San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Welcomes First Aardvark Cub in Over 35 Years

The San Diego Zoo has announced the birth of an aardvark cub on Tuesday.

Ken Bohn San Diego Zoo

Get ready to grab those tissue boxes, animal lovers, because the San Diego Zoo just welcomed a new aardvark cub.

The female cub was born on May 10 and is the first aardvark to be born at the Zoo in more than 35 years.

"We are elated to have this little cub in our care," said Cari Inserra, lead wildlife care specialist for the San Diego Zoo in a press release Tuesday, "She is very active and was using her sharp claws to dig like an adult aardvark, just hours after her birth."

The cub, who is still yet to be named, was born to first time aardvark parents Zola and Azzan, who were paired through a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

The mammal's name is derived from Afrikaans and is translated to mean "earth pig."

They are meant for digging burrows, which is why they have strong front legs and long claws.

Newly born aardvark cub digging a burrow at the San Diego Zoo

The aardvark is a unique species of mammal and is native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are nocturnal and therefore are rarely seen, making it hard to know the total population of aardvarks.

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They are at risk due to human population growth causing loss of habitat.

The cub and her mother Zola will stay in off-view habitat for around two months to allow them time to bond.

"Zola is an excellent mother and nurses her cub frequently. The cub is developing quickly and has tripled her birth rate from just over four pounds to over 13 pounds in just five weeks," said Inserra.

When Zola is ready, she will bring her new cub out and guests will be able to visit them during a Wildlife Presentation at the Africa Rocks stage.

"We can't wait until we are able to introduce the cub to our Zoo guests," said Inserra helping them learn more about this remarkable species."

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