Chester Zoo in England has shared that they have welcomed an aardvark to their family for the first time in 90 years.
“The calf, born with large droopy ears, hairless wrinkled skin and giant claws,” they wrote on their website, “is currently being hand-reared every evening by zookeepers who are providing dedicated care, feeding the baby every few hours through the night for around five weeks, to help it gain strength.”
The sex of the baby has not been determined yet, and a permanent name has not been assigned. But the staff has nicknamed the calf Dobby because it resembles the “Harry Potter” character.
The proud parents are8-year-old Oni and 6-year-old Koss, and the new addition was born on January 4.
“Aardvark parents are notorious for being a little clumsy around their newborns,” team manager Dave White explained. “With the baby being so tiny and fragile, we’re therefore protecting it from any accidental knocks and bumps by helping mum out with supplementary feeding sessions throughout the night, just until the calf is a little stronger.”
“So, in the evening, when the parents are out exploring and feeding, we carefully place the calf into a special incubator and take it home to feed with warm milk every few hours. The calf then spends the daytime bonding and snuggled up with mum Oni inside her burrow – and they’re both doing great together.”
The Chester Zoo website states that there are only 66 aardvarks total in the zoo across Europe. Worldwide, there are a total of 109 in zoos.