Photos: Baby animals mean spring has sprung at the Phoenix Zoo

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX – Spring means baby animals at the Phoenix Zoo. The new faces are adding some young spunk and spice to the zoo’s already amazing animal collection.

Most of this year’s babies are part of the “Hoofstock” collection, which means they all have hooves.

The first new additions were born up in the Buttes, which is home to the zoo’s well-known Desert Bighorn Sheep. The one male, Dante, and two females, Mija and Rayen, join 18 of their brethren in the buttes.

Bighorn sheep are known for their agility and nimble movements. The mountain-dwelling animals are well-suited to moving quickly over steep and uneven surfaces, which the Buttes have in abundance.

Visitors to the zoo can see the adorable lambs scaling the steep cliffs with their herd.

The next babies were born at Harmony Farm just in time for Mother’s Day. Izzy, a Hereford cow, gave birth to twins Wendy and Mac. Twin births are rare for cows – only about 3 percent – and Wendy and Mac caused quite a stir all the way around.

They twins made their entrance into the world while Izzy was on exhibit, so there were plenty of witnesses who got to see firsthand one aspect of animal husbandry.

While Izzy and her babies did great from the get-go, the zoo’s Animal Care Center and Hoofstock teams had to step in and help care for two of the zoo’s newest residents.

O’Neill, is a Kirk’s Dik Dik antelope that was born on April 12.

He had a hard time nursing from his mom. Zoo staff took over and are now hand-raising the little animal. O’Neill will only grow to be between 14 and 18 inches tall. He’ll stay at the ACC until he’s strong enough to join his parents on display.

Like O’Neill, Priya is also being hand-raised by zoo staff.

“Mexican Red Brocket deer, especially the females, need to be hand raised in a Zoo environment,” said Director of Animal Management Dan Subaitis in a news release. “This type of deer is extremely shy and very skittish, and hand-raising them helps them to stay calm.”

Priya won’t be much bigger than O’Neill when she grows up. She will also call the ACC home until she’s a bit bigger and ready to rejoin her family in the zoo’s Wetlands exhibit.

“This is an exciting time of year at the Phoenix Zoo,” said Bert Castro, CEO and president of the Arizona Zoological Society, in a news release. “The arrival of babies is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff which helps to carry on our message of conservation and to inspire people to care for the natural world.”