Page 73 - Galveston Monthly - September 2017

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our new friends are calling the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid home
after two births in July and the addition of two male Giant River Otters. The
stork was busy last month, delivering a Blue Duiker calf and, just a week
later, a Prehensile-Tailed porcupette.
The female Blue Duiker, named Soksi (Swahili for “socks”), was born July 22 to
proud parents Basi, age 3, who came to Moody Gardens from the Kansas City Zoo
in 2015, and Ruben, 6, who arrived in December 2016 from Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
Blue Duikers are one of the smallest antelope. They are native to central, eastern
and southern Africa. While Blue Duikers are fairly common, they are threatened by
habitat loss and hunted for bush meat. They are longer than they are tall, reaching
22-35 inches in length and 13-16 inches in height. They can weigh between seven
and twenty pounds and have short, spiky horns on their heads.
“This is our first breeding here at Moody Gardens and we are happy to welcome
the new baby,” said Paula Kolvig,
Moody Gardens assistant curator
of the Rainforest Pyramid, who
also commented on the affiliation
with the Association of Zoos
and Aquariums (AZA). “As an
AZA accredited organization, we
work closely with other zoos and
aquariums on several conservation
and breeding programs, and this
birth is an example of that. Mom
and baby are doing well, and our
guests can view the baby on exhibit
in the Rainforest.”
Just one week later on July 31, Moody Gardens welcomed a Prehensile-Tailed
Porcupine baby, born to mom Cora, 4, and dad Bono, 10. Prehensile-Tailed
Porcupines are native to Central and South America. These herbivorous animals
that forage on leaves, fruits, shoots and flowers weigh between four and eleven
pounds. They are covered in short, thick spines and their body color runs from
yellowish to orange to brown. Their heads are small with a round, bulbous nose, a
defining characteristic, which is covered by short and fine hair.
This is the second birth for Cora, who came to Moody Gardens in 2015 from Palm
Beach Zoo, and delivered her first porcupette last summer. Bono came to Moody
Gardens in 2007 from Buffalo. The baby was born with soft hair that will harden
into quills with age. Then a quill will be sent for testing to learn the gender.
“These nocturnal porcupines spend the
majority of their time in the trees,” Kolvig
said. “As the common name suggests, their
tails are prehensile and are used for grasping,
stability, climbing and hanging. Prehensile-
Tailed Porcupines give birth to one baby at a
In addition to the new bundles of joy, Giant
River Otters Dru and Ella welcomed some
new friends, doubling the number of otters
guests can spot inside the Rainforest.
Brothers Maximo and Manuel, both two
years old, came to Moody Gardens from
the Los Angeles Zoo, where they were
born. Dru and Ella, sisters who are both 8,
came to Moody Gardens in 2010 from the
Philadelphia Zoo.
“We are excited to welcome Maximo and
Manuel. Giant River Otters are very social
animals,” Kolvig said. “The boys will be
companions for Dru and Ella. This is the first
time that they’ve had male companions and
our plan is to have some combination of
all four on exhibit for our guests to see and
learn more about.”
Giant River Otters, which are endangered
and native to Brazil, are the world’s largest at
approximately six feet long. They live only in
the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco,
and La Plata river systems. The otters
feature webbed feet and water-repellent fur,
which along with their powerful tails and
long bodies, help propel themselves while
swimming. They can also close their nostrils
and ears while in the water.
For more information and to purchase
tickets visit
Four Fresh, New Faces Await Guests at
Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid
Baby porcupine being fed
Giant river otters Maximo and Manuel
on sand enjoying the sun
Baby Blue Duiker
By ashley tompkins
Images courtesy of Moody Gardens