There must be something in the water at the Palm Beach Zoo; babies are popping out at a record clip. As a card-carrying member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as well as its breeding program Species Survival Plan, the Palm Beach Zoo has added quite a few new faces to the mix, all ambassadors for their wild brethren throughout the world.
The matchmaking revved into high gear in the summer of 2011 when the zoo announced the birth of three Malayan tiger cubs (Jaya, Penari and Bunga), the first ever born at Palm Beach Zoo and a huge boon for the species as a whole that is in dire straights in the wild. But this was just the beginning.
Spring of 2012 has been a prolific season for the mammals at the zoo. First, twin golden lion tamarins (aka golden marmoset) were born March 14. They were the third set of twins to parents Guilda and Jack, who have been stalwart annual breeders since their arrival in 2009, with litters of twins in 2010 and 2011 as well. Just two short weeks later, another South American native made its debut, the first Baird’s tapir born at the zoo to breeding pair Alyssa and Spencer. Born on exhibit, the tapir calf had to be hand-raised, because Alyssa did not show a keen sense of motherly instinct.
In April, the cutest big-eared residents of the zoo, the fennec foxes, welcomed a five-kit litter to world (giving the zoo a total of nine born on site). The newborns are the first litter of breeding pair Heidi and Swiper, brought in from zoos in Germany and Honolulu, respectively. With the latest arrival, the Palm Beach Zoo’s fennec fox population has grown to 13, which includes three breeding pairs. Incredibly cute, fennec foxes are the world’s smallest foxes, but they are equipped with some rather large bat-like ears that help radiate body heat, keeping them cool in their scorching home range of the Sahara and North Africa.
Now the Palm Beach Zoo is set to introduce its newest arrivals, two panther cubs. Coming by way of the Oregon Zoo, both cubs were rescued after their mothers were euthanized for coming too close to human dwellings in Washington and Idaho. The cubs have some rather big paws to fill, as they are taking over the exhibitory of longtime zoo resident and fan favorite Colin Patrick, a Florida panther on exhibit for 17 years until his passing in March.
The Palm Beach Zoo will introduce the newest addition of the Dreher Park family on August 10 at the popular Safari Night event, hosted by Waste Management from 6-9 p.m. As an added panther bonus, the Florida Panthers Hockey Club Street Team will be on hand to host an array of fun-filled activities for the kiddies.
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