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Media News


N’dari, Zoo Miami’s Sumatran tigress that made headlines when she was born back on January 5th of 2021, underwent a thorough routine health exam yesterday in preparation for her transfer to the Ft. Worth Zoo later this Spring.  The procedures included radiographs, a dental cleaning, blood collection, an abdominal ultrasound and an eye exam.  In addition, she received vaccinations for rabies and distemper.  From an approximate birth weight of 3 pounds, she has steadily grown and now weighs 180 pounds.

N’dari is scheduled to move to the Ft. Worth Zoo later this Spring as part of an SSP (Species Survival Plan) recommendation.  The SSP is managed through the Association for Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is a cooperative population and management program designed to manage captive breeding programs of mostly threatened and endangered species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population.  In simplistic terms, it is a form of “computer dating” that guides and recommends the best pairing of animals within the program in order to achieve the healthiest genetic diversity under human care.

There are believed to be less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild where they are found in forested areas on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.  Their biggest threats are poaching and habitat loss to palm oil plantations.  They are the smallest subspecies of tiger with males reaching up to 300 lbs. and females closer to 200 lbs.  There are only approximately 75 Sumatran tigers in U.S. zoos.

Once N’dari has left for Texas, her mother, Leeloo and her father, Berani, will once again be paired together once Leeloo is cycling in hopes that they may once again be able to produce offspring and contribute to the population of this critically endangered species.

Photo by: Ron Magill

Posted by Andrea Obregon at Wednesday, March 22, 2023


For the past several days, “Reina,” a 105 pound, 18 year old female jaguar, has been having episodes of lethargy and appetite loss.  In an effort to determine what may be causing these issues, she was anesthetized yesterday afternoon and transferred from her habitat enclosure to the zoo’s animal hospital to undergo a series of examinations.

Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian, was in charge of the Animal Health Team throughout the examinations.  The procedures performed included a full set of radiographs, the collection of blood and urine, and an oral examination along with a tooth cleaning.  In addition, she received a thorough abdominal ultrasound examination done by consulting veterinary internist, Dr. Luis Macho.

Initial results did not indicate any critical issues but did reveal the persistence of several small cysts in the abdominal cavity.  These cysts had been noted during previous exams though their cause remains a bit of a mystery.  The general belief is that they may be hormonal and advanced age related.

Reina has since been returned to her habitat enclosure where she has recovered well from the anesthesia and will continue to be closely monitored.

Jaguars are the largest cat in the Americas and the third largest in the world after tigers and lions.  They are found in tropical forests ranging from Mexico down into South America and have recently been seen crossing the Mexican border into the Southwestern U.S.  Unlike most cats, jaguars are often found in and around water where they will hunt a variety of prey ranging from fish and caiman to deer and domestic livestock.  They have one of the most powerful jaws of all cats with the ability to bite through large skulls and turtle shells.  With an average lifespan in the wild of 12-15 years, they are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Posted by Andrea Obregon at Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Yesterday, Zoo Miami’s pair of highly endangered Cuban crocodiles were sedated and brought to the zoo’s animal hospital so that they could receive radiographs to determine if there were any foreign items in their stomachs.  These exams were deemed necessary when reports came in from patrons that a plastic bottle had fallen into the habitat. When staff members went to look for the bottle, it could not be found and it was assumed to have been consumed by one of the crocodiles.  If it could not be naturally passed, it could potentially cause digestive obstructions which could lead to serious complications and even death.

Radiographs did determine that there are some small unidentifiable items in the stomachs of both crocodiles, with the female having what appeared to be a large bottle cap.  An endoscope was used to look into the stomach of the male named, “Leroy,” but nothing of any significance could be seen.  After several attempts to use the endoscope on the female, “Princess,” were unsuccessful, it was decided that since the foreign item was of a smaller size, she would be carefully observed in hopes that she would be successful in passing it naturally.

Sadly, this is not the first time these crocodiles have had to receive medical treatment for foreign items they have ingested.  In 2019, Leroy had to have gastric surgery to remove a metal can and Princess had a plastic baby bottle removed with an endoscope.  Over the years, everything from cell phones to sunglasses have been retrieved from the bellies of animals at the zoo, causing significant stress and in some cases, physical harm to those animals.  Whether by accident or on purpose, when these items end up in the zoo’s habitats, they often present a real threat to the health and well-being of the animals that live there.  We ask that when visiting the zoo, please ensure that all personal items are secure to prevent them from ending up in habitats where they can be extremely harmful to the animals.    

Photo by: Ron Magill
at Wednesday, January 25, 2023


This Christmas weekend, an infant addax made its public debut.  Born on December 20th, this critically endangered antelope had been kept behind the scenes with its first-time mother to ensure proper bonding prior to being introduced to the exhibit habitat.  

With a maximum of only a few hundred left in the wild, the addax is one of the most critically endangered animals in the world.  Though it once ranged throughout much of the Sahara desert in North Africa, it has now been reduced to a small reserve in Niger.  Their main threats are poaching and habitat destruction due to petroleum exploration.  

They are nomadic and live in small herds ranging from 5-20 individuals led by a dominant male and are strict herbivores specially adapted for life in the desert.  They have wide padded hooves for walking in the sand and produce dry feces and concentrated urine enabling them to get all of the water they need from the vegetation that they eat.  In addition, their white to tan coloration aids in blending in with their desert environment while helping to keep them cool by reflecting heat.

The male calf weighed just over 14 pounds at birth after a pregnancy of approximately 8 ½ months.  The neonatal examination showed the newborn to be in generally good health.

The careful breeding of addax populations under human care serves as an insurance policy against a very uncertain future in the wild where some experts believe that they are soon headed for extinction.  Thanks to the closely managed herds in zoos like Zoo Miami, this critically endangered species has a much better chance for long-term survival.

Photo by: Ron Magill
at Monday, December 26, 2022


Zoo Miami received a special holiday gift this weekend!  On Friday, December 16th, a healthy male giraffe was born at the zoo!  The mother’s name is Zuri and she is 8 years old.  This is her third calf and the 59th giraffe born at Zoo Miami!  Standing over 5 feet tall, the newborn weighed 150 pounds!  The father is 5 year old Malcolm and this is his sixth calf.

Today, the yet unnamed newborn made his exhibit debut and was welcomed by the rest of the herd.  The calf seemed to be unfazed by the others in the herd as they slowly approached him to get a closer look and an occasional a lick from their nearly 20 inch long tongues!  He spent the morning getting better acquainted with the herd while exploring the habitat from one end to the other.  The neonatal exam that was performed on Saturday indicated that the calf is strong and healthy.

Giraffe have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth.  The newborn falls 4-6 feet to the floor where it receives quite an introduction to the world!

The status of the giraffe in the wild is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to significant reductions to their populations over the last several years.

Assuming all continues to go well, the plan is for mom and calf to be out with the rest of the herd daily.

Photo by: Ron Magill

at Monday, December 19, 2022

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