One of the many exciting events at Animal Embassy is the welcoming of new Animal Ambassadors into our world. Pictured above is the newest addition to the Animal Embassy family, a Red-foot tortoise. We have adopted four Red-foot tortoises (Geochelone carbonaria) over the last 10 years. The egg tooth on the tip of the turtle’s beak facilitated this newborn's liberation. With our population including two males and two females, eggs are inevitable. The incubation period can be over 200 days. The temperature of the nest, or incubator, determines the sex of the hatchlings. If the temperature is closer to 80 degrees, the babies will be males; temperatures closer to 90 degrees yield females. We kept the temperature at 85 degrees. We anticipate a mix of males and females.
Baby Red-foot a couple of weeks after hatching.
Red-foot tortoises, born at Animal Embassy in the past, enjoying a nice salad!
Red-foot tortoises are popular as pets, although they are protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that this species may not be exported from its home country without a permit. They are native to South America, but have also been introduced to many islands in the Caribbean. Exportation for the pet trade has had a negative effect on red-footed tortoises, although it is much less of a threat to their survival than hunting or habitat loss.
Have you met Patito? Patito is our Cayuga duck and is pictured above, with intern Chelsea and Animal Embassy staff members Robin & Aida, just a few weeks after hatching. If you have visited the Animal Embassy exhibit, and Patito has been indoors at the time, you could not possibly have missed him! Once Patito meets you, he becomes your fast friend. This is partially a result of his being raised by humans, or being "imprinted." Patito was brought to us by a concerned family who found a duck egg which had been abandoned, and asked Animal Embassy to help. After much care, Patito entered the world and has been nurtured by our staff. He "imprinted" to the first sight he had, and thinks of us humans as his family.
Patito is pictured above, fully grown, together with our
Budding Zoologists program participants in February 2011.
Pictured above is Inca, our Spectacled owl, as a baby in the summer of 2010,
with Chris Evers, director of Animal Embassy.
Above, a photo of Inca as a baby, preening, summer 2010.
Inca growing up, November 2010.
Inca, pictured in February 2011 with a Budding Zoologist program participant - all grown up! Inca, a Spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), came to us at three weeks of age. A captive bred and imprinted bird, she could be with us for the next 30 years. The species inhabits the rainforests and gallery forests from Southern Mexico, through Central America, down into Columbia and Peru. In the wild, Spectacled Owls eat small mammals including mice, bats, possums and even skunks, insects, spiders, caterpillars, birds, crabs and frogs. Inca had become a great ambassador for the species, and the rainforests they inhabit. She will also be an incredible ambassador for raptors and the earth.
Magic and Houdini, our carpet pythons, have recently laid their fourth clutch of eggs . Both snakes were adopted by Animal Embassy from inappropriate domestic situations. Unfortunately this is an all too common story. We will keep the eggs at a consistent temperature between 85 an 90 degrees. The eggs will hatch in between 50-60 days. Some of the babies will be adopted out to education facilities and other qualified homes.
Pictured above are strikingly beautiful carpet pythons that were born several years ago. The color of the babies are muted to facilitate camofauge but these three year old juveniles have the vibrant colors of their parents.
Some of the most adorable babies we have the opportunity to enjoy at Animal Embassy are the chinchillas. Last summer we welcomed a single baby, then triplets! Pictured above is the first baby born, with Aida, Animal Embassy staff member.
And here are the triplets. Native (historically) to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Argentina, chinchillas require a soft fur coat to keep them alive in this cold, harsh environment. With over 50 hairs growing from each follicle, their fur is incredibly soft and highly sought after. It can take over 100 chinchilla pelts to make just one fur coat! The fur trade has led to the near extinction of the two remaining chinchilla species. Even though domestic chinchillas are bred for the fur trade, wild chinchillas are still illegally hunted. Despite their disappearance, Chinchillas have been protected since 1910. The majority of the 4,000 remaining wild chinchillas exist in a Chilean reserve.
Come meet these members of the Animal Embassy family at our public exhibit, located at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. The newest additions will join their older counterparts in our outreach programs as ambassadors for wildlife and the environment. With our educational programming, Animal Embassy endeavors to educate children, and people of all ages, about wildlife, conservation, habitats, diversity and many other issues relating to the environment and the Earth. All of our Animal Ambassadors help us in this mission.