Taipei Zoo staff welcome three more new arrivals

By Lin Hsiang-mei and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 5

Taipei Zoo staff have been reveling in the joys of welcoming more new members to their animal family after they recently succeeded in hatching three emu eggs in an incubator.

The zoo’s adult emus laid a total of 87 eggs in the first half of the year, from which zookeepers selected 16 to put in an incubator.

Once the three emu chicks were hatched, they were taken to the enclosure of a male emu in the zoo to receive natural parental care, the zoo said, adding that the male quickly accepted the three chicks.

The emu is the largest native Australian bird species and males and females are very similar in appearance.

Female emus produce an egg every three to four days on average in the breeding period and leave the nesting area after covering it with foliage.

The male stays behind and incubates the eggs for the next eight weeks, surviving on nothing but its own body fat. It also nurtures the chicks on its own after they hatch.

“The three baby emus are about three months old and have been living with their ‘nanny’ in the Australian Animal Area,” the zoo said.

“Baby emus are born with cream stripes which serve as camouflage and gradually disappear about three months after birth. The father takes care of the young until they are six months old and can survive on their own,” the zoo said.

Meanwhile, the zoo said its new panda cub, nicknamed Yuan Zai (圓仔), now weighs about 422.6g, more than double her weight when she was born on July 6.

Black fur has started to grow around Yuan Zai's eyes, ears and back, and she is healthy and growing fast, the zoo said.