Chester Zoo

Upton-by-Chester, Chester, Cheshire CH2 1LH

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News Archive

Below are the news reports for Chester Zoo, covering significant events concerning the animal collection, such as births, arrivals, departures, and deaths.

Chester Zoo Details

Depart: 5 July 2012

Upali, the bull Elephant, has moved to Dublin, to be replaced by a new male from Seville later this year. Since arriving in May '97, Upali has sired four calves.

Arrival: 27 June 2012

A group of Green Birdwing butterflies, one of the world's largest, have arrived and have begun to emerge from their pupas. They only live in adult form for 6 to 8 weeks, so won't be around for long.

Arrival: 26 June 2012

A male Rothschild Giraffe called Doto has arrived from Longleat Safari Park, in exchange for Thorn, Chester's previous bull.

Birth: 10 June 2012

A baby male Onager has been born, to first-time mum Zarrin. The Onager is a type of Asiatic wild ass, and is one of the most endangered Equid species, with only around 400 left in the wild, being threatened by illegal poaching, overgrazing and disease passed from domestic livestock in its native Iran.

Birth: June 2012

Two Black Stork Chicks have hatched, and are being hand-reared by keepers after the eggs were abandoned by their parents. Chester is the only zoo in the UK currently breeding this species.

Birth: May 2012

A total of 9 Humboldt Penguin chicks have hatched so far this year, bringing the zoo's colony to over 40 Penguins.

Arrival: April 2012

Three Red Duiker, a small species of Antelope, have arrived from Germany. The group consists of a 2-year-old female and 2 males.

Death: 10 January 2012

Ashme, one of the three Tiger cubs born in October, has sadly died following a short illness. The cause is as yet unknown and a post-mortem will be carried out. The other two cubs seem to be in good health, and have been named Nila and Tila.

Birth: December 2011

A baby female Brazilian Tapir called Talia has been born, to parents Jennifer and Cuzco.

Arrival: 25 November 2011

Two young male Aardvarks called Scorch and Tatsu have arrived. The brothers will soon go on-show in a new enclosure alongside the Meerkats.

Death: 24 November 2011

Two of four Cheetah cubs born in June, both female, have sadly died. Mum KT and all four cubs recently contracted cowpox - probably from coming into contact with an infected rodent - and were undergoing treatment. The two female cubs, Kinza and Shendi unfortunately succumbed to the disease. Mum and the tow male cubs, Rufaa and Juba, are, however still responding well to treatment. The family is being kept in quarantine off-show to prevent the disease spreading to the other adults.

Death: 9 November 2011

Salvador the 20-year-old Jaguar has sadly died, having recently encountered problems associated with old age.

Birth: 21 October 2011

Three Sumatran Tiger cubs have been born, to mum Kirana and dad Fabi. Good news for this highly endangered species, with only around 400 left in the wild. It will be some time before visitors will be able to see the cubs, as mum is keeping them inside the den.

Update, 22 December: the cubs are all female.

Birth: October 2011

A pair of very rare Babirusa Piglets have been born, to mum Majene and dad Sausu. The wild population is in serious decline in its native Indonesia and Babirusa are said to be the rarest pig species in the world. The new arrivals are therefore great news.

Arrival: September 2011

Two 4-year-old Asiatic Lionesses called Kiburi and Kumari have arrived from Rotterdam Zoo, as part of the European breeding programme for this highly endangered species, with only a few hundred left in the wild.

Birth: August 2011

A baby Giant Anteater has been born, to parents Pedro and Bliss who arrived at the Zoo last year as part of an international breeding programme. The baby is the first of the species to be born at the Zoo, and will be named once keepers can get close enough to determine it's sex.

Birth: July 2011

A baby Parson's Chameleon has been born.

Birth: July 2011

A Caribbean Flamingo chick has hatched, and is being hand-reared following rejection by its parents. Fourteen others have also hatched and are being raised by their parents.

Birth: June 2011

Three extremely rare Philippine (or Red Vented) Cockatoo chicks have hatched, and are being hand-reared. These are the first to be born at the Zoo since they arrived 19 years ago; they have a very aggressive nature which makes breeding in captivity very difficult. The species is Critically Endangered, being under threat in the wild from both habitat loss and illegal hunting for the pet trade.

Arrival: 1 April 2011

A group of 7 African Painted Dogs have arrived from Sweden, to take up residence in a new, African-themed exhibit.

Birth: April 2011

Ten Humboldt Penguin chicks have hatched, bringing the Zoo's colony size to over 50..

Death: 9 February 2011

Sheba the Asian Elephant and matriarch of the Chester herd has sadly died following a short illness. She had a long and happy life; at 56 she was the oldest Elephant at the Zoo, and after 46 years she had also been at the Zoo longer than any other Elephant.

Arrival: February 2011

A 4-year-old female Rothschild Giraffe called Dagmar has arrived from Denmark. She was selected as a perfect genetic match for resident male Thorn, to form a new breeding pair for this rare Giraffe sub-species. With only less than 670 left in the wild, the species has recently been classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, due to loss of habitat in their native Kenya and Uganda.

Birth: 22 January 2011

A female Asian Elephant calf has been born, the second at the Zoo in just 6 months. This time it's Thi who is the mother. She is also the mother of Sithami who gave birth to Nayan last July. The father of both calves is Upali. The new calf has been named Jamilah.

Birth: 1 November 2010

A baby female Rothschild Giraffe has been born, to mum Aoife and dad Thorn. She is the first pure Rothschild calf born at the Zoo and has been named Tula.

Birth: September 2010

Three West Africa Crowned Crane chicks have hatched, and are being reared by keepers using a special puppet designed to look like an adult crane so that the chicks do not think the keepers are their parent, and grow up to think that they are cranes.

Birth: August 2010

A baby female Red Panda has been born to parents Lushui and Pali, the first female of this species to be born at the zoo.

Birth: August 2010

Two baby Dwarf Mongoose have been born.

Birth: 18 July 2010

A baby male Elephant called Nayan has been born, to mum Sithami (her second calf) and dad Upali.

Birth: 6 July 2010

A baby Radiated Tortoise has hatched.

Birth: 6 July 2010

Four baby Utila Island Iguanas have hatched, and a fifth is expected any day. This is the first time this Critically Endangered species has bred at the zoo.

Birth: Summer 2010

Recent births include Bush Dogs, a Porcupine, a Black Stork, a Victorian Crowned Pigeon and 3 Visayan Warty Pigs.

Birth: April 2010

Three baby Meerkats have been born.

Arrival: March 2010

A 2-year-old Giant Otter called Xingu has arrived, and taken up residence in a new enclosure deigned to resemble a Brazilian riverbank. It is hoped he will soon be joined by a companion.

Depart: 5 February 2010

Asoka the 11-year-old male Lion has moved to Rome Zoo, as part of the European breeding programme. He will shortly be replaced by a 2-year-old male called Iblis from Planckendael Zoo in Belgium, to form a new breeding pair with Asha, Chester's resident female.

Birth: 26 January 2010

A baby female Kirk's Dik Dik has been born, and is being hand-reared by keepers. This is one of the smaller antelope species; typically growing to only about 40 cm (16 inches) tall. The baby has been named Khola, meaning 'graceful antelope' in Swahili.

Birth: 14 January 2010

A Wrinkled Hornbill chick has hatched, and has now successfully fledged and left its nest, after almost 100 days sealed in with its mother, both of them being fed by the father passing food through a small slit left in the nest entrance.

Arrival: 19 October 2009

A 19-year-old Rothschild Giraffe called Orla has arrived from Holland. Two other Giraffes, Margaret and Molly, have also moved to London Zoo.

Arrival: 19 October 2009

A 10-year-old Spectacled Bear called Franka has arrived from Holland, to join 18-year-old Sangay as mate.

Birth: October 2009

Four baby Mangrove Snakes have hatched, the first at the zoo.

Birth: 14 August 2009

Five baby Annam Leaf Turtles have hatched; great news for this very rare and highly endangered species. The wild population has been decimated by the luxury food and traditional medicine trades. Breeding these, and eight other critically endangered turtle species also held by Chester Zoo, is so important the they are held off-show to minimise disturbance, and therefore cannot be seen by visitors.

Birth: 11 August 2009

A baby female Giraffe called Bella has been born, to mum Kelly.

Death: 23 July 2009

Raman the 2-year-old Elephant calf has sadly died. His condition was being closely monitored by veterinary staff, but he deteriorated rapidly and died in his sleep. The cause is not yet known and the rest of the herd is being monitored very closely. The Elephant House will also be closed to visitors for the next few days.

Birth: June 2009

This year's births so far include:

Yellow Mongoose triplets,

Red River Hog triplets,

Four Banded Mongoose.

Arrival: June 2009

Two Bactrian Camels, Ider and Shanshan have arrived from Denmark, to join the resident Becky.

Arrival: June 2009

Two Californian Sealions, Hella and Lara, have arrived from Munich and Nuremburg (respectively), Germany,

Arrival: June 2009

Dicky the Okapi has returned after a 2-year secondment to London Zoo.

Death: 27 May 2009

Fey, the 7-year-old female Giraffe has sadly died during an operation to investigate a serious abdominal problem.

Birth: 19 May 2009

A baby male Bornean Orangutan called Iznee has been born to mum Sarikei and dad Tuan. He's the first Bornean Orangutan born at Chester for 10 years.

Birth: 15 May 2009

A baby female Eastern Black Rhinceros has been born to mum Ema and dad Magadi., the second in just 8 months. - more great news for this endangered species, which has only about 700 left in the wild.

Update: the baby has now been named Bashira.

Depart: 5 May 2009

Birma the Asian Elephant has moved to Touroparc, France as part of the European Breeding Programme.

Birth: 1 May 2009

The first of this year's Humboldt Penguin chicks have hatched - 8 so far.

Birth: 25 March 2009

Over 40 baby Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frogs have been born - the first at the zoo

Death: 7 February 2009

Loja the Spectacled Bear has sadly died following an altercation with her mate, Sangay.

Birth: 3 February 2009

A female baby Sumatran Orang-Utan has been born, to mother Subis (her 3rd) and father Puluh. This is also the second birth at the zoo in less than 12 months and brings the number of Sumatran Orang-Utans to 8 (the zoo also has 5 Bornean Orang-Utans).

Update: the baby has now been named Kirana.

Death: 9 January 2009

Chakra the Asiatic Lion cub who was born last year has sadly had to be put down due to a developmental disorder that had recently become apparent as he grew.

Birth: 29 October 2008

A baby Eastern Black Rhino has been born, to mum Kitani, the first at the zoo for 10 years. Great news for this highly endangered species, with only about 700 left in the wild.

Update: the baby is a male and has been named Asani.

Birth: April 2008

A second baby Rothschild Giraffe in two months has been born. Called Niamh, her parents are Kelly and Thorn.

Birth: April 2008

A baby Madagascan Radiated Tortoise has hatched, believed to be the first in the UK. It hatched from a clutch of five eggs, so it is hoped that it will be joined by some siblings. Good news for this critically endangered species.

Birth: March 2008

A baby female Sumatran Orang-Utan called Indah has been born to experienced, 20-year-old, parents Emma and Puluh. This brings the number of Sumatran Orang-Utans at the zoo to seven, and the zoo also has four Bornean Orang-Utans.

Birth: March 2008

A baby Babirusa pig has been born to parents Majene and Sausa, the first birth of this species for the zoo.

Arrival: March 2008

A 21-year-old Okapi called Kiburi has arrived to partner the existing resident Stuma.

Arrival: March 2008

An Indian Rhino call Batschii has arrived as a potential mate for the resident Patna.

Birth: March 2008

The first of (hopefully) about 20 Humboldt Penguin chicks has hatched.

Birth: January 2008

A female baby Rothschild Giraffe called Margaret has been born to mother Fay. Born two weeks early, and one of the smallest Giraffes born at the zoo, she is being hand reared by keepers after having trouble suckling from her mother. There are only 600 Rothschild Giraffes left in the wild.

Birth: Winter 2008

Flora the female Komodo Dragon has done it again: produced another hatchling (a so far unnamed male) without a male partner.

A new adult male, called Norman, has also arrived, to join Flora in a few month's time.

Birth: September 2007

A male Asiatic Lion called Tejas has been born to mother Asha, and is being hand-reared by keepers. He was born as one of a pair of male twins, but sadly his sibling was much smaller and not strong enough to survive. His birth is good news for the species, which is highly endangered with only 300-350 remaining in the wild.

Update: Tejas has now moved to Besancon Zoo, France, to be with two lionesses.

Arrival: May 2007

A young male Sumatran Tiger called Kepala has arrived from Dudley Zoo. It is hoped that a female will join him in the next year to form a new breeding pair for this critically endangered species (less than 400 left), which is the smallest and most distinctive of Tigers. Kepala will temporarily share his home with the existing pair of Bengal Tigers, Kahli and Rhani, until his new partner arrives.

Arrival: March 2007

A 3-year old male Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Asian Rhino) called Patna has arrived from Berlin Zoo. He should be joined in September by a female from Switzerland.

Birth: January 2007

Five Komodo Dragon eggs hatched. Mother Flora, one of two female at the zoo, laid her eggs last May, without ever having mixed with, or mated by, a male dragon! The eggs have been kept in an incubator, and three collapsed after a few weeks, but on examination proved to be fertile. Two further eggs remain in the incubator. The babies, all males, are doing well and are being cared for `off-show' until they are ready to be put on public display in a new purpose-built enclosure.

Arrival: Winter 2007

Two Egyptian tortoises have arrived from Australia to join the zoo's existing 7. They were confiscated by Customs officers at Sydney airport from an Egyptian woman who was caught trying to smuggle them into Australia in her suitcase. It is illegal to import any reptiles into Australia, and they would have been destroyed if a home could not be found for them. The species is Critically Endangered, being threatened by loss of habitat in the wild, and is also a sought after as pets, despite being unsuitable.

Birth: 13 November 2006

Female baby Rothschild Giraffe `Molly' born, the first of the highly endangered species to be born at the zoo.

Birth: 12 November 2006

Male Asian Elephant calf born, the third to be born at the zoo in 2 years, and the first to be born in the new Elephant House. Dad Upali is also a first timer, but mum Thi is already a mother of two, and a grandmother.

Birth: September 2006

Male South American Tapir calf, Zak, born, the fifth calf for parents Jennifer and Cuzco.

Two Vicuna born. Vicuna are the smallest and most endangered of the South American camels, closely related to the Llama, Guanaco, and Alpaca.

Other recent arrivals include 2 Western Grey Kangaroos, a West African Sitatunga. Hyacinth Macaw, Congo Buffalo, 2 Caribbean Flamingoes, a Geoffroy's Marmoset, and a Red River Hog.

A young female Okapi has also arrived from Stuttgart Zoo. This is the first female for Chester Zoo, previously having 2 males, one of which was transferred to London zoo in May.

Open: 1 July 2006

The zoo's new Elephants of the Asian Forest enclosure was officially opened by Philippa Forrester. The facility is the new home for the zoo's herd of 9 Asian Elephants, together with other species including Hornbills, Tree Shrews, Peafowl, Squirrels, and Tortoises, with an Assam Forest theme.

Birth: July 2006

Two Javan Rhinoceros Hornbills hatched, the first for the zoo and in the UK.

Red Panda cub born, the first at the zoo for nearly 50 years.

Californian Sealion pup born, the first for mum Rio.

Female Bongo calf born, for first time mum Nibbles., and the fifth at the zoo in 3 years.

New female Asiatic Lion, Asha, arrived from Rome, to join existing male Asoka.

Birth: Summer 2006

Baby Egyptian Tortoise hatched, joining two other babies and making this the second year running that this critically endangered species has successfully bred at the zoo.


Where possible, the dates given are for the event itself, but some zoos do not make this information available, when the date of announcement is used instead.

Seasons: Winter = Jan - Mar, Spring = Apr - Jun, Summer = Jul - Sept, Autumn = Oct - Dec.

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