Minnesota Zoo tiger cubs celebrate first birthday
Sundari, left, playfully paws Nadya to try to get her share of cake as the Amur tiger cubs celebrate their first birthdays at the Minnesota Zoo on Monday. The frozen cake was flavored with fruit juice, blood and chicken stock.
Sundari was born at the Apple Valley zoo on June 17, 2012. Nadya was born at the St. Louis Zoo on July 1, 2012, and was transferred to Minnesota a few weeks later.
Acryllium vulturinum - Vulturine guineafowl
I love Vulturine Guineafowl - they’re only distantly related to any of the other guineafowl, and are even more distantly related to other birds. They only eat bugs and seeds, but have the head of a scavenger. They don’t like flying, even though they’re able to. If threatened, they just run away.
Seriously, though…that head…why with the bald head, guineafowl? You weird.
Our Galapagos tortoises celebrate The Fourth of July like many of us—with juicy, ripe watermelon. Happy Independence Day!
Tabu the Namibian cheetah grooms one of her two twin cubs, born on October 31, 2011. They’ll stay with their mum until they’re at least 12 months old, and at least one will most likely be shipped to another zoo (in the US or internationally), to support the breeding of new generations.
Scientists believe that around 6,000 years ago, cheetahs went through an extreme population bottleneck, and that has seriously hindered their ability to effectively produce offspring both in the wild and in captivity. However, this bottleneck can ocassionally have unexpected benefits; for example, cheetahs that need skin grafts can receive skin from almost all other cheetahs (there is only one relatively-simple genetic test needed before transplantation).
Still, the cheetah faces more challenges than benefits due to the inbreeding that had to occur in their recent past. Males have very immotile sperm, which sometimes are so genetically defective that the embryos spontaneously abort, even after fertilization.
Tabu’s cubs are both genetically diverse (at least for the cheetah world), and have survived their first three months. Hopefully they go on to produce cubs of their own in the next few years.