There are so many new residents at the Denver Zoo on a regular basis that it can be a challenge to keep up. Last month, for instance, we told you about the impending arrival of Billy the elephant, coming to Denver from Antwerp. Well, Billy is now here, and he's joined by a slew of other newcomers, including a Mongolian horse, a zebra, a hornbill and an adorable snow leopard named Misha, seen here. Look below to check out photos, videos and text from the Denver Zoo introducing the latest members of the menagerie. 5. Topaz's pride and joy Guests at Denver Zoo [June 14] were able to see a new set of stripes in the zebra yard. Keepers welcomed the birth of an endangered, female Grevy's (Greh-veez) zebra to mother Topaz.... Topaz and the foal's father, Punda, were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Watch a video of the new foal here.
Continue to see more of the Denver Zoo's latest arrivals. 4. Yisun and Bataar's foal You can call them Mongolian wild horses, Asiatic wild horses or Przewalski's horses, and early this morning, a new, tiny foal was born at Denver Zoo to first time parents, mother Yisun and father Bataar! The new foal is the first birth of its species at Denver Zoo in more than 20 years. Mongolian Wild Horses are a rare and endangered species of wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia. The species was actually extinct in the wild for almost 30 years, before reintroduction projects began in the early 1990's. Recent estimates indicate that there are now more than 300 in the wild. Captive breeding programs, supported by zoos, helped keep this species from disappearing completely from the globe. Denver Zoo has a small herd, which helps support these efforts. This new foal is an exciting addition to the world population! The Przewalski's wild horse is considered the only remaining, truly "wild" horse in the world and may be the closest living wild relative of the domesticated horse. There are a number of other wild equine species, including three species of zebra, and various subspecies of the African wild ass, onager and kiang. At Denver Zoo you can see several of these small equines, including one species of zebra, the Grevy's zebra, and the Somali wild ass. Continue to see more of the Denver Zoo's latest arrivals. 3. Gemma Introducing Gemma, a one-year-old Von der Decken's Hornbill (Tockus deckeni), this week's feathered friend. Gemma is new addition to Denver Zoo and came here to meet our existing male, Von D, and hopefully they will raise a family in the future.
Von der Decken's are mainly white with black wings and a black tail. Gemma, our female, has an entirely black bill so it is easy to tell the difference between her and her mate. He has a very distinctive red and ivory two-toned bill. Von der Decken's don't have a casque, a hollow outgrowth of the top of the beak made of keratin, like other, on their bill, like other species of hornbill. Their long bill allows them to forage and collect food items from branches they could not reach otherwise. Gemma and her mate are sometimes seen foraging for food on the ground. Gemma and her mate eat fruits such as papaya, cantaloupe, apple, banana, and pears with a soaked pellet for carnivores and insects, like mealworms and crickets, along with the occasional treats such as peanuts, small mice and lizards. They have short, broad, and rounded wings which are efficient for short intervals of flight but not ideal for extended periods.
Von der Decken's hornbills are native to eastern Africa. They favor the open bush and scrubby woodlands of the dry savanna and arid steppe. Some behaviors they participate in are sunbathing, bathing in the rain, toying with sticks, tossing leaves or debris, bill wrestling, or jumping on or over each other.
Von der Decken's hornbills breed as monogamous pairs, having only one mate at a time. Like other hornbills they nest in tree cavities. The pair works together to partially close up the entrance with a mixture of mud, droppings, and fruit pulp until the female can barely fit through into the nest. Then the male continues to seal her in, while she assists from the inside, using food and feces until only a narrow opening remains. The male is then completely responsible for feeding his mate and the upcoming chicks for the next two months. After about three months, the female and the chicks have grown too large for the nest and the female breaks out! She rebuilds the seal and assists the male with feeding for the next two weeks until the chicks are ready to fledge.
Continue to see more of the Denver Zoo's latest arrivals. 2. Billy Billy has arrived! The 5-year-old Asian elephant safely arrived at Denver Zoo [June 23] and is getting acquainted with his new state of the art quarters.
Guests won't get to see him quite yet as he must first complete a mandatory quarantine period lasting a minimum of 30 days. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Billy taken just after his arrival inside Toyota Elephant Passage. You'll also see footage of his plane at Denver International Airport and his final journey to Denver Zoo.
Continue to see more of the Denver Zoo's latest arrivals. 1. Misha Snow leopard cub, Misha, can now be seen in her exhibit with mother, Natasha. Misha was born on May 13 and, after quietly bonding with her mother behind the scenes for a few weeks, she is now exploring her exhibit. The curious cub is learning to climb, jump and pounce under the watchful eye of her mother. As the only one in her litter, Misha has been getting all of the milk she wants, and has grown nearly four pounds since her birth!
We ask that visitors to the Felines Building are quiet and respectful, as Misha gets used to her new guests.
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Misha was born to Natasha, and father, Himal (Him-all). The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match. Although this is Himal's first cub, Natasha is an experienced mother having given birth to cubs in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
Snow leopards, classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are native to the rocky, mountainous areas above the tree line in central Asia and in the Himalayan regions of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
More from our News archive: "Denver Zoo: Meet Billy, the male elephant who will make his home here later this summer."