Animal News



Zoo New England participates in Species Survival Plans (SSP) for several of our animals. SSPs began in 1981 as cooperative multi-institutional population management and conservation programs for selected species at North American zoos and aquariums SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a genetically healthy, and demographically stable captive population. Institutions participating in an SSP share their collective knowledge to establish husbandry and reproductive guidelines that secure the survival of the captive population as a safeguard to possible species extinction.


falconsAfrican pygmy falcon chicks hatch at Franklin Park Zoo
Hatched February 3 and 8, 2014

Since the hatches of two African pygmy falcon chicks, the staff at Franklin Park Zoo has been busy with regular feedings and care of the tiny birds. While Zoo New England’s animal management and veterinary staff prefer to have baby animals raised by their mothers, as they would be in the wild, these chicks are being hand-reared by zoo staff to ensure their survival. Because the chicks’ parents are first-time parents and their incubation behavior was determined unskilled for successful hatching, the eggs were removed from the nest for artificial incubation. Likewise, the parents have no parental rearing skills and placing newly hatched chicks back in the nest is risky. Therefore, staff decided to intervene and hand-rear the chicks...Full story

African pygmy falcons are small raptors native to the arid and semi-arid grasslands of eastern and southern Africa. These birds, which can weigh 54 to 90 grams full-grown, are among the smallest of the falcon species. Franklin Park Zoo has exhibited African pygmy falcons since 1999. The chicks are the offspring of a female that hatched at Franklin Park Zoo in 2012.


Inocencio settles in
February 19, 2014

Inocencio, Franklin Park Zoo’s newest resident, is now settled comfortably in his exhibit in the Tropical Forest. The two-year-old pygmy hippo will rotate time in the exhibit with Cleopatra, the Zoo’s female pygmy hippo. Be sure to look for Inocencio snacking on romaine lettuce or pushing his boomer ball (one of the Zoo’s many animal enrichment items) through the water!

Check out Inocencio's full photo gallery on our Facebook page.


Photos courtesy of Kim Kezer and Sarah Woodruff


InocencioFranklin Park Zoo welcomes pygmy hippo, Inocencio!
December, 2013

Veterinarians, wildlife and customs officials, and zoo staff were on hand to greet Inocencio (Ino-sen-si-o), a young pygmy hippo, when his plane touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on December 20, 2013. He then traveled with zoo staff to his new home at Franklin Park Zoo, arriving just in time for Christmas and his second birthday on December 28.

The animal was imported from the Parque Zoologico Buin Zoo in Chile where he was born. While field research is underway (supported by both USFWS and Zoo New England), an accurate count on pygmy hippo numbers in the wild is not currently known.

In the interest of conserving the species, the hope is that he’ll breed with a female pygmy hippo, Cleopatra, already residing in the Zoo’s Tropical Forest exhibit. The North American captive pygmy hippo population is small — with only about 61 individuals — and highly skewed toward females, so Incencio is crucial to the effort to create a self-sustaining population.

View full story and photos from Inocencio's arrival in the U.S!

 Sad Goodbyes

snow leopardMarch 6, 2014

Zoo New England’s Stone Zoo is sad to report that Tang, a female snow leopard, died on February 28.

The 19-year-old snow leopard, who made her home in Stone Zoo’s Himalayan Highlands, was being treated for chronic kidney disease and age-degenerative issues with her spine. In the days leading up to her death, her spinal issues started to affect her hind legs and she had stopped responding to medication. Due to this, the Zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize her.

The veterinary and animal care staff takes extraordinary care of the geriatric animals as they do with all of the animals in our collection,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Director of Veterinary Services. “With our older animals, we do everything we can to ensure they enjoy a comfortable life as they continue to age, which is often far longer than the median life expectancy. Tang will be greatly missed by the staff and the many visitors who came to see her throughout the years.”


Snow leopard photo by Sandy Elliott