CUTEST. STORY. EVER.
Zoo Babies 2009
Meet panda Xi Lan, voted cutest in our poll, plus Miles, a giraffe who wants to be like his big sis, and more aww-inspiring newcomers. Browse the babies, and add your photos and videos from zoos nationwide.
Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd., Bronx, N.Y., 718/367-1010, bronxzoo.org, $15, ages 3–12 $11, kids under 3 free, admission by donation on Wed.
Collared Lemur: Born March 18, 2009
For the first several weeks, all you could see of this newbie was a little paw, a tail, and an adorable round head, all sticking out of mom Vera's thick copper-colored coat. Collared lemurs spend most of their time in trees, using their bushy tails to leap from one treetop to the next. You won't be able to see the lemurs until later this summer, but you can learn more about them in the meantime at the Bronx Zoo's Lemur Life site, which profiles Vera and dad Jean-Luc, who "appreciates a fine piece of fruit." (See a photo)
Moxie the Lion: Born November 6, 2008
Visitors to the Bronx Zoo on Earth Day, April 22, were treated to the debut of African lion cub Moxie. She's a spunky, playful scene-stealer, according to Wildlife Conservation Society director Jim Breheny, who said that the zoo has waited a long time for her birth. The number of lions in sub-Saharan Africa has plummeted, as burgeoning human populations encroach on their habitats. (See a photo)
Banyan the Tree Kangaroo: Born July 4, 2008
A fuzzy reddish joey, Banyan only began venturing around his home in JungleWorld this winter. He often climbs gingerly on branches and then retreats to his mom Arboroo's pouch for a nap. Lately, he also tests out new foods like the green vegetables his mom enjoys. (See a photo)
3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield, Ill., 708/688-8000, czs.org, $12, ages 3–11 $8.
Wombat: Born July 8, 2008
For her first nine months, this pudgy wombat joey was staying cozy in mom Kambora's pouch, where she spent the time sleeping, nursing, and occasionally poking out her head or leg. She finally left the pouch for good in April. Her teeth will grow throughout life so that she can keep chewing on tough vegetation like that found in the southern hairy-nosed wombats' natural home, the grasslands of Australia. (See a photo)
Denver's City Park, 2300 Steele St., Denver, Colo., 303/376-4800, denverzoo.org, from $9, ages 3–11 from $5, ages 65+ from $7, 2 and under free; eight free admission days throughout the year.
Blizzard the Giraffe: Born March 27, 2009
A storm buried Denver in snow the week that reticulated giraffe Blizzard was born—far from the hot, dry savannas of his native sub-Saharan Africa. Topping six feet at birth, energetic Blizzard joined youngsters Timber and Pongo in the giraffe house, and is already running laps around the older calves. (See a photo | Watch a video)
DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM PARK
3111 World Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 407/939-6244, disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/animal-kingdom/, one-day one-park pass $80, ages 3-9 $67, ages 2 and under free.
Vultures: Hatched January 2009
These two chicks are the kind of bald, wizened newborns that resemble old men—with faces only a mother could love, as one Disney employee put it. But they've got flying skills to rival any jet: Ruppell's griffon vultures can stay in the air for up to seven hours a day and have been seen at altitudes of over 37,000 feet in the West African skies. (See a photo)
Tsavo the Elephant: Born June 28, 2008
The heaviest elephant calf born yet at Animal Kingdom, Tsavo tipped the scales at 327 pounds when mom Moyo gave birth after a 21-month gestation. Staff celebrated the big event, as African elephants are endangered and challenging to breed. They had worked with Moyo to monitor her hormone levels and add exercise to her prenatal routine. Now she gets a workout from keeping up with Tsavo. (See a photo | Watch a video)