The Idaho Falls Zoo recently added to their unprecedented number of baby animals this year by welcoming a 3-month-old male serval kitten. A serval is a species of cat from Africa. Named Zuri, the little kitten came to Idaho Falls from Zoo Boise in April.
“Zuri spent the last few weeks in quarantine at the zoo’s CHC Animal Health Care Center,” explained Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Rhonda Aliah. “Quarantine is a standard and required procedure whenever new animals come to a zoo to ensure the animal is healthy and has received all the necessary tests and immunization to make sure they do not bring anything into the current animals,” added Dr. Aliah.
Zuri will begin meeting zoo visitors starting later this week or next. He will become an Animal Ambassador for the zoo, much like his half-sister, Bahati, who also lives at Idaho Falls Zoo.
Having already welcomed a baby sloth bear, African lion cub and Bactrian camel calf, Zuri has added to an unprecedented number of babies at the Idaho Falls Zoo this year. “We have had a baby boom at the zoo,” states General Curator Darrell Markum. “Looking back through our historic records, we could not find any other year where more babies were born at the zoo.”
In mid-May, the black swan pair in the Australia exhibit hatched four cygnets, which is the name for a baby swan. With their adorable, fluffy grey plumage, they are far from ugly ducklings! The family can be seen daily as mom and the young ones explore their exhibit, with dad holding sentry over his new brood.
Over Memorial weekend, the red-crowned cranes, a highly endangered species native to Asia, hatched their first baby. Crowned cranes commonly only have one egg. The chick is the first for this very protective and proud crane couple. The cranes are housed in the Asian Adventure right next to the Bactrian camels.
In addition, a rhea chick (an ostrich-like bird from South America) also hatched at the zoo and can be viewed in the children’s zoo or while he is being taken for regular walks to meet zoo visitors.
“I’m beginning to think there’s something in the water,” jokes carnivore keeper Dallas LaDucer. “All the new babies means more work, but it’s very exciting! More than half of the species under my daily care welcomed new babies this year.”
On Thursday, June 22, members of the Tautphaus Park Zoological Society (TPZS) are invited to a Baby Shower to celebrate all the new arrivals from 6:00-7:30 p.m. You must be a TPZS member (hold a current annual zoo pass) to attend this special event. During the event, members will have the opportunity to donate cash to vote on the name for the new lion cub and be invited to give the babies presents through the Idaho Falls Zoo’s Amazon wish list. To become a zoo member or to renew an existing membership, visit www.tpzs.info.
Plan your visit to the Idaho Falls Zoo today and see all the bouncing babies, including the sloth bear, African lion cub, and Bactrian camel. The zoo is open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily and will have late night on the first Friday of the month in July, August, and September. Learn more about zoo events, hours and admission at www.idahofallszoo.org.
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.