The 35 Cutest Zoo Babies of 2012
Trying to figure out what to do with the kids this weekend? We found 23 zoos around the country (some with free admission!) with adorable new additions, from Anala the Indian rhino in Miami to Kiazi the De Brazza's monkey in Denver.
Santa Ana Zoo
These orange-haired half-sibling monkeys have been stealing the show since arriving just three weeks apart. The first, a male, was born on January 31 to parents Oliver and Daria; then came a girl, on February 22, to sly-fox Oliver and mom Ripley. Despite the "silvery" name, these monkeys-native to tropical forests of Indonesia and Malaysia-are born bright orange before turning silver-gray at about three to five months old. And their hue, combined with their cuteness, has apparently given zoo attendance quite a boost. "Our visitors have been flabbergasted when they see two orange babies instead of one," says Kent Yamaguchi, zoo director. More importantly, the new arrivals have been a tremendous boost to the silvery langur population in North America, currently numbering at about 50. The naming of the furry creatures is being used as a fund-raising effort through the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo society, which will let some generous person—for a donation of $750—do the honors. Anyone?
Sulawesi Forest Turtle
This rare Indonesian breed of turtle was only first discovered in 1995 and is considered critically endangered. Thankfully one was added to the ranks on January 24, with the first successful hatching of a Sulawesi forest turtle in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoo. Zookeepers worked hard at the hatching, nudging the temperamental and shy parents along with their breeding process by providing them with various amounts of space and vegetation cover. After laying her egg, mom buried it in a hole, where it sat for just over four months before hatching. The unnamed baby could grow to be about a foot long—which will be helped along by his diet of fruit, veggies, and pinky mice—and could live for up to 30 or 40 years.
Kiazi the De Brazza's Monkey
This little ball of fur was appropriately named Kiazi, meaning "potato" in Swahili. She is the third birth for mom Marinda and father Kisoro, who came to Denver Zoo in 2006 after being rescued by conservationists from the Republic of Congo black market. Visitors can see Kiazi, who was born December 4, 2011, being "very bouncy," eating foods like greens and biscuits, and shifting between her indoor and outdoor habitats in Primate Panorama, which is "pretty darn cute," says her keeper.
They may look like harmless little wrigglers now, but these eight babies, born on February 12 and representing the first-ever breeding of the species at the Denver Zoo, will eventually eat enough pinky mice to grow into sneaky, venomous two-foot-long snakes that only a mother could love. They get an early start with their wily ways, as juveniles are equipped with yellow-tipped tails, which they can wriggle like worms in order to ensnare small prey. Even so, these poisonous vipers, native to Mexico and Central America, have a near-threatened status due to human persecution. Though you can't glimpse these babies just yet, there is an adult Cantil Viper on display.
Brevard Zoo, Melbourne
Mom Boo and dad Abner welcomed their hairy little pup on January 26 and, serious attachment-parenting adherents that they are, have yet to let go of their little one. That's because baby anteaters spend the first year of their lives riding on mom's back—when they're not nursing, that is. "It's very exciting for us because it's the first time we've had a giant anteater born at the zoo," said zoo marketing director Andrea Hill. The long-snouted infant is of a not-yet-determined gender (blood tests are required to figure this part out) and is still without a name, as the zoo plans to auction off the naming rights at its April 28 fundraiser.