This giant panda cub stretches out with a big smile as if he is being tickled while animal care staff check him during his weekly exam. He is the sixth giant Panda born at the San Diego Zoo, which is the most born at a facility outside of China. Born on June 29, this fan favorite is one of many cute zoo animals born around different corners of the world in 2012.
The offspring of a Rothschild giraffe, Apolena stands next to her mother at the Prague Zoo. Rothschild Giraffes are one of nine subspecies of giraffe, and are particularly susceptible to hybridization with other subspecies. While difficult to "spot," one feature that distinguishes this subspecies from other types of giraffe is a fifth horn sticking up from the center of its forehead.
A rare albino kangaroo sprang from her mother's pouch at Germany's Duisburg Zoo. The native Australian Bennett wallaby is typically dark brown, but this one - given the name Nala, meaning "gift" - looks more like a snow-white bunny. Albinos rarely survive in the wild because they are too conspicuous and quickly fall prey to predators. But at the zoo, young Nala will be well cared for!
Tanda, the Tel Aviv Zoological Center's white rhinocerous, gave birth on June 15 to a healthy male calf, which was named Terkel. The 20-year-old mother was pregnant for a year and a half, with this marking her second successful birth without human help or intervention. The birth was a rare event to occur in captivity and a significant achievement for the "near threatened" species.
The Czech Republic's Prague Zoo welcomed a South American tapir into the world on November 6. All tapir calves are born with a striped brown-and-white coat, which makes for great camouflage in their native jungle habitat. "I'm sure that he'll soon become one of the favorite inhabitants of the zoo, thanks to his cute features," said the zoo's director.
This baby bonobo was born on January 7 in Frankfurt, Germany. He was named Sambo, meaning "seven" in Lingala, one of the national languages of the Congo. He had to be nursed by humans because his mother Zomi wasn't able to produce milk. Zoo officials say they are closely monitoring this charming little fellow's integration as he gets to know fellow animals at the zoo.
The Berlin Zoo celebrated its newest baby Asian elephant, a healthy female named Anchali. She was born on August 12, standing one meter tall and weighing 160 kilograms. This is the fourth child for mother Pang Pha, whose first three offspring died after contracting elephant herpes. Zoo officials say they hope she will live a long life - elephants can reach up to 70 years old.
Anori was born January 12 and made her anticipated public debut this past spring. Her father Lars is the same polar bear that sired Berlin's Knut, the beloved bear that died more than a year ago after being hand-reared and becoming a global symbol in the fight against climate change. That makes Anori his half-sister - which comes as no surprise. She seems to be just as curious as her brother!
A selection of the cutest animals born in 2012.