Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

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Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

Spring is the perfect time of year to take a trip to the zoo, and it has nothing to do with the weather. Between March and June, zoos all over the continent will be debuting baby animals to the public for the first time. Besides giraffes and elephants, rare and endangered species like Bornean orangutans, African cheetahs, and Malayan tapirs will be coming out to play. So forget that African safari-stay closer to home and still get a peak at how animals on the Savanna deal with rambunctious youngsters. Here are our picks for the 10 cutest new arrivals in North America.
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Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

Spring is the perfect time of year to take a trip to the zoo, and it has nothing to do with the weather. Between March and June, zoos all over the continent will be debuting baby animals to the public for the first time. Besides giraffes and elephants, rare and endangered species like Bornean orangutans, African cheetahs, and Malayan tapirs will be coming out to play. So forget that African safari-stay closer to home and still get a peak at how animals on the Savanna deal with rambunctious youngsters. Here are our picks for the 10 cutest new arrivals in North America.

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

It's been a busy season at this Wildlife Conservation Society park, where you can see tots of all sizes-from sea lions to big cats-this spring and summer. Now on exhibit in the Congo Gorilla Forest area is a colorful and chatty baby Wolf's Guenon monkey that was born in December 2009 to parents Jordan and Gigi. Also be sure to check out the colony of teeny Kihansi Spray Toads that debuted in February. The reptile was almost made extinct when a recent dam was built in Tanzania, but thankfully, the colony that moved to the zoo is thriving. You may need to bring a magnifying glass-the newborn toads are smaller than the head of a Q-tip.
www.bronxzoo.com

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

At 2 a.m. on Valentine's Day, the San Diego Zoo's 13-member African elephant herd announced the arrival of a newborn male calf with triumphant trumpeting that could be heard all around the park. The baby elephant isn't the only new addition: A baby Malayan tapir named Tembikai is also a part of the family at the San Diego Zoo. The adorable snouted mammal, whose name means watermelon in Malay, weighed 13 pounds at birth. Mom and baby will finally meet the public this spring.
www.sandiegozoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

It was a happy day on March 1 when a new baby bonobo ape entered the world (staff and volunteers kept a respectful distance but monitored the event via surveillance camera). The little tyke, the fourth child of mother Susie, is the 11th offspring since the zoo received its first bonobos in 1990. Fifteen of the country's 85 live at this zoo, which participates in the Species Survival Plan for the rare and endangered ape, which shares more than 98% of the same DNA as humans.
www.columbuszoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

Andean bear cubs don't leave the den until they are three months old, so the twins born here in January will make their long-awaited public debut in May or June. Newborn cubs weigh only up to 18 ounces at birth, and are usually hairless, toothless, and blind. At four-to-six weeks of age they finally open their eyes and begin taking steps. Anxious zoo-goers awaiting the chance to sneak a peek at the adorable duo don't have to wait that long-the zoo has added a special bear web camera to record their antics.
www.nationalzoo.si.edu

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

Three rare golden-red maned wolf pups-brothers Santiago and Diego, along with sister Cayenne-were born on Christmas Eve 2009 at this Denver institution, marking the first time since 1985 that the zoo has heard the pitter-patter of little wolf pup paws. All three can now be seen frolicking in the zoo's Feline Building. Also on display is an endangered Grevy's zebra, named Lakota, that was born in November 2009. Lakota is extremely shy and is usually found close by his mother, Topaz.
www.denverzoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

All eyes are on Miri, a17-year old Bornean orangutan that is part of the zoo's colony of Indonesian orangutans (the largest such group in North America). That's because she is expecting her second baby any day now, with a projected due date sometime in March or April (the gestation period ranges from 235- to 270-days). Miri's first offspring, Satu, is five years old and was the first Bornean orangutan born at Zoo Atlanta. Experts predict that without these targeted conservation efforts this endangered species could be extinct in as little as 10 years.
www.zooatlanta.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

A 130-pound, 5-foot-10-inch male Masai giraffe made a dramatic entry into the world in January, dropping six feet to the ground as his mother gave birth while standing up. After checking out the lanky not-so-little-one, head to the zoo's Gorilla Forest to get a glimpse of a baby girl born on February 6 to Mia Moja, a Western Lowland gorilla. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only 100,000 western lowland gorillas left in the wild, making them a critically endangered species. A naming contest for both giraffe and gorilla is expected soon.
www.louisvillezoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

A newborn red-flanked duiker is now on exhibit with his mother in the zoo's Africa Rainforest area. The tiny duiker, which does not yet have a name, is part of the antelope species and will weigh just 20 to 26 pounds at full maturity. Mother duikers protect their calves from predators by hiding them in brush piles and only bring them out to nurse, so spotting the baby will be a game for visitors.
www.oregonzoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

This zoo, just minutes away from Minnesota's enormous Mall of America, is now home to a tiny female White-Cheeked Gibbon. The zoo's animal care staff is now nurturing the little one, since her mother has shown little interest since she was born. She weighed just 18 ounces at birth and is said to make sounds resembling Star Wars' R2-D2. Zookeepers organize twice-daily 30-minute family reunions in hopes that the mother, Tia, and father, Bailey, will begin to bond with their offspring. The long-armed ape, the first female born in North America since 2006, will make her public debut in the spring.
www.mnzoo.org

Top 10 Zoos for Baby Animals

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