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San Diego Animals

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SAN DIEGO — Zoo officials say they don’t know why a hippopotamus calf born earlier this week died.

hippoThe baby hippo was found dead in its enclosure Thursday morning.

The baby was born five days earlier, and animal keepers said it kept so close to its mother, Funami, that they couldn’t get determine if it was male or female.

It was Funani’s fifth calf, the zoo said. She last gave birth in 2011. The father is named Otis.

Hippopotamuses are a threatened species, facing both natural predators and man-made dangers such as poaching, according to the zoo.

SAN DIEGO — A river hippopotamus born at the San Diego Zoo four days ago spent time with its mother Wednesday lounging in their 150,000-gallon pool.

The mother, Funani, has kept the calf so close that animal keepers have not been able to determine if the baby is male or female.

“Funani knows the drill by now, since this is her fifth calf,” said Jennifer Chapman, senior keeper at the zoo. “She is a great mother and has been keeping a very close eye on the little one.”

Funani last gave birth in 2011. The father is named Otis.

According to the zoo, the river hippopotamus is a threatened species, facing both natural predators and man-made dangers such as poaching.

With so many obstacles in the wild, mother hippos are known to be very protective of their newborns. Hippo calves typically nurse for about eight months, so the mother and calf will remain close together for the next few months.

SAN DIEGO – A gorilla that gave birth via cesarean section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park nearly two weeks held her baby for the first time Monday.

Imani physically met her daughter Monday after animal care staff placed the 12-day-old unnamed gorilla on a soft hay pile, zoo officials said.

“Imani has been extremely attached, holding and constantly carrying around the young gorilla,” zoo officials said.

The young gorilla was picked up, carried and cradled around her mother’s bedroom area. She clung and held onto her back as she walked around.

Baby-Gorilla-meets-mom-for-first-timeAnimal care staff let other members of the gorilla troop have visual contact with Imani and the baby through a protective mesh barrier.

“Initially she was just carrying the baby, she never set the baby down,” said Andrew Stallard, animal care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “About three hours in, she began nursing the baby. After about a five-minute bout, the baby fell asleep, which is exactly what we were looking for, so we were really excited!”

The baby gorilla was observed nursing, but staff will continue to closely monitor the infant to make sure she is getting the nutrition she needs. This is the first baby for Imani and the 17th gorilla to be born at the Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby.

The young gorilla was hospitalized immediately following the birth. She initially showed complications believed to be related to the difficult labor. She received oxygen and supplemental fluids and later underwent treatment for a collapsed lung and pneumonia. Animal care staff released her from the hospital on Friday after she showed signs of improvement.

SAN DIEGO — The baby gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park remained under 24-hour care Monday as she battles pneumonia.

The baby, born Wednesday by cesarean section, is being treated by the park’s veterinary staff and neonatal specialists from UC San Diego Health.

First Look at San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Baby Girl GorillaOn Friday, underwent surgery to inflate one lung that collapsed.

“We’ve been working with the baby all weekend and after having several days of experience treating her, it’s pretty obvious that we’ve been dealing with pneumonia,” said Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the park. “It probably occurred at about the time of birth.”

The mother, 18-year-old Imani, is recovering from the birth of her first offspring, according to park officials.

The baby is the 17th gorilla born at the Safari Park. Eight, including the newborn, currently reside at the facility.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A 12-day-old lamb was shaken but not seriously injured Thursday night when the vehicle she was in was involved in a car crash in Escondido.

The lamb, named Mayballine,  was riding in her cage in the back of an SUV when it was hit by a car Thursday night. It happened at the intersection of Mission Avenue and Fig Street.

Police said there is major damage to the SUV, but Maybelline’s owner, Pamela Glickman, said the lamb was not seriously injured.

“She looks like she’s doing fine. She was definitely shaken up, but with a warm hug and warm milk, I think she’s doing OK,” Glickman said.

Glickman is a veterinarian and was on her way back from an animal rescue when the accident happened.

SAN DIEGO — A baby gorilla was born by cesarean section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and is undergoing treatment at the facility’s veterinary center, zoo officials announced Thursday.

First Look at San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Baby Girl GorillaThe female newborn is the first offspring for 18-year-old Imani.

Zoo officials said Imani began showing signs of labor Wednesday morning, but no indication of progress was seen later in the day, so it was decided to have her undergo the c-section.

The full-term baby, weighing 4.6 pounds, was delivered at 6:30 p.m. by a team of San Diego Zoo Global staff and outside consultants, including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from UCSD Medical Center.

The newborn is showing some complications believed to be related to the difficult labor, and she is receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the veterinary hospital, according to zoo reports.

“In retrospect the c-section was the right decision,” Safari Park Associate Director of Veterinary Services Nadine Lamberski said. “We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer.”

Officials at the park said Imani was recovering in the gorilla bedroom area.

The baby is the 17th gorilla to be born at the Safari Park, now home to eight members of the species, including the newborn.

SAN DIEGO — Little Girl, Lady and John Sears arrived outside City Hall — wet, tired-looking, and determined to deliver a “declaration of emergency.”

“We’re all mules,” said Sears, initially declining to give his name or that of the two animals.

In Sears’ hand was a declaration seeking the construction of more trails that men and their mules can traverse: “a first necessary step to bring balance between the megatropolis and the natural world.”

It’s a message that Sears, age 66, Little Girl, 32, and Lady, 20, have brought to communities from Bonita near the Mexican border to San Francisco.

“We have bike trails, we have roads for cars, but nothing for mules,” Sears explained to a reporter who had been waiting for an interview with the mayor-elect.

Mules don’t often appear at City Hall and a small crowd gathered. A police officer, on security duty in the lobby, came out to the plaza outside to greet the unexpected arrivals.

“Can I help you?” asked Officer Clinton Castle.

Castle took the declaration and went back inside and then returned with a time-stamp showing that the document had been received and would be forwarded to the appropriate person.

Officialdom has not always been that welcoming.

When Sears, Little Girl and Lady were sleeping at Torrey Pines State Reserve  they got a $185 citation for illegal camping.

Sharon Sherman, a Coronado attorney who specializes in probate matters, agreed to represent Sears pro bono. She’s friends with John McDonald, a film-maker who created a website for Sears.

On Jan. 29, the day the matter was set for court, it was dropped by prosecutors “in the interest of justice.”

“He’s a man with a deep belief that people and mules should have the same right to walk through the country as cars do to drive,” Sherman explained by telephone.

The picaresque lifestyle does not include a permanent home.

“He lives where he walks, he lives off the land,” Sherman said. “He does not consider himself homeless, he just has a home that is different.”

Back at the plaza outside City Hall, Sears thanked Castle for taking his declaration. One of the mules then dropped several green and smelly clumps on the plaza floor.


KoalaSAN DIEGO – A koala escaped from his enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Tuesday, a zoo official confirmed.

Animal care staff discovered an empty enclosure at 9 a.m. and immediately started searching for the missing male Queensland koala, according to San Diego Zoo spokeswoman Jenny Mehlow.

The 2-year-old koala “Mundu” was found hanging out in a nearby tree on zoo property, she said.

Zookeepers were waiting for the zoo to close to the public to attempt to lure the koala down from the tree.

He’ll get a visual check by veterinarians, then he’ll go back into Australian Outback where he’ll be in an off exhibit area for observation, Mehlow said.

SAN DIEGO — A coyote killed a 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier and injured two other dogs in a rare daytime attack in the yard of a Rancho Santa Fe residence, officials with animal center announced Thursday.

Officials with the Helen Woodward Animal Center issued a warning Thursday in hopes of preventing similar incidents.

According to officials with the center, Evon Warner left her four dogs in her fenced backyard as she left to run an errand about 11 a.m. Wednesday. When she returned less than an hour later, she found her 2-year-old Dachshund “Heiny” suffering from bite wounds to his stomach and shoulder; her 8-year- old Poodle-terrier mix, “Lily,” with severe wounds to her head and neck; and 9-year old Shih Tzu, “Mikey,” uninjured.Animal Stories – Wyatt Lily2 lo res

The Jack Russell terrier “Wyatt” was fatally injured.

“I’m sure he was protecting them,” Werner told center officials. “He was fearless. He had to distract the coyote to save them.”

Werner said neighbors told her they had heard noises then saw a coyote jumping over her 7-foot steel fence.

A coyote bite to the neck tends to be fatal as coyotes instinctively break the necks of their victims, according to the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The two injured canines were treated at Helen Woodward’s Companion Animal Hospital and were placed on antibiotics and pain medication, according to animal center officials.

Animal officials said they’ve seen coyote attacks before. Last year, a 2-year-old Maltipoo named Sophie protected a puppy from a coyote attack.  Both dogs survived the attack.

Helen Woodward Animal Center and the Companion Animal Hospital staff said pet owners should keep pets inside between dusk and early morning — when coyotes hunt primarily hunt for food — and use a short leash if heading outside for a bathroom break. Pet owners should also avoid leaving food in their yards, including pet food and fruit that has fallen from trees.

Animal Stories – Wyatt Heiny lo resNighttime walks should be avoided, or if absolutely necessary, pet- owners should use a very short leash.

Backyard fences should be at least 6 feet high to prevent coyotes from leaping over. Coyotes are also known to dig, so animal center officials recommended installing a vinyl lattice 2 to 3 feet below ground.