Palm Beach Zoo animal babies draw a near record crowd

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Just over 300,000 people visited the Palm Beach Zoo last year, and it's said to be because of all the little ones running around.

But the babies don't just draw a crowd, they also help conserve and preserve certain species.

The maternity ward at the Palm Beach Zoo was mighty busy last year.  More than 100 babies were born in 2012.  Some of them are credited with near record attendance for the year. 

The adorable fennec fox kittens, the rambunctious twin golden lion tamarins, a cute bush dog whelp, and a hungry tapir all drew big crowds.

Timmy the Tapir had to be hand fed by the zookeepers, and is now a big boy. "He was 18 pounds when he was born and now he is 300 pounds so he is growing very quickly (laughs)," said zookeeper Ashley Yates.

Not all the babies stay at the zoo, last year five fennec foxes were born, and they're getting sent away to other zoos to help conserve the species.

 "The whole mission of the Palm Beach Zoo is to conserve and protect wildlife, and that what we do when babies are born here. We take care of them but then we also share them with other accredited zoos, said spokeswoman Aileen Van Pelt .

It is a nationwide effort to increase the population of vulnerable animals, such as the endangered golden lion tamarins. They had twins last year. 

The peppy monkeys are always a hit  for visitors. "My favorite monkey?  It would have to be the golden lion tamarin." said

Ethan, a  3rd grade student at Summit Questa Montessori School. "I think that monkeys are a great magnificent animals."

And not all of the babies are zoo-bound.  Part of the "species survival plan" is to release animals back into the wild to help repopulate their numbers.

Three of the newest babies will be on display for "Super Babies Saturday" January 26th at the Palm Beach Zoo: A Chinese muntjac, a spider monkey, and Delilah the baby giant anteater.

Check out the Palm Beach Zoo website for more information

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