Our ‘firecracker,’ Viv, is turning two years old! Born two days after the Fourth of July, on July 6, 2019, Msitu and Khalid’s daughter gained her nickname pretty much immediately and has lived up to it ever since. Just six hours after she was born, Viv famously leap-frogged over Msitu’s back (while she was lying down), gaining an adorable reputation as independent, strong and super-charged.

Our partner, Children’s Hospital Colorado, is also celebrating the ‘terrific twos!’ They opened southern Colorado’s first pediatric-only hospital, right here in Colorado Springs, on July 17, 2019. To celebrate, Children’s Hospital Colorado is throwing our ever-vivacious Viv a birthday party – and you’re invited. Join us for a belated birthday on Sat., July 17, 2021, from 10 a.m. to noon in African Rift Valley for Viv’s second birthday party, complete with a ‘birthday cake’ for Viv, served at 11:15 a.m. The celebration will include opportunities for Viv’s fans to write her a birthday card, sing her happy birthday and visit our 17-member herd of giraffe.

“Knowing our Viv, she’ll continue to keep us on our toes as she has from day one,” said Amy Schilz, senior lead keeper in African Rift Valley, and Viv’s primary trainer. “This girl has become known for her adorable antics, like running after the cranes and guinea fowl in the yard, or stretching to reach a tree we didn’t intend to be giraffe food. Pretty much any time we get a radio call that one of the giraffe is up to something, we know it’s probably Viv!”

Viv seemed to surpass giraffe calf milestones with ease, but her independence meant that she seemed to prefer to be alone more than other giraffe, too. That has all changed since 2-year-old Ohe, 9-month-old BB and 3-year-old Panya joined the herd. Viv’s keepers say she seems to have come out of her shell with guests and the herd, since her three ‘besties’ have boosted her confidence.

“She has become really outgoing since becoming part of the four ‘littles’ group,” said Schilz. “You can usually find Viv and Ohe together. They get each other going in the yard, and will kick up the dirt and encourage each other to run around. We’ve also seen them ‘cuddling,’ when they take naps and lie down right next to each other in the barn mid-day. Because they seem to really like to be together, we have ‘baby training days,’ in the barn.”

To perform the important hoof care work that is vital the giraffe’s overall health, keepers train the giraffe to voluntarily participate. Through positive reinforcement training, the giraffe learn to approach a hoof care block, place one foot on the block and keep it there while their trainers trim their hooves. Viv has mastered the approach and placement, but has other plans about what happens next. Each time a giraffe completes a successful step in the training, they get a reward. Smart and sassy Viv is well aware.

“Sometimes she outsmarts me in those training sessions,” said Schilz. “She’s learned if she touches her hoof to the block and then takes it off and puts it on again, she gets more treats. So now I’m having to go back in my training and figure out a new way to move forward. It’s been a really great team bonding experience, because we all share what works for her unique needs. We tailor training to each giraffe, and she is certainly pushing us and challenging us to stay flexible. We’ll get there.”

Please join us in wishing Viv a very happy second birthday, and in thanking our friends at Children’s Hospital Colorado for their partnership!

Viv’s 2nd Birthday Party
In Partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado
All are invited; Zoo admission is required
Saturday, July 17, 2021
African Rift Valley
10 a.m to noon
11:15 a.m. ‘birthday cake’ for Viv

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Earlier this month, we announced that Gidgee, our 2-year-old red-necked wallaby, has a joey in her pouch! Join us as we get another pouch peek at this little one, who is still hairless and is starting to try to open his eyes. Bruce, Australia Walkabout keeper, will tell you more about the joey, its family, and its upcoming milestones.

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Get up-close with the Zoo’s newest addition, a one-month-old ring-tailed lemur, born Monday, April 26, to first-time mom, Rogue.

The first baby born in our new exhibit, Water’s Edge: Africa, is surpassing milestones and stealing our hearts with ease. Join Philip, lead keeper in Water’s Edge, on lemur island to learn how Rogue is embracing motherhood, how the little one is showing signs of strength, and how Hercules and Allagash – the baby’s father and aunt – are warming up to their tiny new relative.

Because baby and mom are bonding so well, we haven’t thoroughly checked the baby, so we haven’t confirmed its sex. We don’t have naming plans to share, yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

You can visit the baby, Rogue, Allagash and Hercules in Water’s Edge: Africa. Baby is still clinging to Rogue most of the time, so it can be hard to see in-person. Philip says one of the best times to spot the baby is when the lemurs are sunning on the trees outside each morning. The baby is often snuggled on Rogue’s chest while she stretches out in the warm sunshine.

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Come behind the scenes to see how our one-month-old Red River hoglet is doing! It (we haven’t identified the baby’s sex yet) is growing and bonding well with first-time mom, Zena. African Rift Valley Keeper, Brooke, is here to give you an update on this very energetic little hog, and to answer the big questions:

  • Is it a boy or a girl?
    — We don’t know yet. The baby is doing so well, we haven’t had a need to interrupt its bonding time with mom.
  • What’s it’s name?
    — We don’t have concrete naming plans yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
  • When can we see it?
    — We’re working on introducing the baby, Zena and Huey. We’ll definitely let you know as soon as you can visit this cutie at #CMZoo.

Learn more about how this young one is warming up to its keepers, zooming around and testing new foods. Guests can see dad, Huey, in the Red River hog yard near the giraffe barn, which he shares on rotation with Ari, our 19-year-old female Red River hog.

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG WITH THE ARRIVAL OF A RING-TAILED LEMUR BABY AND A RED RIVER HOGLET – Two first-time animal moms at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed their babies just in time for Mother’s Day this year! Rogue, a ring-tailed lemur, gave birth on Monday, April 26, and Zena, a Red River hog, welcomed her little piglet on Saturday, April 24. Both moms and babies seem to be bonding and doing well.

Rogue, an 8-year-old ring-tailed lemur, is the proud mom of a fluffy 4-day-old baby, with the same markings as adult lemurs – complete with mini tufted ears and a long black-and-white striped tail. The baby’s sex has not been identified, and likely won’t be for several months. Because mom and baby are doing so well, keepers won’t intervene unless necessary.

The baby is showing signs it’s strong. Keepers say the baby even chooses to cuddle upside-down sometimes, with a firm grip on mom’s chest and stomach, as she moves around. Although lemur fathers don’t typically play an active role in raising their young, 3-year-old dad, Hercules, is curious about his baby. Keepers say Hercules has approached Rogue and the baby, and mom lets dad sniff the baby while she keeps it safe in her arms.

This is the first lemur born at CMZoo in 15 years, and the first baby of any kind born at Water’s Edge: Africa – CMZoo’s new exhibit for hippos, penguins, warthogs, pelicans, lemurs and more. Guests may catch glimpses of the baby on Lemur Island, located in the center of the indoor hippo pool, right away.

“We knew Rogue was expecting, and we are excited to welcome our first Water’s Edge baby to the world,” said Philip Waugh, lead Water’s Edge: Africa keeper. “When we came to work Monday morning, we could see Rogue carrying this tiny little baby around so delicately and being really attentive. It’s been exciting watching the baby, but it’s been even more special watching Rogue embrace this role so naturally. It’s amazing how she just knows what to do.”

Seven-year-old Zena’s keepers say she’s adapting to motherhood well, too. The Red River hog is also a first-time mom who seems to know exactly what to do, even though her 6-day-old youngster looks a lot different than she does. The baby’s sex has not been identified and likely won’t be for another few weeks.

“This is the cutest baby you’ve ever seen in your life,” said Brooke Powell, African Rift Valley keeper and Zena’s primary trainer. “It’s about the size of Zena’s snout, and it’s a beautiful orange-red color with white stripes and spots on its body. It’s so small, but it can move! It’s been super active, running and bouncing around. We love it.”

Zena came to CMZoo on a breeding recommendation with Huey. Thirteen-year-old Huey has been a great father in the past, when he welcomed one offspring in 2015 and three hoglets to CMZoo with his mate, Ari, in 2013. Red River hog fathers, unlike many species, are active in raising their young. For now, while Zena is protective of her little one, they’re giving mom and baby time to bond alone, and will plan to introduce Huey later.

“Zena is an awesome mom” said Powell. “She’s really protective, which is great, and she lets her keepers look at the baby. She makes sure baby is following her wherever she goes, too. They’re really snuggly with each other, and Zena is certainly making sure that little piggy gets plenty to eat.”

Guests won’t see the young Red River hog for at least a few weeks, while Zena and the baby bond together and stay nice and warm indoors. They will start to venture out when Colorado’s weather is a little more predictable.

About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. In 2020, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #4 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #2 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Of the 233 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just a few operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.

Join us as we check in with BB, our six-month-old reticulated giraffe calf. BB is sassy, smart and outgoing, which means she’s a natural when it comes to training. Check in with Lead Animal Keeper, Amy, as she tells us what BB’s been up to, and how she’s making a name for herself in our herd of 17 long-necked friends.

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Tune in for an update on BB! Keepers estimate that this growing girl now weighs about 160 pounds, up more than 40 pounds since her birth on September 28. She has also started eating solid foods, like elm browse. Because she is interested in solid foods, her keepers can tell that her rumen – the first chamber of a giraffe’s four-chambered stomach – is developing well.

BB is becoming more curious about her keepers, which is really fun for them. It’s also helpful in building a trusting relationship with BB that will support future training efforts. On warm days, she is outside with the herd, enjoying the sun and zooming around the yard. See BB daily on our giraffe cams and on the temporary indoor cam, available while buildings are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, at cmzoo.org/giraffecam.

Our baby Siamang has a name, thanks to you! We received more than 4,300 votes to name this precious little girl and the resounding favorite is Rahsia (RAH’-see-uh). Over the last month, #CMZoo partnered with Children’s Hospital Colorado to invite fans from all over the world to cast their votes to help name this adorable little girl. The name Rahsia is Malay for “secret,” and keepers say it suits their surprise bundle of joy perfectly.

Keepers want to send a great, big THANK YOU to everyone who donated items from the baby registry. The Siamangs have been thoroughly enjoying the blankets, saucer swings and yummy treats you sent.

Thanks for voting to help us name Eve and Wayan’s baby! To learn more about how Rahsia, Wayan and Eve are doing since their surprise baby was born on Labor Day, read our latest Waterhole article about the family.

Our little giraffe calf is one month old today! Two of her keepers, Amy and Tori, are here with the update we know you’ve all been waiting for. It’s time to name the baby! This calf has the honor of being named by the care team that has helped her grow over the past month.

The female Siamang born on Labor Day in Primate World to parents, Eve and Wayan, is growing well and will soon get a name! Our partner, Children’s Hospital Colorado, partnered with us to invite the public to vote on four names chosen by the baby’s keepers.

The public can vote on her name through Sunday, Nov. 1, at cmzoo.org/baby.

The names on the list, chosen by the keepers are:

  • Binti, which is Indonesian for “daughter”
  • Rahsia (RAH’-see-uh), which is Malay for “secret,” since she was a surprise baby
  • Rosie, after Rosie the Riveter, since the baby was born on Labor Day
  • Naomi, the real name of the woman who became known as Rosie the Riveter

Although the baby was a surprise, she and her family are bonding and growing together as expected. As firs-time parents, Eve and Wayan follow their instincts to support their baby’s needs. Children’s Hospital Colorado compiled a list of 10 common questions first-time human parents might have.

“Not a whole lot has changed since she was born, other than she gets more and more adorable,” said Eleanor Knox, Primate World keeper and Eve’s primary trainer. “She’s still staying on mom a lot, but we’re starting to see her reach out to touch things. She seems pretty curious so far. She’ll touch my finger just a little bit when Eve comes over to see me. That’s super cute.”

Nine-year old Eve and 12-year-old Wayan are first-time parents, but have picked up parenting without skipping a beat. For about the first week, Eve would hold the baby in one arm and swing around with the other. Since then, the baby has shown Eve that she’s strong and can hang on tight – even when Eve climbs high up into the corners of her outdoor space – so Eve can use both arms to swing with confidence.

“Eve is really confident with the baby now,” said Knox. “That’s great to see because it means the baby appears to be strong and that Eve is comfortable with her. Eve has been really good with us keepers, too. She’s been coming over to us with the baby and letting us get close looks at the little one to see if she’s okay. We have a close relationship with Eve, so she’s been really good about letting us touch the baby, too, just very lightly while she hangs on to mom. That’s going to be important in developing our relationship with the baby, which will allow us to start working on voluntary behaviors that help her participate in her own care when the time comes.”

The baby will continue to nurse for up to two years, but could start tasting solid foods around three months. Her interest in solid foods helps solidify her relationship with keepers, as they can reinforce her behaviors and show her that it’s a positive thing to interact with them.

“We’re already starting working on training, but it’s a slow process,” said Knox. “We’ve started touching her a little if Eve brings her close enough to the mesh and is comfortable, so baby can get used to interacting with us. The next step will be getting her really comfortable taking food from keepers, so we can reward her. In terms of a specific trained behavior, we could start with practicing for an injection. The little guys need injections pretty early, so we start working on that relationship and behavior as soon as possible.”

Many of the primates in Primate World are trained for voluntary injections, including 2-year-old Kera, a Sumatran orangutan born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Their experience training for this behavior with other primates will benefit this little one, too.

“We ask them to present their hips and start with a touch with our fingers,” said Knox. “Once they’re comfortable with that, we’ll touch them with something else, like a pencil, so they are comfortable with receiving the touch from an object instead of our hands. We usually introduce a syringe without a needle, next then a syringe with a dull needle, and finally a normal needle and syringe. It takes time and we want to make sure she’s really comfortable with every step before her first injection.”

Siamangs receive tetanus and rabies vaccines, typically. The training is helpful in case her care team needs to intervene with injectable medications to address any unforeseen medical concerns.

Wayan, the baby’s dad and the last Siamang born at CMZoo before his baby girl, is also bonding with the baby and maintaining his great relationship with Eve.

“She could start moving off of mom as early as five or six months old,” said Knox. “After that happens, the dads will usually play a bigger role in carrying the baby and playing, with mom’s permission. That timeline can really vary, though, especially with a first-time mom. For now, Wayan is grooming the baby while Eve holds her. Grooming and rest time is pretty adorable. Eve will lie down with her head in Wayan’s lap and the baby on her chest and he grooms the both of them while mom has a moment to relax. He’s been great. He sticks pretty close to them, but is respectful of Eve when she shows him she’d like a little space, too.”

Having adjusted to family life so well, the Siamangs’ new neighbors, white-cheeked gibbons Debbie and Tanh-Linh who moved to Primate World from Monkey Pavilion, have been their latest focus.

“Eve is really curious about them,” said Knox. “They can see each other from their yards and through the windows between them in their indoor exhibits. Wayan is cautious, which is just his personality. The gibbons are settling in well, and are really used to having neighbors from their previous home in Monkey Pavilion.”

Several CMZoo fans have given the family new things to be curious about, too. As part of the naming vote, people can send the family gifts from a registry listed at cmzoo.org/baby. Keepers and the animals have been excited for the support.

“We’re super excited and thankful that we’ve been receiving items from the baby registry,” said Knox. “We have received food, blankets and swings, which Eve really seems to enjoy. We see her hanging out on the swing with the baby pretty often. We were lucky to get three of the saucer swings, so we have placed one inside and one outside for the Siamangs and shared one with the white-cheeked gibbons.”

Baby, Eve and Wayan are often visible to guests, but as they continue to bond, they might choose to spend quiet time in their back den. Visitors can say hello to the new family in Primate World. CMZoo will announce the baby’s name on social media channels after voting has closed on Nov. 1.

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