborns. Guests might see these adorable new arrivals holding tight to mom's fur or exploring on their own.

The Zoo's troop of seven lemurs, including dad Finnegan, is adjusting well and welcoming the new babies. [more ...]

Native to the island of Madagascar, these endangered animals live in large, highly social groups led by a dominant female. Following a pregnancy that lasts around 20 weeks, females typically give birth to a single infant, though twins will happen occasionally.

Although males often leave the troop once they reach maturity, females typically remain in the same family group throughout their lifetime. In fact, Teagan, Bree's daughter born in 2013, is still part of the Zoo's troop and is regularly grooming Bree and her new babies.


Sumatran Orangutan

The Indianapolis Zoo's first orangutan baby is here and her name is Mila, which is pronounced MEE-lah and means "dear one." Sirih, our 23-year-old Sumatran orangutan gave birth to Mila at 5:07pm on March 23, 2016. ​

At 1-year-old, Mila is an active youngster and can be seen climbing and exploring throughout the Atrium under the watchful eye of Sirih and "aunties" Knobi and Nicky. So far she isn't picky when it comes to her diet. Always sneaking the biggest piece of food she can get away from mom, Mila especially loves her fruit.

Orangutan mothers spend seven to 10 years actively bringing up a baby. Sirih will model what life as an orangutan looks like for her daughter, as the youngster learns to climb, build nests and interact with surroundings including the other apes, Keepers and Zoo visitors. [more...]

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild with only about 6,500 left. Orangutans are found in the wild only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, and these critically endangered great apes continue to face increasing threats, primarily habitat loss due to agricultural development for crops like palm oil. Mila is an ambassador for her species, and will engage and empower visitors to play a role in conservation efforts.  

Sirih and first-time father, 14-year-old Basan, were recommended as a breeding pair through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, a program ensuring a sustainable, genetically diverse and demographically varied AZA population. [close]​​