Author Archives: wentworth

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Kumbali & Kago 1st Birthday

Kumbali and Kago celebrated their first birthday on May 12, 2016. Zoo staff gave them two birthday presents.


Each box contained an ice block with meat frozen inside. The boys enjoyed ripping off the wrapping paper and eating their frozen treats.


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13 New Cheetah Cubs!

The Metro Richmond Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of 13 new cheetah cubs!

On March 21, 2016, Milani, a second time mom, gave birth to 3 cubs (2 males and 1 female) sired by Hatari.


Milani’s Cubs

On April 1, 2016 Vaila, a first time mom, gave birth to 7 cubs (this number only happens 1% of the time in cheetah births) sired by Hatari.  Unfortunately, Vaila’s inexperience as a mom showed when she did not clean the birth sac surrounding one cub and it did not survive. Also, one was born with a deformity and only lived a few hours. The remaining 5 are doing well.


Vaila’s Cubs

On April 2, 2016 Wiay, a first time mom, gave birth to 6 cubs (only happens 8% of the time) sired by Kitu. Because of her inexperience, she accidentally laid on one of the cubs shortly after birth and it did not survive. Initially Wiay’s cubs did not gain weight and thrive as well as they should. We weighed them every day, sometimes twice a day, and gave them medical attention as needed. The 5 are now all doing well with mom.


Wiay’s Cubs

Cheetah’s are endangered and the wild cheetah population is in a drastic decline with only 7,500 now left in the wild in small pocketed areas in Africa.  Breeding cheetahs in captivity is very challenging, with only a small portion of the population reproducing. The Metro Richmond Zoo has had tremendous success in breeding cheetahs. In the last 2 1/2 years we have had 36 cubs born from seven litters making a significant addition to the captive cheetah population. In addition to the number of cubs born, most of the adult cheetahs here are unrelated to the other Cheetahs in North America so the genetic value of these cubs for future breeding is extremely high. We are excited to make such an contribution towards Cheetah conservation here at the zoo.

Yes, we are going to do it again. The cheetah cam has been enjoyed by millions of people from all over the world and is currently up and running again! This time we will have 2 cams available to watch both Milani and Vaila’s cubs. They can be watched live at this link:

Cheetah Cam

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Cheetah Cub Genders

Who’s who is each litter?  Zoo staff shaves a small part of fur on each cub for quick identification.


Right Front: Male
Right Rear: Male
Left Front: Female


Left Front: Female
Left Rear: Female
Right Front: Male
Right Rear: Male
B/w Shoulder Blades: Female


Right Front: Male
Right Rear: Male
Left Front: Female
Left Rear: Female
B/w Shoulder Blades: Male


Read the story:

See the video:


Don’t forget to tune into the 24/7 live Cheetah Cam!

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Kumbali and Kago’s First Snow


Kumbali and Kago, now 8 months old, got to play in the snow for the first time during Winter Storm Jonas. While the Zoo was closed, one of our zookeepers let the best friends run and explore in a large enclosed field covered with 7 inches of snow. Their reaction to the white fluff is priceless.

Watch the video:



Kumbali and Kago were raised together to provide companionship for one another. Read their full story here:

Kumbali and Kago, Cheetah Cub and Puppy Friendship

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Snowstorm at the Zoo

Winter Storm Jonas dumped around twelve + inches of snow at the Zoo grounds on January 22 and 23, 2016. Zoo staff worked hard to prepare for the snow storm.  As always, all of our animals have access to heated barns or shelters as necessary. However, due to the extremely cold temperatures and snow, we added additional bedding and kept many of the animals inside their barns and shelters for the storm.


Here are photos of some of the animals playing in the snow.


Nitro and Elsa, our two snow leopards, are enjoying the cold weather. Snow leopards are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.


Monty, a juvenile male Bactrian camel, runs through the snow.


The Mishmi Takin is native to the eastern Himalayas. The Takin’s long nose has large sinus cavities that warm up cold air as the Takin takes a breath!










Kumbali & Kago played in the snow for the first time during the storm.

Watch the video here:

We want to give a HUGE shout out to our amazing and dedicated staff. Our keepers are working twice as hard in the snow to clean enclosures, distribute food, and provide our animals with warmth and necessary care.

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Melanie, Eva, and Iris (left to right) are staying warm inside the giraffe barn along with the rest of the herd.


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Signing off, Metro Richmond Zoo

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National Zoo Keeper Week!

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 VJuly 19th to the 25th is National Zoo Keeper Week.

The Metro Richmond Zoo appreciates our zoo keepers for their hard work in animal care, conservation, and education. We are extremely grateful for our dedicated staff. Our Zoo Keepers monitor over 2,000 animals at the Zoo. We give professional care to all of our animals, no matter how big or small.


The American Association of Zoo Keepers said, “Zoo keepers are the frontline soldiers for conservation, participating in the battle for species survival and preservation of the natural homelands of the animals they care for through public awareness, education, and exhibition.”

AAZK National President Bob Cisneros said, “As animal care professionals, we develop a deep sense of personal satisfaction knowing that our work makes a significant contribution towards the welfare of the individual animals for which we are responsible and towards the protection of their counterparts in the wild.”


*Not all of our Zoo Keepers are pictured.*

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Baby Orangutan on Exhibit

The Metro Richmond Zoo welcomes RJ, a male orangutan born earlier this year to parents Tasha and Rory. RJ, named after his father, weighed approximately 4 pounds at birth, a healthy normal weight. During the cooler months, Tasha and RJ spent their time in their indoor enclosure. Since the weather has been warmer, RJ has become more mobile, enjoys his time outside with his mother and father, and can be seen each day on exhibit.


Notice how RJ grasps onto Tasha. Mother apes and monkeys typically do not hold onto their young; the babies are responsible for hanging on. The Zoo now has six orangutans.

Check out this video from the Zoo’s Youtube channel of Tasha and RJ:


The name “orangutan” comes from an Indonesian phrase meaning “person of the forest.” Orang means person and hutan means forest. Orangutan is pronounced oranguTAN, not TANG. They are classified as apes, not monkeys. These beautiful creatures are among some of the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, they have been victim to poaching and deforestation, resulting in an endangered status. Deforestation for the establishment of palm oil plantations is the primary cause for habitat loss for orangutans. Female orangutans usually only have a baby every 7-8 years and will closely nurture their young for the first four years of their life.


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Photos: Milani and Cubs on Exhibit

Here are the most recent photos taken of Milani, Neema, Naya, and Hasani on exhibit at the Zoo.















Otter Cove Now Open!

Kumbali and Kago

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