San Antonio Zoo experiences ‘quarantine baby boom’

From lemur twins to a southern tamandua, the zoo welcomes its newest residents

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Zoo happily reported Tuesday that a number of new additions have been born in captivity while much of the country is still under a “shelter in place” order.

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Chinese Hwamei egg, image courtesy of San Antonio Zoo.

According to a press release by Jennifer Pue, director of public relations & integrated marketing for the San Antonio Zoo, the Hwamei chicks arrived just in time for Mother’s Day. The birth marks the first time Hwamei chicks were born at the zoo.

“The Hwamei is a passerine bird of eastern Asia that lays a distinctive egg, which is turquoise blue,” Pue stated in the press release.

The zoo welcomed a baby Tamandua, native to South America and known as a lesser Anteater, an insectivore who uses their long sticky tongue to grab various bugs. This is the fourth Tamandua to be born at the zoo.

Tamandua with mom, image courtesy of San Antonio Zoo. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

A set of critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur twins were also welcomed by staff members and first-time mom Zaza. Pue reports that the twins are healthy and bonding with their mother in an off habitat maternity den. It has been more than 30 years since the zoo has had a birth of a black-and-white ruffed lemur, the release said.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur twins, image courtesy of the San Antonio Zoo. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Perhaps not as cuddly as the newborn mammals and featuring a face only a mother could love, the zoo welcomed the hatching of two Yunnan Mountain rat snakes. This successful hatching marks the first hatch for the zoo’s herpetology team. The team also welcomed the hatches of the Philippine tree skink and several Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos.

Yunnan Mountain Rat Snake, image courtesy of the San Antonio Zoo. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

In a press release, San Antonio Zoo President and CEO Tim Morrow said the additions of the animals marks the success of the Zoo’s Animal Care Specialists.

“As always I am very proud of our Animal Care Specialists for all their hard work, dedication, and passion they bring to zoo daily,” Morrow said in the release. “These successful births are a result of the excellent care the animals receive and are key to continuing our mission of securing a future for wildlife.”

The following is a list of changes to Zoo operations procedures for guests:

  • Face masks for guests ages 10 and older are strongly recommended when you visit the San Antonio Zoo.
    • Face masks will be required for all animal interactions.
  • Reentry will not be allowed after exiting.
  • For your convenience and safety, there will be dozens of hand-sanitizer stations placed throughout the zoo courtesy of H-E-B.
  • Zoo Crew will be regularly cleaning and disinfecting knobs, rails, and other surfaces commonly touched throughout the zoo.
  • Bathroom facilities are open and will be cleaned regularly.
  • Social distancing markers will be placed on pathways, in front of habitats, and in restrooms.
  • Please maintain a safe distance of 6-feet from the nearest guest that’s not in your herd during your zoo visit.
  • Our restaurants will be open with enhanced safety measures to ensure your herd has a safe and fun experience.
  • No tables of more than 10 people.
  • Restaurants locations will operate for service up to 50% of total listed occupancy inside the location.
  • Retail locations will operate for service up to 25% of total listed occupancy inside the location.
  • Restaurants and Retail locations will regulate the number of people inside each location to help maintain location occupancy.
  • Please be prepared to pay using a valid credit or debit card at San Antonio Zoo. VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, and Discover are accepted. Some locations accept Apple Pay and Android Pay. The ability to use cash is very limited.
  • Due to our limitations, some enclosed spaces and animal interactions will be closed during our initial re-opening phase. The following areas are temporarily closed:
    • Butterfly House
    • Lory Landing
    • Kangaroo Krossing
    • Water fountains (please visit our restaurants for complimentary water)

About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.