36 Adorable Zoo Babies Born in 2011
Meet Chiquita the sassy wolf pup, Aurora the clingy orangutan, and plenty more cuddly newcomers at zoos across the country.
Golden Lion Tamarin
Fully grown, these miniature Brazilian monkeys weigh only about one pound and stand 10 inches tall. So imagine how small a newborn is: Upon his February 19 arrival, this bright orange baby (still unnamed) was roughly the size of a C-size battery. It's no wonder the little one clings tightly to Mama's back, letting go only long enough to nurse. Although he's now showing more independence by running around on his own, he's still the smallest tamarin on display!
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO
May–Labor Day $17.25, ages 65 and older $15.25, ages 3–11 $12.25; post Labor Day–April $14.25, ages 65 and older $12.25, ages 3–16 $10.25; ages 2 and under free year-round; 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd., Colorado Springs, 719/633-9925, cmzoo.org
Mom Lola already has nine other children, so she's clearly an expert at her job—which may explain why her as-yet-unnamed baby clung to her constantly for the first several weeks. Born in late March, the monkey's height, weight, and even gender can't be determined until the little one ventures out on its own, at least for a few minutes. (That's expected to happen soon, but at present the baby is still clinging, now to its dad.) Native to South American rain forests and known for relying on their long tails for balance, and for leaping from tree to tree in search of food, Goeldi's monkeys are only slightly larger than your average squirrel, so this darling newborn will stay rather compact.
Akoni and Safara, the Red River Hogs
First-time parents Ari and Huey welcomed a boy and a girl on March 23. The hogs, who originally hail from Africa, are learning how to root, wallow, and squeal, and are growing quickly thanks to a steady diet of mother's milk and fresh vegetables. After getting to know their personalities for just over a month, the zookeepers chose appropriate names: Akoni (Swahili for "brave warrior") for the boy and Safara (Wolof for "fire") for the girl.
From March–November 1 $13, ages 65 and older $10, ages 3–11 $8; November–February $10, ages 65 and older $8, ages 3–11 $6; ages 2 and under free year-round; eight free-admission days throughout the year (for exact dates, check the free-admission calendar here); City Park, 2300 Steele St., Denver, 303/376-4800, denverzoo.org
Rusty, Bordeaux, Chianti, and Mena, the Red-Ruffed Lemurs
After a quick gestation period of just over 100 days, first-time mom Sixpence gave birth on March 12 to a brood of four: a boy, Rusty, and his three sisters, Bordeaux, Chianti, and Mena. Since then, the furry, red, diurnal siblings have spent lots of time running around—except when they're being carried in Mama's mouth, that is. When fully grown, the Madagascar natives will be about three feet long, with tails about the same length—all the better to swing by.
BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY
From $77.99, ages 3–9 from $70, ages 2 and under free, 10165 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa, 888/800-5447, buschgardens.com/bgt
The zoo's newest arrival, born April 10, is a male aardvark, which is incredibly rare considering that North American zoos harbor about 35 aardvarks total (not to mention the fact that there are less than a dozen aardvarks born each year). The animals, native to Africa, are nocturnal creatures that use their keen sense of smell to root around for their favorite food: termites. For now, though, this wrinkly, pink, as-yet-unnamed baby is getting sustenance from a bottle, as zoo staffers had to step in to care for the cub when his mama showed herself to be inattentive. The babe is so friendly that he was named one of the park's Animal Ambassadors (a select group of critters that are taken to schools, community centers, and festivals to educate the public).