It’s a hat-trick – Triple conservation success for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive during Coronation week

Posted: 5th May, 2023

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) is celebrating the births of multiple endangered species at its zoos in Norfolk and Suffolk.

ZSEA Banham Zoo in Norfolk has welcomed three Amur tiger cubs and an armadillo pup, whilst ZSEA Africa Alive Reserve in Suffolk has welcomed the arrival of a reticulated giraffe calf.

Claudia Roberts, CEO at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “We are thrilled at the safe arrival of three beautiful tiger cubs, one handsome male giraffe calf and an adorable armadillo pup all within a week. As a conservation education charity, conservation really is at the heart of everything we do. Without breeding programmes like these, we would see a much more rapid decline in endangered and vulnerable species across the planet."

ZSEA Banham Zoo has welcomed three Amur tiger cubs after mum, Mishka gave birth to triplets on Monday 1 May. This news comes as a legacy from Kuzma, the cubs' father who recently passed away. Amur tigers are classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and hunting, with only around 500 thought to be left in the wild. 

Graeme Williamson, Head of Living collection at The Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “All three tiger cubs at Banham Zoo appear to be very healthy. Mum Mishka has been very attentive throughout her labour, cleaning and licking her cubs within the privacy of her cubbing den in the house. Mishka’s daughter Kira from her last litter of cubs born in October 2021, still resides within the Tiger enclosure at Banham. Over the coming days we will trial brief introductions with Kira to introduce her to her new siblings.

“As with any animal births, these are not without risks. At this time, we ask for patience and understanding, to allow Mishka and her cubs the opportunity to bond. The 3 cubs all appear fit and healthy and have spent most of their first few hours feeding from mum in the den.”

The zoo has announced it will confirm the cubs’ sexes and give appropriate names in the coming months. 

To ensure that Mishka and her cubs can enjoy a peaceful first few weeks together, the zoo has requested everyone's cooperation in maintaining a quiet and patient demeanour around the Tiger Territory exhibit.

Starting on 11 May, the zoo will install a new viewing area where members, visitors and volunteers will have an opportunity to view the cubs respectfully.

Also, at ZSEA Banham Zoo, Melanie a well-loved armadillo which is frequently seen in the zoo’s Amazing Animals show, which educates visitors about the habitats, diets, and conservation of the armadillo and other incredible species, is now the proud mum of a new armadillo pup.

Andy Hallsworth, Head of Visitor Engagement at The Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “We are thrilled to share the news of our armadillo pup's arrival. Mother Melanie and Father Pedro are beloved by visitors of our Amazing Animals Displays. The pup is in great health and Melanie is doing an excellent job caring for the pup in their burrow. As a mother of four, Melanie is very experienced, and we have no doubt she will continue to provide exceptional care for her new offspring."

Meanwhile, ZSEA Africa Alive Reserve in Suffolk has welcomed the birth of a male reticulated giraffe calf born on Wednesday 26th April to mother Kiara and Father Jengo.

This is the third calf to be born to Mother Kiara since her arrival at Africa Alive Reserve from Cologne Zoo in Germany. Keepers have named the calf Charlie, in tribute to the King’s Coronation this weekend.

“We are thrilled to announce the birth of a male giraffe calf on Wednesday 26th to mum Kiara and dad Jengo. This is Kiara’s third calf at Africa Alive, initial interactions between mum and calf were slightly fractured, but keepers have been working around the clock to encourage the calf to suckle from Kiara. Keepers initially supplemented the calf with colostrum. Colostrum is a nutritious fluid that contains high levels of antibodies, to promote growth and health in fighting infections in young animals. The calf is currently being supplemented with Jersey milk to help keep his strength. Mum Kiara is still adjusting to her new calf; over the next few days we hope he will work out how to suckle from mum and not be reliant on his keepers.”  Graeme Williamson, Head of Living Collections at The Zoological Society of East Anglia

It’s early days for all these exciting births – but if you are planning a trip to see the new arrivals, the zoo asks all guests to pre-book online before visiting: www.zsea.org

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