Very soon you’ll be able to visit us again (how exciting!) and when you arrive you may notice some of our animal families have expanded (in some cases just a little, and in other cases, a LOT)! Our keepers maintain a watchful eye over all of our newborns, making sure they are settling in well and learning from their parents. Many of our youngest animals – whether they are hatchlings, chicks or babies – will go on to support international breeding programmes and genetically viable zoo populations (which has in some instances seen some critically endangered species reintroduced to the wild), and many native species are part of breed-for-release programmes – so you can see the cause for excitement.
1. One species that has experienced a bumper breeding season are our squirrel monkeys! The arrivals of Jimini and Nino from France last year has led to SEVEN baby monkeys – all born within 3 weeks of each other. Just starting to become aware of the world around them, the oldest of the bunch has been leaving the safe, warm, furry back of mum, and trying to do some climbing of their own.
Watch below to see the chaos of a recent feed, and make sure you listen out for the vocalisations the adults are making to communicate!
2. We love exciting firsts – especially when they involve emperor tamarin babies! Still unnamed, this charming face is the first emperor tamarin to ever be born at Auckland Zoo. Known for their wonderfully long white moustaches, at two months this wee fella, or perhaps young lady (yet to be determined!) has started sprouting a few white moustache-like hairs of their own, just like their parents. Interesting fact – as soon as baby is born, dad steps in immediately to help wash and hold the baby.
3. An important part of our job at Auckland Zoo is to help connect you with wildlife. We believe that for people to make vital changes in their lives that result in positive changes for global issues like climate change and habitat degradation, people have to be connected, engaged, and motivated to make that difference. Animal Experiences keeper Shannon has ensured that some special guinea fowl chicks here at the zoo are directly fulfilling that purpose – making them an ambassador for change! From the moment they hatched, Shannon helped them to gain confidence to walk around the zoo and engage with our visitors.
Read our interview with Shannon and watch the whole process – from egg, to chick, to fully fledged guinea fowl below.
4. Fanimals presenter, and huge animal fan Jess, came to Auckland Zoo last year to meet a whole variety of our fresh-faced young! Zebra foal Eve amazed Jess with her playful relationship with young giraffe Kabili. We also meet some newly-hatched wētāpunga, which are contributing to bringing their population back from the brink, and last, but especially not least, there were playful otter pups! This is a Fanimals episode not to be missed.
5. Did you know wallaby females are pregnant for only 30-days before they give birth to a very small, perfectly-formed joey that weighs less than 1 gram and is about the size of a bean?! If you’ve ever been curious as to what a baby joey looks like in mum’s pouch, then this video is for you!
Here carnivore keeper Andy is checking on the wallaby’s progression with regular pouch checks. At around six-months the joeys generally start curiously start poking their head out of their pouches, and gradually start exploring their new world. Fascinating!
6. The beautiful, yet critically endangered red panda has a declining population largely due to deforestation and illegal hunting, which is why it’s so exciting to be able to welcome new cubs! Proud parents Khela and Ramesh have given birth twice, and both times it was a wonderful Christmas gift! Red panda only breed once per year, so each birth is truly special!
View photos of beautiful cub Dalha here, before she could even open her eyes. We can’t wait for you to see her progress in person when you return to the zoo!
7. We love to use our Zoo-skills to assist New Zealand’s native species, and even under lockdown, this was no different! Last week 10 precious kākāriki karaka (orange-fronted parakeet) took an essential flight from Auckland to Christchurch to be released into the wild.
All ranging between 4-6 months of age, these fledglings were hatched and raised at Auckland Zoo, as part of a breed-for-release programme with our conservation partners the Department of Conservation and Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust. Read more.
8. Finally, you may remember the story of a resilient whio duckling born at Auckland Zoo, who had no brothers and sisters of their own, instead making fast friends with one of our pāteke ducklings! We are lucky to be involved in a whio breed-for-release programme, contributing our rearing skills to help build wild population numbers for one of Aotearoa’s most endangered native duck species.
This friendship forged between the two New Zealand native ducks was not only incredibly rare and special, but by helping each other out, both have since gone on to become wild ducks, with one special story! Read more.
9. It began with love at first sight for cape porcupines Alika and Bruce. They formed an early bond, digging themselves a little love nest, and the rest was history. Early 2020 we were lucky enough to welcome twin porcupettes (baby porcupine), and back in February they had their first health check! It was reported back that they were doing really well, dabbling in solid foods and getting a lot of nutritional requirements from Alika’s milk. Ever wondered what baby quills look like, or how you would complete a health check up – find out everything here.