In a difficult decision for Monarto Zoo male Cheetah, Askari, was humanely put to sleep on Thursday 4 April as his quality of life had rapidly deteriorated due to acute renal failure.
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After nine years of hard work and dedication Monarto Zoo will again have a litter of Cheetah cubs on display with the public debut of mum, Nakula, and her five cubs born in October last year.
As of today, 15 January, visitors will have the opportunity to see the cubs after spending the first 14 weeks of their life in an off-limits facility.
There's more excitement for Monarto Zoo with the birth of five Cheetah cubs to breeding queen, Nakula, the mother of the zoos recently hand raised single cub.
Zookeepers are excited by the new arrivals, born in an off-limits area on October 8, as they're the first litter to be born at Monarto Zoo in seven years.
With the 2012 Giant Panda breeding season now complete plans are underway for the use of artificial insemination in 2013.
Although Wang Wang and Funi are clearly a compatible pair, young age and inexperience has prevented a successful mating in their two breeding seasons to date.
Last Saturday shaped up to be a sunny afternoon, which was a big difference from the dark and cold morning that myself and Laura were faced with when we started work at 6:00am to get the chimp building ready for the members event, Breakfast with the Chimps.
Everyone was thinking hard about what to enjoy for breakfast last Saturday!
Greetings, my name's James, I'm one of the native keepers at Monarto Zoo and currently hand raising a Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby. I've named her Myrtle in honour of the late owner of Myrtle Springs Station in Leigh Creek, where I did a lot of work with the Aroona Dam Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby Project. Myrtle has been bred for export to San Diego Zoo and is being hand raised to reduce the stress of this long voyage.
The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia (RZSSA) is pleased to announce that Elaine Bensted has joined the organisation in the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Bensted is a well-respected member of the South Australian community with a strong track record of leadership, service delivery and extensive experience in senior roles including, most recently, as Chief Executive at TAFE SA.
Our female cheetah cub, born on the afternoon of Saturday, June 2, is now eighteen days old. She's doing very well and is a strong willed cub having taken after her mother, Nakula. Nakula is from the first litter we bred at Monarto Zoo back in 2003.
Apart from a little hiccup last week which led the cub to shy away from her feeds she has steadily increased in weight since we began hand raising her, putting on an additional 250g! Maybe she had a sore mouth or didn't like the teat we were using but with lots of patience from her raisers, we got her through it and she's feeding well again!
Her little claws have become quite sharp, this week we gave her a manicure as she was beginning to shred our hands during feeding, a true carnivore! Her legs have also become stronger and she can now move around her 'home' more easily, even though her baby steps are still a bit wobbly.
She's changing and developing so fast, we'll keep you up to date as often as possible.
Carnivore Keeper, Monarto Zoo
Before we come down from the amazing high Monarto Zoo's Cheetah cub has us all on, I'm excited to inform you of another addition to our carnivore family. On Tuesday, June 12 shortly after 2:00am Kigali, our 15 year old Spotted Hyena, gave birth to a single cub. All appears well with the cub seen suckling regularly and Kigali getting plenty of rest. Spotted Hyenas usually have one or two cubs and this is Kigali's fourth litter at Monarto in six years.
Mum, Kigali, at Monarto Zoo.
Kigali has remained on exhibit for public display throughout her gestation, housed with her daughter, Forest, and male, Gamba. As she's still on exhibit the sex of her cub will remain unknown for a few weeks yet, even to keepers. Kigali and clan are continuing their routine of coming off exhibit each morning for their food, while the cub hides away in an especially dug-out section at the rear of the den. Although hyena cubs are born with eyes open, a full set of teeth and the ability to move around it's not brave enough to venture out of the den, and therefore is not visible to the public. It will be at least a few weeks before the cub ventures out on its own accord. Keepers and vets will give a health check and sex the cub at around six weeks of age. Female Spotted Hyenas have a pseudo-penis, male like genetalia, and this makes confirming the sex of hyenas difficult. Although an animal may look to all appearances like a male...it could well be female!
Kigali is doing a great job looking after her cub.
While the cub remains in the den keepers are able to watch it suckle and interact with Kigali via cameras which were installed especially for the birth. The cameras have also enabled us to capture footage of the entire birth. This footage is very valuable and quite rare, at least among captive Spotted Hyenas in Australia, as Monarto Zoo houses the only female Spotted Hyenas in the country. Thankfully the novelty of destroying the cameras wore off after of our third set as the hyenas initially decided they preferred not to be watched!
Spotted Hyena cubs will suckle for 12-18 months, the longest of any carnivore. The lifespan of Spotted Hyenas is up to 35 years in captivity and there are only nine in Australia, all originating from Monarto Zoo. Kigali is originally from Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Carnivore keeper, Monarto Zoo
Exciting news, we're expecting Spotted Hyena cubs at Monarto Zoo! At this stage we estimate they could arrive anytime between now and the next two weeks, with Kigali currently at around 100 days of a 110 day gestation. We saw mating behaviours from our male, Gamba, which indicated Kigali was in season however, as we didn't see any actual matings, we can only estimate her due date.
Kigali, at 95 days, is looking healthy.
The Restore – Monarto Planting Festival, which took place last weekend, was a great success with 60 volunteers coming out to help get 6,040 plants in the ground! Our volunteers covered many age groups, were all very enthusiastic and worked really hard to achieve these great results. It was amazing to watch a sea of green plants gradually cover our 14 hectare patch. All the planting, along with the direct seeding of understorey species before the festival, should mean we have a good area of habitat in place when we start re-introducing some mammals.
With several ute and trailer loads of plants Sunday morning meant a very early start for some!
Monarto Zoo has displayed African Painted dogs for several years and, due to the size of our exhibit, has one of the largest packs found within a zoo. As a bachelor group of 19 dogs seeing the pack together is an impressive sight but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Re-creating habitat is never as simple as just putting plants in the ground. There is so much more required to create the 'home' or space that animals need to survive. With our habitat restoration work at Monarto we are interested in building habitat that can meet the needs of the species we will be re-introducing.
Monarto Zoo's female Giraffe, Malaika, passed away in the early hours of the morning on April 30, 2012, after taking a turn for the worse the night before.
Everyone will remember Malaika for her gentle and friendly nature.
The China Panda Conservation Challenge is a 12 day journey that allows participants to travel to China, enjoy amazing experiences and fundraise for Zoos SA's conservation efforts. One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the Bifengxia Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre in Chengdu; somewhere I have been lucky enough to experience for myself.
Visiting the Bifengxia Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre is one of the trip's highlights!
Monarto Zoo's African Lion cub, Jahzara, celebrated her first birthday yesterday, May 3. Keepers spoilt her with some special enrichment gifts including cardboard boxes that had been wrapped, painted or filled with shredded paper.
The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia (RZSSA) has today announced the resignation of CEO Chris West following his acceptance of the role as Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
RZSSA President Kevin McGuinness said Dr West has led the organisation through a challenging chapter in its history following a period of significant growth and redevelopment.
"Zoos SA is today a more contemporary organisation and has seen a more than doubling of membership numbers and business revenue under Chris's leadership," Mr McGuinness said.
"Following the restructure of our funding arrangements announced late last year we are in a sound position and well placed for the future.
"On behalf of the Board I extend my congratulations to Chris and his family on his appointment and wish them all the best as they start to plan the next stage of their lives abroad."
Dr West has held the Zoos SA Chief Executive position for the last six years, having previously been the Zoological Director at the Zoological Society of London.
"Chris has overseen the transformation of Adelaide and Monarto Zoos and has strengthened the reputation of Zoos SA as an integrated conservation organisation on a national and international level," Mr McGuinness said.
Dr West will remain as CEO until June and an international search for his replacement is now underway.
Hello again, Matt here with an update on the Monarto Restoration Project. When I last posted news in January we were knee deep in potting mix, preparing for our revegetation works later this year. I'm happy to report that everything has gone fantastically and we've reached our targets for all species, even the ones we expected to have trouble with. We've grown over 2000 Eucalypts, several thousand understorey plants like Acacias and have kilos of seed for the direct seeding of the ground cover plants like Rhagodia and Enchylaena tomentosa. A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped us collect the seed and propogate it over the summer, we couldn't have done it without you!The seed orchard has also grown in size since January. The plants inside are huge thanks to ideal conditions and we're in the process of adding a second section to the back of it. On our open day last month we also began the process of rabbit proofing the entire nursery and workshop area. This project is now complete with installation of the gates last week and some nifty concrete work by Travis. We now have an area of roughly one hectare that will be free of rabbits and kangaroos to grow more plants. This will make seed collection in the future much easier (although I'm sure we'll always find a reason to wander through the bush with a couple of buckets), as well as give us more space for hardening off the plants without the worry of them getting eaten.
A tray of Enchylaena tomentosa (ruby saltbush) seed.