Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review of the year part 1 - Bristol 2012

We are nearly at the end of 2012 so we will finish off the year with some of the new highlights from the last twelve months, starting with Bristol Zoo in this post and finishing off with some round the world news next week

Newborn stingray
Babies have been born to two new stingrays which arrived at Bristol Zoo last summer.

Nine ocellated freshwater stingray pups were born last week after two new females were introduced to the Zoo’s male stingray last year.

The new females, sisters named Catalina & Genevieve, arrived at Bristol Zoo from

Weston Seaquarium and have wasted little time in breeding. Catalina has produced six pups and three pups are from Genevieve.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Unhappy as Clams

One of the smaller tanks in the aquarium has a new exhibit – a small member of one of the largest bivalves on earth, the Southern Giant Clam Tridacna derasa. With a maximum size of 60cm, it exceeded only by T.gigas, which can reach nearly 1m across. While they are of course exceeded in mass by several species of squid, for a mollusc that is still a pretty respectable size, and the weight of the heavy shell increases their bulk. This giant size is all the odder when it turns out they are actually most closely related to the standard small cockles, Cerastoderma, that can be found around the shores of the UK. This is not due to an especially long life, but rather rapid growth rates – they can be 30cm across within 10 years in some species.

Monday, 10 December 2012

New Arrivals: Ground Cuscus

Ground Cuscus
Recently gone on show in Twilight World is one of the few species of marsupial (other than kangaroos and wallabies) to be seen in zoos outside Australia – a pair of Ground Cuscus Phalanger gymnotis. Closely related to the Brushtail Possum Trichosurus arnhemensis which is widely spread throughout Australia, and as an introduced species is a major threat to New Zealand’s native fauna, the Ground Cuscus is currently listed as Least Concern, although deforestation and over-hunting may be a cause of local declines. It is quite a widespread species however, so as a species it is not in any especial trouble.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Update: Return of the deadly teddy bears

This is a repost of one of my earlier posts on this blog in honour of our latest arrivals - newborn Pygmy Slow Lorises Nycticebus pygmaeues. Hope you like it!
Pygmy Slow Loris N.pygmaeus
Prowling through the forests of West Africa and Asia are a group of nocturnal primates distantly related to bushbabies and lemurs. Varying in size from a half grown guinea pig to a ring-tailed lemur, the lorises are an ancient group, with a fossil record dating back 40 million years or more.