2017 was a year of animal celebrities, from the premature birth of now internationally famous hippo Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo to the live streamed birth of Tajiri by April the Giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y – some 1.2 million people tuned in online to watch the birth in real time. A host of new zoo babies are already making their debuts in 2018, each a new prospect for animal stardom. See which zoo babies are near you.
Once you've had your daily dose of "awww," head here to vote for your favorite zoos, aquariums and safari parks in the 10Best Readers' Choice awards.
Calliope the howler monkey at the Audubon Zoo
New Orleans' Audubon Zoo welcomed a new addition to their troop of howler monkeys when mama Salsa delivered a baby by cesarean section in January. The new family can be seen at the zoo's World of Primates habitat.
Nyati the western lowland gorilla at Como Park Zoo
Mother Alice and father Schroeder added a new member to their family at Como Park Zoo in Saint Paul last October. Little Nyati and her parents are currently off exhibit to give them space to bond, but visitors should be able to meet the newest addition later this spring.
Holly Berry the Pygmy hippo at ZooTampa at Lowry Park
Santa visited ZooTampa early in December and delivered a rare baby pygmy hippo for Christmas, Born on December 1, Holly Berry is now one of less than 40 pygmy hippos in the Species Survival Plan. See Holly Berry in her Ituri Forest habitat with mom Zsa Zsa.
Clouded leopard cub at the Nashville Zoo
When a female clouded leopard cub was born at the Nashville Zoo in February, she became the 32nd clouded leopard born at the zoo since 2009. She's currently being hand-reared and should make her debut a bit later in 2018.
Emu chicks at the Brevard Zoo
After an eight-week incubation by papa emu Napoleon (mother Lafawnduh took a break after laying the eggs), two baby emu chicks joined the Brevard Zoo family in Melbourne, Fla. in mid-March. The chicks should be ready to meet zoo visitors soon.
Maned wolf pups at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
Three critically endangered maned wolf pups were born at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport at the end of December to first-time parents Bonita and Paulo. Only about 4,000 maned wolves remain in the wild, and captive breeding is usually difficult with this species.
Asian small-clawed otters at the Columbus Zoo
Asian small-clawed otter pups at the Columbus Zoo — Photo courtesy of Columbus Zoo
A winter baby boom at the Columbus Zoo has included the birth of five Asian small-clawed otter pups – three males and two females – who arrived in January. The five siblings, along with parents Gus and Peanut, are expected to be on view later this spring.
Asha, Kali and Jabari the African lions at Blank Park Zoo
Born at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines last November, African lion cubs Asha, Kali and Jabari explored their outdoor enclosure for the first time in March. A portion of every dollar spent at the zoo goes toward conservation efforts, including the Ruaha Carnivore Project.
Ring-tailed lemurs at the Indianapolis Zoo
The ring-tailed lemur troop at the Indianapolis Zoo grew by two in March with the birth of uncommon twins. Once the weather warms, the new babies will join the rest of the troop in the zoo's Forests habitat.
Reindeer fawn at the Brookfield Zoo
Lulu the eastern black rhino at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Lulu the Eastern black rhino was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in February — Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
February saw the birth of Lulu, a baby eastern black rhino, at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – the 16th born at the facility. Another of the park's rhinos is pregnant and due in the fall, but for now, guests can see little Lulu later this year after enjoying some mother-daughter bonding time.
Sloth bear cubs at Woodland Park Zoo
Cerah the Sumatran orangutan at the Denver Zoo
It's been a busy spring at the Denver Zoo, with the births of African wild dogs, a Linne's two-toed sloth, and most recently, a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan named Cerah. Mom and baby are currently enjoying some private bonding time, but baby Cerah will make her debut later in 2018.
Winsol the aardvark at the Cincinnati Zoo
Move over, Fiona! The Cincinnati Zoo has a new baby in town: Winsol the aardvark was born on the winter solstice late last year. The wrinkly baby already weighs more than 40 pounds and can be see in his Night Hunters habitat, along with giant fruit bats and galagos.
Best Zoo (10Best Readers' Choice Awards 2018)