Animals in the News

Lion Country Safari, a leader in Giraffe breeding programs in North America with over 60 Giraffe births, just welcomed its first giraffe calf of 2014. The baby, named Nafari, which means “first-born” in Swahili, was born June 24th. He was born weighing 141.5 pounds (64.3 kg) and measured 70 inches (1.78 m) tall.

Nafari and his mom are segregated from the herd in the maternity pen to allow bonding time. They are visible in the drive-through preserve (section 7, Hwange National Park) or from the Giraffe feeding exhibit at Lion Country Safari. In nearly three months, they will join the remainder of the Giraffe herd at Lion Country Safari. Soon enough, Nafari will have younger companions as other female Giraffe are expected to give birth in the near future.

Female Giraffe reproduce year-round beginning at about four years of age. Their conception peak is usually during the rainy season and their gestation lasts approximately fifteen months. Giraffe calves are born while the mother is in a standing position and they drop to the ground head first. Life expectancy of a Giraffe is twenty-five years.

Lion Country Safari is dedicated to the captive breeding of a number of rare or endangered species and is proud to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. This conservation program helps to ensure the survival of selected wildlife species.



Seahorses growl when grabbed

by Rebecca on July 10, 2014

in Animals in the News

Tiny Angry Seahorses Growl When Grabbed

Seahorses are known for making little “click” sounds while they’re feeding, but a group of Austrian and Brazilian researchers have discovered a completely new, never before heard type of seahorse vocalization, which they describe as a “growl.”

While it has been known since at least the late 1800s that seahorses could make sounds, studies investigating the functions of those sounds have been rare. To begin to address that dearth of research, scientist T. P. R. Oliveira rounded up a group of longsnout seahorses, Hippocampus reidi, a species which is found along the eastern coast of the Americas from Cape Hatteras to Brazil, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Then, having equipped an aquarium tank with a hydrophone, the researchers took audio recordings of seahorses in three different situations: feeding, courtship, and stress. Feeding and courtship are straightforward enough. To induce a stressful situation, the researchers simply handled the seahorses. Oliveira explains that a researcher held onto each seahorse’s body at a distance of two centimeters from the hydrophone. “Although handling has a level of artificiality,” write the researchers, “it does provoke fish to produce sounds as if they were captured by a predator. Seahorses are frequently grabbed and held by predators such as frogfish before being swallowed.”

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