The Houston Zoo is open for business and there are some definitely some new additions to see! If being cooped up for months wasn’t enough motivation to get you and the family outside in the fresh air perusing through our beautiful Houston Zoo, they have five new reasons for you to make the trek across town! The Zoo has welcomed a pair of clouded leopards, a baby giant anteater, a red-tailed monkey and the latest, largest addition, a baby boy Asian elephant!
Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30 a.m., 29-year-old Asian elephant Shanti gave birth to a 326-pound male calf after a short labor. Immediately following his birth, the elephant team and veterinary staff saw that he was hemorrhaging severely from his umbilicus. Upon further investigation, they determined that he tore a vessel in his umbilical cord during birth. The team acted quickly to sedate the one-hour-old calf and get him into emergency surgery. The Houston Zoo veterinarians preformed the 30-minute procedure to find the torn vessel, stop the bleeding, and close the hole in the calf’s abdomen.
At the same time, the elephant team worked quickly to collect whole blood from the rest of the herd in the event the new calf needed to have a transfusion. The team’s skill, and training paid off and they were able to quickly and calmly collect three bags of blood. Luckily, a transfusion was not necessary, and the collected blood will be saved for any future needs.
Shortly after surgery, the team reunited the calf with Shanti. The calf was soon standing and walking on his own and began to nurse before the day ended.
The calf has been named Nelson by the team who have dedicated their lives to the care, well-being, and conservation of these incredible animals.
This is the sixth calf for Shanti, who is also mother to Baylor (10), Duncan (6), and Joy (2). Nelson raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 11–five males and six females.
In the early hours of April 10, a male Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey was born to mother Njeri and has been named Peter Rabbit in honor of Easter weekend. Schmidt’s red-tailed monkeys are known for their distinctive heart-shaped markings on their nose and are native to central Africa. The Houston Zoo is home to six red-tailed monkeys including the new baby.
The species is vulnerable to habitat loss and hunting, and to help save them in the wild, Houstonians can recycle old cellphones and handheld electronics. Cellphones and other small electronics often contain coltan, a material mined in the parts of Africa red-tailed monkeys rely on for habitats.
Nova and Luna
In the wee hours of Nov. 12, the Houston Zoo’s female clouded leopard, Suksn, gave birth to two tiny cubs. After months of special care, they made their (short) public debut this spring.
Clouded leopards are vulnerable to extinction because of deforestation and hunting. Since this species is so rare, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the health and well-being of every clouded leopard born at a zoo which means sometimes it’s necessary to hand-raise newborn clouded leopards. Following best-practices from successful breeding programs at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited organizations, and the Houston Zoo’s own successful hand-rearing of cubs Senja and Koshi in 2014, the Houston Zoo’s keepers and veterinary staff are extremely well-equipped to ensure these cubs receive the best care possible.
Part of the clouded leopard’s natural habitat includes the island of Borneo. To help save clouded leopards in the wild, the Houston Zoo partners with multiple organizations throughout the region, including Danau Girang Field Centre, HUTAN and Seratu Aatai to ensure all wildlife in the region, including clouded leopards, have a healthy, adequate habitat in which to thrive.
Every visit to the Houston Zoo helps save animals, like clouded leopards, in the wild.
Traci the anteater was born on the evening of March 31 to mom Olive. Olive has been very attentive to the baby, carefully nursing and transporting the pup on her back.
Giant anteaters face threats resulting from habitat loss and agricultural expansion. The Zoo’s anteaters serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts, helping zoo guests understand this unique species. The Houston Zoo is proud to support the Giant Armadillo Conservation Program, a group working to protect giant armadillos and anteaters in the wild.