June 1, 2017

Jersey Zoo Babies

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So far this year, Jersey Zoo has celebrated the births of five critically endangered Livingstone’s fruit bats, four endangered Malagasy giant jumping rats (Votsota) and one endangered narrow-striped mongoose (Bokiboky). Keepers are absolutely delighted with these breeding successes, which have contributed to the captive populations of these endangered species.

Native to South Eastern Madagascar, the narrow-striped mongoose, or Bokiboky, has recently been reclassified on the IUCN Red List from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’ due to their decreasing numbers in the wild.

Commenting on the birth, Senior Mammal Keeper Chris Davies said, "We are all so excited about our new baby, born to seasoned mother Janette and first time father Stripey. The little one is growing up fast but if you are quiet while visiting, you may see mum and baby playing or snuggling up together.”

With a captive population of just 24 in Europe, every birth is vital to strengthening the studbook, so Durrell are working closely with other zoos to ensure the continued survival of the narrow-striped mongoose. Chris also said, “With recent births at ZSL London Zoo and Zoo Berlin, we can continue to learn more about the husbandry and care required of this species and work together to help ensure their survival."

2017 has been a great year for Jersey Zoo’s Livingstone’s fruit bats and promises to get better still. These bats are the rarest mammal species at the zoo, with just over 1,000 remaining in the wild and 65 in the global captive population. Throughout April, keepers were incredibly excited to find five tiny babies clinging to their mothers’ sides in our Island Bat Roost.

Commenting on the wonderful news, Head of Mammals Dominic Wormell said, “To know that there are five more of one of the rarest mammal species on the planet is a fantastic feeling. All mothers and babies are doing well and the great news is there are more on the way, with several other females currently pregnant.”

This captive population is a vital safeguard for the species in the wild where their habitat in the Comoros is under immense pressure due to deforestation. The bats bred at Jersey Zoo could potentially provide individuals for re-introduction into restored forest areas.

Our Malagasy giant jumping rats had a very successful year in 2016 with four births, so keepers were thrilled when four more babies were born this Spring. Delighted with the success of the breeding programme, Senior Mammal Keeper Gale Glendewar said, “In the wild, this species only breeds once a year when the food is at its most plentiful. However, the Jersey Zoo group has gone from strength to strength and babies seem to be popping up every month.”

The first pup arrived at the beginning of March and was swiftly followed by another in April, then more recently in May, the tell-tale squeaks from the nest box announced yet another set of twins. Throughout the global captive population, these were the only births to have occurred in 2016 and 2017. Although this breeding programme has proved successful, there are still very few animals in captivity; just 52 in 13 different institutions worldwide.

These animals are extremely precious and other institutions are already desperate to receive them to start their own breeding programmes. “Over the next few months it is likely that we will have to say goodbye to our oldest sons, Iray and Roa (meaning one and two in Malagasy), and their sister Telo (number 3!). At the moment however, everything in the rat group is harmonious and all individuals are taking an important role in the care of the new infants” said Gale.

Be sure to look out for our newest residents during your next visit to the zoo!

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