Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content VIDEO: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo keepers have hands full with herd of baby animals

By Kristina Iodice Published: May 23, 2013

The pitter-patter of little feet sounds more like a herd at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

May has been a month of babies. A red river hoglet, a porcupette, three lynx kittens and two wallaby joeys arrived in recent weeks.

The baby porcupine was born on May 8, soon followed by the lynx kittens. The hoglet arrived late the following day.

"It was quite unexpected for all these births to be so close together," said Roxanna Breitigan, zoo animal care manager.

A male red river hoglet can be spotted with his family in the Red River Hog exhibit across from the zoo's giraffe building. Weighing in at about two pounds, he's the smallest one in the bunch which includes, mother Ari, father Hubert and 2-year-old siblings Akoni and Safara.

"He's very quick," Breitigan said. The hoglet often walks under the larger hogs for protection, and his black and red stripes are for camouflage.

The baby North American porcupine was born to first-time parents Nale and Elan. Nale came to the zoo last summer, and Elan was born there.

Counting the tiny quills, the baby weighed a little over a pound when he was born, but is already about half a pound heavier. It will be at least a month before zoo veterinarians can determine if it's a boy or a girl.

Porcupines are great climbers, and the little one is already exploring his exhibit in Rocky Mountain Wild.

Three lynx kittens were also born on May 8 to mother, Migina and father, Kajika. It's the first time the threatened species has bred at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

The lynx family is staying out of sight for now. Mom and babies won't be allowed into the public viewing area for at least six weeks.

Although zoo staff are keeping a close watch on all of the new arrivals, for the most part they are leaving the care up to the parents.

"We want mom and dad to raise them," said Breitigan. "They are doing great."

Two other young ones are new to the zoo, but they were born in Texas and came to Colorado on May 2. The young wallabies can be seen in the Wallaby Walkabout. The zoo had the opportunity to foster them for the summer and wanted to give guests a chance to connect with them, said Erica Meyer, zoo public relations manager. Although young, they're too old for their mothers' pouches.

Of all the young critters, only the wallaby joeys have names: The six-month-old female is Peanut and seven-month-old male is Munchkin.

It's a tradition at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo that newborns are not named until they're at least a month old, giving keepers a chance to get to learn their personalities.

The newest addition to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's giraffe herd was recently named. The male giraffe was born Jan. 20 and zoo workers chose the name. Kipawa, meaning "gift" in Swahili, is mingling with the herd and snacking on lettuce in the African Rift Valley.

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Contact Kristina Iodice: 636-0162 Twitter @GazetteKristina Facebook Kristina Iodice

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