Indianapolis Zoo Babies
presented by Community Health Network
Take a look back at our babies from years past:
Rockhopper penguin chick hatched on Dec. 23 at the Indianapolis
Zoo. The chick weighed 72.1 grams when it hatched and is growing
fast! Chicks are initially covered in down feathers, and by the
time they fledge, they will have gained their juvenile plumage.
The new Rockhopper chick is expected to be out with the rest of
the penguins in the Oceans biome starting next year and can be
identified by its hot pink band around its wing.
Budgie chicks have recently joined our flock in
It may seem strange that these birds are hatching in the fall as
opposed to the spring or summer but this is actually quite
common. Wild budgies breed during the Australian summer,
which is in October and November. Budgies lay between four and
eight eggs, which are white, in nests made in small holes in
trees. The females then incubate the eggs. After about 30 days
the chicks are ready to leave the nest. We are excited to
announce that the
chicks and the two first-time parents are doing quite well!
Experienced mother Taraja gave birth to female calf
Khatiti which means "tiny" in a Kenyan dialect. She was born
sometime between 5pm September 9 and 8am September 10. Khatiti went on exhibit for the first
time on September 19. Greater Kudus have a life expectancy of up
to 20 years and this little one will be a regular part of the
kudu herd in our Plains exhibit.
male lemur baby named Nuru was welcomed into the world on July
30. He was born to mother Tucker and father Sokkwi. Nuru is the fifth crowned lemur for the Zoo and for this family of
lemurs, which also includes a male named Akil born in 2011 and a
female named Kesi born in 2010. Baby lemurs will cling to their mothers' belly for several
weeks after they're born before eventually climbing around to
ride on their backs. Here, Nuru is midway between those stages
and is sitting near his mother's hind leg and hanging onto her
side. Although crowned lemurs are not
an exhibit species at the Zoo, there is an active breeding
program here that is an important part of the SSP, and the Indianapolis Zoo is the only facility to have
success breeding crowned lemurs within the past few years.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin
China, one of the original members of our dolphin pod, gave
birth to a male calf late in the evening on July 12. The baby
was named Orin after the Atlantean alter ego of DC Comics hero
Aquaman. Orin is the second calf successfully born to China, who
trainers estimate is in her early 30s. Her other calf, Indy, was
born in August 2001 and still lives at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Raising baby dolphins can be a challenge, but Orin's "aunties" —
the other female members of the pod — all help out. Dolphin
babies can nurse from their mothers for up to 18 months, so until
Orin develops a taste for fish (which are used by our trainers
to reinforce and teach the behaviors) he will stay on the
sidelines during our daily
Dolphin Adventure Shows. Until then, you
can get a closer look at Orin in this
Indianapolis Zoo recorded another record-setting birth when Nyah
was born at 11:48pm on June 28. The female calf was the third
for 30-year-old mother Ivory and sixth elephant born at the Zoo.
All the Zoo's elephant births have been the result of
artificial insemination (AI) with a
technique pioneered here. Nyah, whose name means "purpose" in
Swahili, weighed 244 pounds at birth. Keepers said Ivory's 22-month
pregnancy was capped by a brief labor, and within minutes of
delivery, baby Nyah was up on her feet and curiously feeling
around with her trunk. The public was introduced to Nyah with
video of her receiving a bath, and more than 3,500
people voted to name the new baby during a week-long poll on the
Facebook page. Ivory, who first came to the
Zoo in 1984, is only the second African elephant in the world to
have successfully given birth three times as a result of AI.
Kubwa, another female elephant at the Zoo, was the first. The
accomplishments of the Zoo's elephant family were featured on
In the cases of many of the smaller species at the
Indianapolis Zoo, the births are too numerous to count.
Nonetheless, we are still very pleased that our breeding efforts
help play a vital role in the conservation and longevity of
these species. For the first time in 2012, the Zoo had two adult
moon jellies on exhibit that came from successful breeding here.
amazing video gives an up-close look at how moon
jellies are born and raised at the Zoo.
A Rockhopper penguin chick hatched on December 3 to
a mother that was also born at the Indianapolis Zoo in 2000.
This second-generation chick weighed just 66 grams when it
hatched and it started gaining weight right away. Later that
month, a male Gentoo penguin hatched on December 28. Both chicks
are doing very well and expect to be out with the rest of the
penguins in the Oceans area starting next year.
The kudu herd welcomed two newcomers in the fall with the birthes of
two male calves named Amiri and Bomani, which
is Swahili for "prince" and "warrior," respectively. Amiri was
born to five-time mother Taraja. Bomani weighed 32 pounds at
It’s a girl! At a svelte 238 pounds, baby
Kalina is another history-maker. She is the third calf for
mother Kubwa, making history once again as the first African
elephant in the world to conceive and give birth successfully
via artificial insemination three times. The baby hit the ground
running at 5:34am on July 20, and immediately began showing a
sparkling personality and lively attitude! She quickly developed
a fondness for rolling in mud puddles (as you can see from the
photo) and enjoys playing with her toys. Kalina is very
personable and curious, and her playful nature makes her a
favorite of the media. Watch this
adorable video captured by CBS News.
On June 25, a female Addra gazelle named Anuli
was born to mother Akilah and father Jack. The new baby was
quickly showing off her spry spirit on exhibit. Addra gazelles
are listed as critically endangered on the International Union
for Conservation of Nature
Red List, so this birth is a significant
step in the
SSP and victory for the species as a whole.
Females give birth to a single fawn at a time following a
pregnancy that lasts roughly six-and-a-half months.
A male calf was born on April 4, to mother Takasa. Weighing in at about 160 pounds and
standing 6 feet tall, he is her fifth calf — all boys. He earned
the name Jasiri, which translates to "bold" or "daring" in Swahili,
when on his first day on exhibit in the giraffe yard, he ran out
into the pond — something giraffes rarely do. Keepers and guests
alike quickly began to see his outgoing personality developing,
one one visitor captured this
adorable video of Jasiri taking a romp around the giraffe
yard one sunny afternoon.
Twin ringtail lemur babies were born to mom Sona on March 12, and a
single baby lemur was born to mom Bree on March 24. Male
Ring-tailed lemur Killian was born on April 15 to mother Keeley.
Another Ring-tailed lemur, Sorcha gave birth to female Rowan on
May 22. Crowned lemur mother Tucker and father Sokkwi welcomed a male
baby named Akil into the world on May 25. Ringtail
lemur babies weigh only a few ounces when they're born and grow
to weigh about 4 to 5 pounds in adulthood. Ringtail lemurs are
listed as a
near-threatened species part of the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums’
Plan, a program in accredited facilities to insure
maximum genetic viability in the captive population
of endangered species. The Indianapolis Zoo is heavily involved
in ringtail lemur research and in past years through the present
has been very successful in breeding these endangered animals.
A Guinea baboon was born on February 16 to mom
Rachel. He was given the name Rubani Romeo because his arrival
came just two days after Valentine's Day. Like all baby baboons,
Romeo is extraordinarily active and he likes to play with the
other young members of the baboon troop.
Five smooth dogfish sharks — two males and three females —
were born in early May and are the first five of their species
to be born, raised and put on exhibit in human care — anywhere!
Mating has rarely been
observed in sharks so knowing that we have five new pups is very
exciting! Shark pups are either protected by egg cases or born
live. No shark species are known to provide post-natal parental
protection for their young, but females have a hormone that is
released into their blood during the pupping season that
apparently keeps them from feeding on their young.
should be named Year of the Lemurs! We had nine lemurs born
throughout the year, seven Ringtailed and two Crowned. February
22 brought about Ringtailed lemur Keeley's daughter Kellan. Sona
gave birth to twins, male Sloan and female Sheridon, on February
27. March 2, is the birthday for Meara's daughter Neave. Mom
Sorcha gave birth to male Kearney on March 10. Sorcha rejected
Kearney so Keeley, mother of infant Kellan, took Kearney in as
her own and both babies flourished. About a month later, on
April 11, Ardan was born to mother Aislinn. On August 13, Sorcha
gave birth to another baby. This time she successfully raised
daughter Riona. Don't forget the Crowned lemurs! Twin brother
and sister Mosi and Kesi were born on June 1 to Crowned lemur
A male Gentoo penguin hatched January 12.
Gentoo penguins are ground
nesting birds, making rudimentary nests from stones, sticks,
grass, feathers, or practically any material that they can find
suitable for the purpose. Egg-laying is usually completed by
late October, with two equally sized eggs of about 130g being
laid. Incubation takes about 34 days, with both parents sharing
incubation duties, and nest changes occurring every one to three
days. We welcome this little bundle of joy to our family and you
can come see him in Oceans!
A male Addra gazelle Niko was born on July 9 to mother Akilah.
Females typically give birth to
single offspring. Mothers will hide their young for several
weeks, coming to them to nurse. Offspring are weaned at about
four or five months of age.
A male and a female Greater Kudu joined our herd this year.
Male Biton was born on July 17 to mother Taraja and female Teshi
was born less than a week later on July 22 to mother Thandiwe.
Thandiwe was Taraja's first calf, thus making Taraja a new
grandmother. Congratulations Grandma Taraja!
Juani, a 6-foot-tall, 156-pound giraffe, was welcomed into
the world on Aug. 15 to mom Takasa and dad Eddie. Takasa and
Eddie have previously had three other calves together. Eddie
fathered a second calf, this time with Takasa's mother, Elena,
just a few months later. This second male, weighing 170 pounds
and standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall, was born on Dec. 30.
According to his keepers, he is one of the largest and most
precocious giraffe calves born at the Zoo in recent years, which
perhaps relates to the meaning of his name, Ezaji. In Nigeria
and Ghana, the yam is sacred – the king of crops – and it’s an
honor to be named after this valued vegetable, as in “Eza” for
King and “ji” for yam. The average gestation period for giraffes
is 15 months.
Greater kudu Taraja gave birth to son Kanene on July 13.
Kanene is Taraja's third calf in just as many years. The
mating season for Greater Kudus occurs at the end of the rainy
season, which in our case is April through June. Before mating,
there is a courtship ritual which consists of the males neck
wrestling with the females and then issuing a low pitched call.
After mating, gestation takes around 240 days (or eight months).
Calving generally starts when the grass tends to be at its
Male Asian small-clawed otters Phraay and Danh tu were born
on September 5 to mother Lizzie.
These otters are monogamous,
male and female mate for life, and is one of the few otter
species that is social and not solitary in its habits. The
females gestation period last about 60-64 days and they can have
anywhere for 1-2 litters a year. Both parents stay together
after breeding and help raise the litter of up to six pups that
are born helpless. Pups don't start swimming for about 9 weeks
and don't take in solid food for about 80 days after birth.
Learn more about
Male Addra gazelle
Kimane was born on February 26 to mother Akilah.
Addra gazelles are critically
endangered. Poaching and overhunting, for horns and meat, have
driven the species nearly to extinction. Habitat destruction
brought on by natural desertification and overgrazing of
domestic livestock also poses a major threat to them. This is
why we are so blessed to have Kimane and mother Akilah as a part
of our herd. Learn more about the
Species Survival Plan.
A female Rockhopper penguin hatched on December 17. Breeding
for these penguins begins in early October when males arrive at
the breeding site a few days before females. Breeding takes
place as soon as the females arrive and two eggs are laid 4-5
days apart in early November. Incubation lasts about 33 days.
The eggs are incubated by the parents as a pair for the first 10
days, and then males leave to feed while the female incubates
during takes second shift. The male returns to take on the third
shift and he generally
remains for the duration of incubation and afterward to brood
the chicks while the female leaves to forage and returns to feed
the chicks. To learn about our efforts to breed Rockhopper
penguins, go to our
Two male Guinea baboons were born into our care this year.
Bunzi was born on Setptember 19 to mother Losai and Rafiki was
born on November 3 to Rachel. Female baboons have a strict
rank order in the troop and the ranking determines social
relationships. Daughters inherit their mother’s social rank.
Since both Bunzi and Losai are males, it will be
interesting to see where they end up in the social hierarchy of
their baboon troop.