Baby boom at Lowry Park Zoo
Lowry Park is kid friendly. Not only because of the Walaroo Station with splash zones and a petting zoo, you can meet a new baby animal each month. Although unlikely it is possible. Since spring of 2012 Lowry Park Zoo has given birth to over a dozen babies.
In spring of 2012 “Blossom” was rescued by the Wildlife Center of Montana. The black bear was one of two American Black Bears, estimated between 1 and 2 years of age, adopted by the zoo in the past year. “Newberry” was found in bad conditions by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
A pygmy hippo was born in the zoo November 15, 2012. Guests usually see her playful side early in the morning. When the sun comes out she is ready to swim around in the shallow pond wrestling with her mother.
It was a busy Christmas for the keepers at the zoo. The first African Elephant “Mpumi” was born December 23, 2012. She is a decendant of a rare herd of elephants from Swaziland, Africa. Lowry Park and San Diego Zoo rescued 11 of the pachyderm elephants from being cured a decade ago. A red tailed guenon came days later on December 29, 2012. “Ahnmom” has curious big brown eyes that watch the crowd clinging to his mom. The red tail guenon was initially rescued from Bush meat markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To bring in the New Year right a rare okapi, “Bahati”, was born January 6, 2013. This unusually looking animal has the legs and stripes of a zebra, the body shape of a horse, and the face of a giraffe. This animal may look like a mixed breed of all three but it is only related to the giraffe.
After a short 7 month gestation period a beautiful South African nyala was born March 24, 2013. “Finley” being a male has faint white stripes, shaggy fur, and spiraled horns growing. He is also one of the many animals that enjoy a shared habitat. This is to be more natural and take advantage of all land.
The African penguin hatched May 8, 2013. Her name is “Tampanga”. This third batch of hatchlings is covered in thick fuzzy grey fur until their black and white matures. These penguins live in warm weather and seem to enjoy sunbathing instead of ice fishing.
May 25, 2013 was the birthday of a tiny squirrel monkey. This little guy is agile but he feels most comfortable on his mother’s back most of the day. The baby is more independently active when eating fruits in the mornings.
A funny story led to another hatchling. Two, first time parent, demoiselle cranes abandoned their egg. Zookeepers quickly moved the egg under a sand hill crane. Both birds have similar migration tendencies and nesting techniques. The bird hatched on May 25, 2013. It stayed with the adoptive mother, the sand hill crane, until August 1, 2013. The crane has been placed with its parents getting along great.
One of the most important animal births occurred at Lowry Park Zoo this year. The birth of “Jiyo” an Indian rhinoceros made national news on May 29, 2013. This was the third time in the last 5 years that this zoo has a helped make a major contribution to the conservation of wildlife. This endangered species is born 75-100 pounds.
A malnourished Florida manatee was rescued from the Myakka River in Sarasota on July 7, 2013. “Jobin” was only 55pounds when he was brought to the zoo. Keepers say he will need a minimal of 2-3 years of care before he will be returned to the wild.
Another mark in history was made July 29, 2013. “Mavi” an African elephant was born. This is the second of the babies to be born to the saved elephants of the Swaziland herd. The mother elephant was bred with a bull from a different herd giving the offspring a new DNA gene. “Mavi” and “Mpumi” are the first with the gene pool in the United States.
Is Lowry Park Zoo a new breeding ground? It may be. The male black bellied stork was caught making a nest. This very rare bird could be nesting for his mate. Although an egg has not been spotted spectators believe it is soon to come.
The zoo is open 7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5 pm excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas. Adult tickets are 24.95$ and children 19.95$. Annual passes start at 95$ for 2 Florida residents. Lowry Park has four special days a year with 6$ admission for everyone. The final one in 2013 is September 15.