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Galveston County
Moody Gardens
News Release
Friday, August 18, 2017

MOODY GARDENS WELCOMES NEW KIDS TO THE FOREST
Four new faces await guests in Rainforest Pyramid

Galveston, Texas —Four new friends are calling the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid home after two births in July and the addition of two male Giant River Otters.

The stork was busy last month, delivering a Blue Duiker calf and, just a week later, a Prehensile-Tailed porcupette.

The female Blue Duiker, named Soksi, was born July 22 to proud parents Basi, 3, and Ruben, 6. Soksi is Swahili for socks, which is fitting since her front feet are white, giving the appearance that she’s wearing a pair of socks. This is the first pregnancy for Basi.

“This is also our first breeding here at Moody Gardens and we are happy to welcome the new baby,” said Paula Kolvig, Moody Gardens assistant curator of the Rainforest Pyramid, who also commented on the affiliation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). “As an AZA accredited organization, we work closely with other zoos and aquariums on several conservation and breeding programs, and this birth is an example of that. Mom and baby are doing well, and our guests can view the baby on exhibit in the Rainforest.”

Basi came to Moody Gardens from the Kansas City Zoo in 2015 while Ruben arrived in December 2016 from Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Blue Duikers (Philantomba monticola) are one of the smallest antelope. They are native to central, eastern and southern Africa. While Blue Duikers are fairly common and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists them as least concern, they are threatened by habitat loss and they are hunted for bushmeat. They are longer than they are tall, reaching 22-35 inches in length and 13-16 inches in height. They can weigh 7-20 pounds and have short, spiky horns on their heads.

Just a week later, on July 31, Moody Gardens welcomed a Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine baby, born to mom Cora, 4, and dad Bono, 10. This is the second birth for Cora, who came to Moody Gardens in 2015 from Palm Beach Zoo, and delivered her first porcupette last summer. Bono came to Moody Gardens in 2007 from Buffalo. The baby was born with soft hair that will harden into quills with age. Once the quills come in, biologist will send one off to learn the gender of the porcupette.

Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines (Coendou prehensilis) – also listed as least concerned – are native to Central and South America. These herbivorous animals that forage on leaves, fruits, shoots and flowers weigh

between 4 and 11 pounds. They are covered in short, thick spines and their body color runs from yellowish to orange to brown. Their heads are small with a round, bulbous nose, a defining characteristic, which is covered by short and fine hair.

“These nocturnal porcupines spend the majority of their time in the trees,” Kolvig said. “As the common name suggests, their tails are prehensile and are used for grasping, stability, climbing and hanging. Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines give birth to one baby at a time.”

And, there are even more new friends.

This month, Giant River Otters Dru and Ella welcomed Maximo and Manuel to the exhibit, doubling the number of otters guests can spot inside the Rainforest.

Brothers Maximo and Manuel, both 2 years old, came to Moody Gardens from the Los Angeles Zoo, where they were born. Dru and Ella, sisters who are both 8, came to Moody Gardens in 2010 from the Philadelphia Zoo.

“We are excited to welcome Maximo and Manuel. Giant River Otters are very social animals,” Kolvig said. “The boys will be companions for Dru and Ella. This is the first time that they’ve had male companions and our plan is to have some combination of all four on exhibit for our guests to see and learn more about.”

Giant River Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), which are endangered and native to Brazil, are the world’s largest, at approximately 6 feet long. They live only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata river systems. The otters feature webbed feet and water-repellent fur, which along with their powerful tails and long bodies, help propel themselves while swimming. They can also close their nostrils and ears while in the water.

The 10-story Rainforest Pyramid houses plants, fish, birds and mammals from the rainforests around the world. As a part of a greater effort, the Rainforest Pyramid highlights the importance of conservation and education.

Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.




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