Spring awakening at Hellabrunn Zoo
With the current weather so unpredictable it is hard to tell whether the winter chill will last a bit longer or when sunshine and warmth will prevail. But inside the zoo the dawn of spring is plain to see in the vegetation that covers the 40-hectare nature reserve, and above all among the animals.
Olga, the European brown bear, has just woken up from her winter sleep, just in time for the Easter holidays. The 39-years-old bear is as healthy and happy as ever. In mid-October, having built up her fat reserves, which increased her weight to about 170 kg, she withdrew to her straw bed. For almost five months she only drank once every four days and ate only an apple or a few vegetables. Olga emerged from her hibernation slim and lean into the spring sunshine. Brown bears generally lose about 20 to 30 kg during hibernation, but this is regained quickly once they resume their normal diet. Also back from hibernation are the prairie dogs, who can now be seen running around on the bison enclosure. Of all the overwintering animals at Hellabrunn, only the marmots have yet to stir. They will not appear until after Easter, when the days are longer and temperatures have risen.
Springtime is a time for new births – Monkeys at Hellabrunn give birth to two sets of twins
New births were recorded throughout the zoo, both among native as well as exotic species. Hellabrunn Zoo is home to more than 750 species of animals. Zoo director Rasem Baban is particularly delighted with the recent birth of highly endangered species from West Africa: "On 19 February, a pair of drill twins were born in our Monkey World! This is something truly special as it is only the third birth of drill twins in captivity ever recorded in the world. Hellabrunn Zoo coordinates the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and maintains the International Stud Book for this species."
The two infant monkeys with white faces, protruding ears and bristly hair still cling to the protective belly of their mother Afi (10 years), who takes loving care of them. In addition to the twins' father Bakut (13), other members of the drill group at Hellabrunn Zoo are the female Kaduna (11) and the juveniles Nepomuk, Napongo, Oneto and Pinto born in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Another reason for the excitement surrounding the birth is the sex of the four-week-old infants: after four little boys in recent years, the zoo not only has another boy, but also a girl!
In spring 2016, the Monkey World not only witnessed the birth of one set of twins, but two! The second set of twins were born to the ring-tailed lemurs on 26 February. In the wild, ring-tailed lemurs can only be found on the island of Madagascar. Barely a few weeks old, the baby lemurs are still quite attached to their mother's stomach, but are now beginning to climb on her back and play around there. The twins' parents are five-year-old Ludwina, the mother, and Markus, the father, who will be four years old on 19 March. The sex of the ring-tailed lemur twins is yet to be determined.
The lemurs' distinguishing feature is their long, black and white striped tail. In the sunshine they like to sit with outstretched arms and enjoy the warming rays much in the same way as sunbathers. They love treats such as bananas, apples or mangoes, but also like to eat spinach, chard and any form of salad.
New enclosure for Indian pythons in the Jungle House
Lastly, there is something completely new to discover in the Jungle House. A newly created, beautiful nature inspired enclosure is now home to two dark Indian pythons. The large snakes can be seen climbing rocks and trees and hiding in the pool in their ca. 40 m2 terrarium. The Asian constrictors are only fed every 14 days. Their diet comprises mainly rats and rabbits. The two animals are male, about four feet long and weigh more than 40 kg. Hellabrunn Zoo is currently offering snake fans an opportunity to adopt an Indian Python. To find out more please ask a member of staff at the service center at the Flamingo Entrance or visit us online at www.hellabrunn.de/patenschaften.