Several endangered species got a boost in January, thanks to births at zoos around the world. Here are some of the new arrivals.
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This male grey seal pup was born January 1, 2014 at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo to momma seal Lily. It’s the first of its kind ever born at Brookfield, which now claims the largest zoo population of grey seals (six) in a North American zoo or aquarium. North Atlantic grey seals are abundant, but pollution and hunting have harmed the Baltic Sea subspecies, which is considered “endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Chicago Zoological Society
This female Rothschild’s Giraffe was born on January 25, 2014 at the United Kingdom’s Paignton Zoo. This giraffe subspecies still lives wild in Kenya and Uganda, but at such low and still decreasing population numbers that the IUCN Red List is on the verge of listing it as “critically endangered.” Paignton Zoo
Momma lion Nababiep gave birth to two live cubs and one stillborn on January 24, 2014, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Lions in the wild are considered ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Smithsonian’s National Zoo
This Guam Micronesian kingfisher chick was born on January 1, 2014 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.. According to the zoo, this brings the total population to 129 worldwide, all living in captivity. Guam kingfishers were nearly wiped out by the invasive brown tree snake on its native Guam. Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Twin Nepalese red panda cubs, born January 3, 2014 at the Auckland Zoo, in New Zealand. The species is highly endangered in the wild, according to WWF, because its native forest habitats in Nepal and China are being cut down. Auckland Zoo
UPDATE: After this gallery first ran, reader Jake W. let us know that Sweet Pea the shark ray, resident of Kentucky’s Newport Aquarium, successfully gave birth to three female and three male pups on January 24, 2014. (A seventh pup didn’t survive.) Shark rays (also called bowmouth guitarfish or mud skates) are native to Indo-West Pacific tropical waters. Pressures in the wild include overfishing, the shark fin trade, habitat destruction, and pollution; the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals designates the species as “vulnerable” across most of its range. Newport Aquarium