There’s been a baby boom at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
While it’s been closed to visitors, the Ohio zoo welcomed five baby animals in a month: a sea lion pup, giraffe calf, two red panda cubs and a baby siamang gibbon.
“We are extremely proud to welcome these babies as they all represent hope for the future of species that are increasingly facing challenges in their native ranges,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf in a press release. “Additionally, these arrivals are extra special as our Animal Care staff has worked around the clock to ensure the animals continued to receive top quality care during our three-month-long closure to help reduce the spread of coronavirus within the community.”
First, on May 29, came a siamang gibbon, a win for the endangered species. The baby’s sex and name are yet to be determined. Mom, Olga, has been “very attentive to her little one,” zoo staff said. It’s the third time the 31-year-old mom ― one of the oldest known siamang mothers ― and dad Rashid have welcomed a baby.
Two red panda cubs, a male and a female, were born on June 13 to 2-year-old mother Kora and 7-year-old father Gen Tso. Both are first-time parents, and Kora is nursing the cubs in the nest box.
It marks the first successful births for the endangered species at the zoo since 2015. Guests may be able to view the cubs once they’re about 4 months old, as they begin to explore outside their nest.
On June 25, Lovell, a 5-year-old California sea lion, gave birth to the first ever sea lion pup to be born at the facility.
Mom and pup, a female, are bonding in a behind-the-scenes area, zoo staff said. The pup will need to meet important growth and development milestones, including swimming, before moving to the bigger habitat.
And last but certainly not least, a Masai giraffe calf was born to 10-year-old mom and dad Zuri and Enzi on June 28, a welcome addition for the endangered species.
Zuri also gave birth to a calf in October 2018, but the baby died of viral enteritis at just 17 days old despite aggressive treatment from zoo veterinarians.
The Columbus Zoo’s Animal Care team is closely observing Zuri and her calf via camera monitors. So far, they said, she’s a great mom. The newborn stood and took her first wobbly steps about an hour after she was born ― after many attempts ― and was nursing just over an hour after that.
The sex of the calf hasn’t been identified yet, but staff say the little one seems to be healthy.