Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Gorilla baby Mjukuu with Mum Mbeli
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Mjukuu's magic!

So, the newest kid on the block is a male Gorilla called Mjukuu. His mum is Mbeli and his dad is Kibali. Mbeli is being a great mum and the baby is drinking milk from her at the moment. She is the daughter of Kibabu, (a silverback who recently went to live in another zoo) and very protective of the baby. She will work hard to make sure the other gorillas are kind to Mjukuu. Gorillas are a bit like humans and are pregnant for about 8-9 months. The vets kept a close eye on Mbeli to make sure she was healthy and happy as her baby grew inside her. You can imagine how excited keepers and vets were when they finally got to see the baby arrive. The keepers have been very careful to make sure each of the gorillas got to meet Mjukuu and get to know him so he will be accepted and loved by them all. He is very tiny but will hopefully grow up nice and strong and maybe become a father and a grandfather one day!

Prehistoric babies

It’s hard to imagine what kind of parents dinosaurs would have been; we know only a little bit about dinosaurs from fossils, butat Taronga at the moment, there are parents and baby dinosaurs everywhere, so it’s a bit easier to think about them as mothers and fathers! I was very lucky and went to work with Mum one day nice and early and took some photos of this year’s dinosaurs – and they are cool! Now, you know that are not real right? But they are robots and they move and make noise so they feel very realistic! I am going to write about them each month for three months, and then they will be gone again! And mum is even helping me film and put up some little videos! Follow the video link to see my first one, of Styracosaurus, and two of her babies. Ask your parents to come and see the dinosaur’s families over the holidays because they are only here until February 1st next Year!

Joey's everywhere

An amazing thing happens when a baby marsupial is born! It is born very small and weak. It has no rear legs and only very small front legs. It will have no hair or fur and my mum describes it as “a pink jelly bean covered in snot!” Sounds gross and I guess it would be really! But what is amazing is the journey the little baby has to go on to get to the safe pouch of its mother! The baby is not born into the pouch straight away but rather from a spot below the pouch. It crawls through its mother’s fur to find the pouch and a nipple to drink milk from. Once it finds it, it attaches and stays there safe for ages — maybe months. It grows there until it can safely emerge from the pouch, with fur and strong legs and body. Then it can start to explore the world, which is incredible considering how hard it worked to get to that age! Sometimes, when a mother kangaroo or wallaby cannot look after its baby, zookeepers do it for her! Here’s a photo of a wallaby joey, Khalessi, and her keeper mum, Jodie! Pretty sweet, hey?

A tall baby tale

When a baby human is born, lots of things are measured and checked. For example, it is weighed and measured to see how heavy and tall it is. It would be hard to measure this baby though! A giraffe baby is born while its mother is standing up! And very quickly, especially in the wild, it has to stand up too so it can run away from animals that might attack it, like a lion or hyena. Giraffe babies are the tallest in the world when they are born and that’s not really too surprising I guess when you realise their mothers and fathers are the land tallest mammals on Earth! Meet the newest Giraffe calf at Taronga Western plains Zoo, named Ajali, meaning ‘destiny’ in Swahili. She was born on 19 October 2014 and is already being cheeky and running around getting to know the rest of the giraffe herd.

Fun Fact: The funniest baby name is for baby monotremes – they are called Puggles!