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Looking Back on a Banner Year for Births at Zoo Atlanta

By Keisha Hines
Just how many babies were born at your Zoo in 2011?
Members and guests may have heard plenty about Sohni and Sanjiv the tiger cubs, Lily the giraffe, Merry Leigh the gorilla, or Beauregard the bongo. These were just five of the babies born at Zoo Atlanta in 2011. In fact, nearly 260 little ones were born or hatched in what proved to be a banner year for births at the Zoo.
New arrivals represented species from across the animal kingdom, from a chinchilla, no larger than a chicken egg, to a foursome of unusual aquatic snakes, to a bevy of little whistling ducks. Of the year’s 259 babies, 56 were mammals, 121 were reptiles, 81 were birds, and one was an amphibian. In many cases, the bundle of births gave visitors a chance to observe the many faces of parenthood in the Zoo. Kateena, the red kangaroo joey, for example, grew from the size of a jellybean in her mother’s pouch; Betelgeuse, the wreathed hornbill fed his offspring and mate through a tiny slit in a mud nest; and the 62 Burmese black tortoise hatchlings had no parental care whatsoever.
“Every birth at the Zoo is important. Guests are very drawn to babies, and we have a chance to educate our visitors, particularly when it comes to endangered or critically endangered species,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “Births also give guests a golden opportunity to see how various species rear their young, for a better understanding of the strategies and adaptations animals use to succeed in the wild.”
Now, the fun lies in watching the nursery class of 2011 grow up. The latest to make his debut is Beauregard, the bongo, now almost 2-months-old and on exhibit regularly, weather and temperatures permitting. Visit for a closer look at the year’s highest-profile babies.

Photo Credits: Zoo Atlanta

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