Curator Report: New Baby Moose
The wait is over! We’ve seen several significant animal births at the NEW Zoo in the past couple of weeks. Zookeepers discovered the brand new moose calf during their early morning check at 6 in the morning on Memorial Day. Although we didn’t witness the birth, Mom moose, Flo was still busy cleaning the baby when keepers arrived. Zoo staff, volunteers and visitors alike were on hand to witness the little one mastering the art of walking (it’s not easy with those long, gangly legs!). Because Flo is a responsible mother, she is doing a great job of keeping her calf from approaching zookeepers. As a result, we are still not sure of the baby’s sex. Because the calf is obviously healthy, active and thriving, we see no reason to upset the baby (and incur the wrath of Mom!) just to capture it for a closer look! We’ll just need to be patient for a little while longer before we decide on decorating with pink or blue!
Our Trumpeter Swans have also welcomed a new brood into the world. Visitors were able to join proud father swan, Abner in watching the progress of the hatching eggs throughout the day on Tuesday, June 3. Mother swan, Cecelia frequently rose to her feet to supervise the activity below revealing adorable fuzzy cygnets along with their not yet adorable (still wet and slimy!) siblings. By the next morning the bumper crop of 8 cygnets joined mom and dad for a swim in the pond. The NEW Zoo has been working with the Iowa DNR’s Trumpeter Swan Recovery Program for several years to ensure the survival of the species in the wild. The cygnets raised by their parents here are eventually reintroduced into the wild and are helping to save their species from extinction. Several of the swans raised here are now an integral part of the Midwestern wild breeding population.
At the NEW Zoo, we are careful to only breed animals that we know will have good permanent homes either here or at other AZA zoos. Fortunately, we are involved in several captive breeding conservation programs and can look forward to seeing a few more baby animals this season. Zookeepers are keeping a close eye on the prairie dog colony and hoping to see new babies emerging soon. Because young prairie dogs spend the first several weeks of their lives underground, it is always a pleasant surprise when they finally show themselves in early June. Although we haven’t been able to confirm pregnancies yet, we join the African Lion Species Survival Program in hoping that both Etana and Ajia will produce cubs in the not too distant future!