Baby boomers: Zoo’s everywhere bring new, rare animals into 2014

By, Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe

Okay, you caught me. Researching this blog post was just an excuse to look at cute pictures of baby animals for a few hours. But after a long work week, doesn’t everybody deserve a little distraction? And these animals certainly deserve the attention.

2014 will be a big year for these little guys, who are just getting their paws (or fins, or talons) wet in zoos around the world. In a time when animals are constantly disappearing, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate new life, and lend support to the organizations that make that life possible.

A December National Geographic story puts the extinction count at nearly 20,000, a number that will inevitably increase should the abnormal climate patterns persist. If you want to try to ameliorate some of the damage, please check out the amazing work being done by the World Wildlife Foundation. In the meantime, make some new friends:

 

1. Coquerel Sifaka Lemur Baby

Just a few miles away from my house, a pair of Sacramento Zoo lemurs birthed a beautiful 121-gram offspring on January 5th. It has a distinctive blend of white and auburn fur and legs so long it cannot walk on all fours, a problem which it solves by swinging from tree to tree (it can jump up to 20 feet horizontally!) There may be only 10,000 Sifaka’s left in the wild. They are native to Madagascar.

Lemur
Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of sacramentozoo.blogspot.com.

 

2. Black Ribbon Moray Eggs

January brought a scientific breakthrough for Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn in Austria, where a Moray eel egg hatched for the first time ever. There are nearly 200 species of Moray eel, but none had been successfully bred until now. These are in the larvae stage right now so they’re basically just sea blobs (not the most cuddly). But they’re already eating, and with the proper care they will surely grow to something magnificent. 

Eel
Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of cyberslug.us

3. Twin Polar Bears

Well, these two were technically born at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo in 2013, but they just opened their eyes which is a pretty big feat in itself. The twins’ eyes were closed for the first 33 days of life, during which 7-year-old polar bear mom was busy nursing them to health (they were born small, at 44g each). According to experts, polar bear cubs are one of the most likely animals to die in the first few weeks of life, so keep your fingers crossed for these cuties.

Polar bears

Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of Hellabrunn Zoo.

 

4. Abandoned Cougar Cubs

Huge round of applause for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who rescued a trio of orphaned three-week-old cougars from the woods and brought them to the Oregon Zoo. The blue-eyed babes arrived last January and are in the care of Oregon Zoo staff (they were dependent on their mother for food and would have died if left alone in the wild). Their eye-opening moments occurred shortly after their arrival.

 

Cougars

Native Foods Café uses this image courtesy of The Oregon Zoo.

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