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Love Around the Zoo

Feb. 10, 2018

budgie chicksIt isn’t just visitors and keepers loving our animals this month. There’s also plenty of love going around the zoo…

Listen out as you pass the budgie house – can you hear all those squawks? Our budgies may have gone inside for the winter but they’ve kept busy, hatching 17 chicks in their warm housing behind the scenes. Chicks start out bald, then gradually grow a downy gray fluff. They’ll have all their blue, green or yellow feathers by the time Budgie Buddies opens May 12-13.

Down at the Asia Forest Sanctuary, our tapirs have been falling in love! Both three years old, Yuna (female) and Baku (male) know each other by smell and sound, but usually spend their days separately, as they would in the wild.

But when Yuna cycles into estrus (female breeding time) every month, our keepers open up their behind-the-scenes spaces so they can see each other too, which will make their eventual meeting more relaxed.

“They can get really excited,” says staff biologist Christy Webster. “They prance and run around.”

And they also make a lot of fascinating noises: a sneezing kind of hiccup and high-pitched squeals. Keep your ears open as you walk by!

As for babies, the Asia team is still in the planning stage. But Yuna and Baku – both Malayan tapirs, an endangered species – are able to breed, and Webster would love some tapir calves.

“That’s our dream,” she says with a smile.

-Rosemary Ponnekanti, PDZA