TAMPA, Fla. - ZooTampa’s maternity ward is filling up and guests can meet all of the new babies when they visit the zoo.
"We’ve had a lot of babies here at the zoo, definitely a baby boom," said Sue Pasquine, curator of behavior at ZooTampa.
The maternity ward cares for an orangutan baby, two bottle-fed manatee calves and a baby rhino along with several other infant animals.
"We have a really fun and cute orangutan baby named Ripley. He’s eight and a half months old. You can see him out on habitat every day with his mom, Randy. He is the ninth member of our orangutan family."
Ripley is the youngest orangutan at ZooTampa.
Baby manatees require a lot of time and attention. Pasquine says babies are fed every four hours, by bottle.
"We work around the clock to make sure they’re gaining weight and they’re getting the nutrition that they need. And they’ll probably still continue to take bottles from about 9 to 10 months," explained Pasquine.
Healthy baby manatees are released back into the wild once they reach 600 pounds or two years old.
The baby southern white rhino was born on June 6. Guests can come and see her in her habitat or go on a white rhino tour.
"Having babies is really exciting because it means the animals are thriving here at ZooTampa. This is what we want for them," shared Pasquine.
According to Pasquine, one of ZooTampa’s goals is to protect endangered animals and give them a safe place to live.
LINK: For visitor info visit: zootampa.org.