AboutZoos, Since 2008


First ever hyena cae­sarean in Aus­tralia, per­formed at Monarto Zoo

pub­lished 28 March 2013 | mod­i­fied 08 March 2014

Spotted hyena motherandcubMonarto Zoo is cel­e­brat­ing the pub­lic debut of a Spot­ted Hyena cub fol­low­ing the first ever hyena cae­sarean in Aus­tralia.

The amaz­ing pro­ce­dure was per­formed on first-​time mum, For­est, as she strug­gled to deliver her cub nat­u­rally, with zookeep­ers and vet­eri­nar­i­ans know­ing they had to step in after her labour lasted nearly three days.

Given their unique anatomy, hyena births are par­tic­u­larly com­plex with first-​time mums only hav­ing a 20% chance of a suc­cess­ful out­come; Zoos SA Vet­eri­nar­ian Dr Jerome Kalvas said that with this in mind, and no progress being made, it was clearly time to inter­vene.

We’re so happy to have this cub on dis­play for vis­i­tors to enjoy, espe­cially after it sur­vived against all the odds
Dr Jerome Kalvas, Zoos SA Vet­eri­nar­ian »

“Whilst the anaes­thetic and surgery went smoothly the cub was ini­tially not breath­ing after deliv­ery. We admin­is­tered a res­pi­ra­tory stim­u­lant and our vet­eri­nary nurses vig­or­ously rubbed the cub until a small squeal and a strength­en­ing heart­beat told us we were out of the woods.”

“Then when the cub gave one of the vet nurses a lit­tle nip — Spot­ted Hyena cubs are born with a full set of teeth and open their eyes shortly after birth — we knew things were look­ing good.”

For­est and her mum, Kigali, are the only female Spot­ted Hyena in Aus­tralia and this birth means there are now two cubs in the Monarto clan. Kigali’s most recent cub, Pin­duli, was born on exhibit last June.

This footage (credit RZSSA) shows Monarto Zoo’s Spot­ted Hyena, Kigali, giv­ing birth in the den:

Senior Car­ni­vore Zookeeper, Claire Geis­ter, said hyena have a strict female led hier­ar­chi­cal struc­ture within their clans. At Monarto Zoo Kigali is the dom­i­nant female so hav­ing her daugh­ter For­est, the sub­or­di­nate female, breed is a good sign for the group.

“While you often see sub­or­di­nate females repro­duc­ing in the wild it’s quite rare in cap­tiv­ity, the birth of Forest’s cub is a sign of a well adjusted and happy brood,” Claire said. “Although she expe­ri­enced a tumul­tuous birth For­est is prov­ing to be a great mum, there’s always a risk that the cub could be rejected when we have to inter­vene so to see the pair bond­ing is an amaz­ing achieve­ment. See­ing Forest’s cub accepted by the clan is the best result any of us could have hoped for and just incred­i­ble when you con­sider every­thing it’s been through.”

For the first three weeks of its life Forest’s cub was housed in a sep­a­rate den area where mum would join it over night and zookeep­ers mon­i­tored the pair via secu­rity cam­eras. Intro­duc­tions between the cub and clan went so well it is now a full time mem­ber of the group. Vis­i­tors may get the chance to spot Monarto’s newest addi­tion on a Zu-​loop Shut­tle.

(Source: Monarto Zoo media release, 28.03.2013)

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