Meet Jersey Zoo's new capybaras, Maple and Olive

Jersey Zoo have recently welcomed two new residents; capybaras and half-sisters Maple and Olive.

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The pair arrived in July from ZooParc de Beauval in France. After spending some time off show behind-the-scenes, they have now settled into their new custom-built enclosure by the zoo’s central lake. As semi-aquatic animals, they will be free ranging in the lake and will share part of their home with Jersey Zoo’s Chilean flamingos and red-breasted geese.

Capybaras are native to South America and are the biggest rodent on Earth. Their large teeth, which can measure up to 8cm long, never stop growing and get worn down by their regular grazing on grass and water plants. They prefer to live near water and marshes and have partially webbed feet to help them swim. As lovers of water, despite needing air to breathe, capybaras can also nap whilst submerged. Sadly, their home in South America is under threat, due to habitat destruction, waste pollution, climate change.

Capybaras are no stranger to Jersey Zoo, with Gerald Durrell bringing these mammals to Jersey back in the 1980s.


Speaking about the zoo’s latest arrivals, Georgia Gotts, Team Leader, Mammals commented:

“It is always exciting when we get new animals at the zoo. This introduction has been made even more special as we are returning a species originally brought to Jersey by Gerald Durrell himself. Maple and Olive have settled in really well and have definitely made themselves at home in their brand-new enclosure. They are a fascinating mammal species that split their time between water and land, so will definitely keep us on our toes. We’re looking forward to teaching our members and visitors about, this wonderful species.”

Visitors wanting to see Maple and Olive can keep an eye out for them either swimming in the lake or sleeping in their cabin opposite the Manor House.