Chester Zoo, located in Cheshire, England, has announced the arrival of a newborn aardvark, marking the first time Aardvark has been born at Chester Zoo in its 90-year history.
Chester Zoo is overjoyed as it celebrates the birth of its first-ever Aardvark!
Conservationists discovered the new arrival snuggled up with its eight-year-old mum Oni and six-year-old dad, Koos, after it had been born overnight on January 4.
The calf, born with large floppy ᴇᴀʀs, ʜᴀɪʀʟᴇss, ᴡʀɪɴᴋʟᴇᴅ sᴋɪɴ, and giant ᴄʟᴀᴡs, is hand-reared every evening by zookeepers providing dedicated care, feeding the baby every few hours through the night for around five weeks to help it gain strength.
It’s nice, but it’s also sad that animals are evolving to have babies successfully in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ. The staff has nicknamed the youngster Dobby due to its resemblance to the much-loved Harry Potter character.
The Aardvark, also known as the “antbear,” is a nocturnal mammal native to Africa. They are ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ by ʜᴀʙɪᴛᴀᴛ ʟᴏss due to agricultural development, which also brings them into ᴄᴏɴꜰʟɪᴄᴛ with local farmers. They are also ʜᴜɴᴛᴇᴅ for their ᴍᴇᴀᴛ.
The nocturnal animals use their long noses and keen sense of smell to sniff out ants and termites, which they ʟᴀᴘ up with a long ᴛᴏɴɢᴜᴇ measuring up to 25cm, covered in sticky sᴀʟɪᴠᴀ. They use their powerful ᴄʟᴀᴡs to ᴛᴇᴀʀ open termite mounds and dig ᴜɴᴅᴇʀɢʀᴏᴜɴᴅ burrows in which they sleep.
The arrival of the baby aardvark is an essential milestone for the zoo’s conservation efforts. Aardvarks are considered a ᴠᴜʟɴᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ species, with populations declining due to ʜᴀʙɪᴛᴀᴛ ʟᴏss and ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ. By successfully breeding aardvarks in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ, zoos like Chester can help to preserve the species and raise awareness of its ᴘʟɪɢʜᴛ.
Caring for species like aardvarks in zoos enables us to learn more about their lives, behaviors, and biology. So amazing how a baby loves its mama from the start. This new calf joins a conservation breeding program that only a handful of zoos are part of globally.
Fantastic & pray it will NOT be the last! Our Globe is in a ᴅɪꜰꜰɪᴄᴜʟᴛ time; we must do what we can to SAVE OUR PLANET!
Mike Jordan, Collections Director at Chester Zoo, said, “We’re thrilled with the arrival of this little Aardvark. It’s a significant moment for us, as aardvarks are ᴅɪꜰꜰɪᴄᴜʟᴛ to breed in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ. Our team has worked incredibly hard to provide Dobby with the best possible care, and it’s wonderful to see their efforts pay off.”
Chester Zoo is home to over 35,000 animals and has a long history of successful breeding programs for ᴇɴᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ species. The arrival of the baby aardvark is just one example of the zoo’s dedication to conservation and education.