Watch Africa Alive!’s rare new arrival take its first steps around the enclosure
- Credit: Archant
A baby aardvark has become the latest addition at a local wildlife park, making it the second in the country to breed the species.
Africa Alive! in Kessingland, welcomed the baby aardvak into the world on May 16, when mum Boo gave birth in front of zoo visitors in her outside enclosure.
The baby - which has not yet been named - weighed about 2kg at birth and is hairless with pink, tender skin.
The birth makes Africa Alive! only the second UK zoo to successfully breed an aardvark, and one of just a handful European zoos to do so.
And while the baby is not currently on public show, the zoo hopes to let guests have a glimpse during their Africa by Night open Saturday evening, June 24.
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A spokesman from the zoo said: 'The actual birth process is very rarely witnessed where aardvarks are concerned and this is the first ever successful birth at the park, so those who saw it were very privileged indeed. Animal keeping staff were soon on the scene and quickly got baby and mum Boo into the specially prepared off-show 'cubbing' area, in order to give them all the privacy, care and medical attention necessary.
'Aardvarks are particularly hard to rear in captivity and so we could not be sure how Boo was going to react to her baby. However, with a lot of assistance from her keepers, Boo allows the baby to feed from her when at rest during the day, and for a while, supplementary bottle feeds were also provided day and night.'
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It is difficult to identify an aardvark's gender when they are young, and baby and mother will remain in the burrow for about two weeks.
The zoo's aardvarks are part of a managed European breeding programme, which is coordinated by Burgers Zoo in the Netherlands.
After Saturday's event, and weather permitting, the team hope to let guests see Boo and her baby daily from Sunday when will be given access to the outside enclosure at 11.15am and 4pm for a limited period only.
For more information about the Africa by Night event, visit www.africa-alive.co.uk