The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo today debuted the first baby Aardvark ever born at the zoo. The new male Aardvark, nicknamed Hoover, was born in September to parents Dora and Arthur. Hoover spends all of his time with his mother and will continue to nurse until he is three months old. Zoo-goers can see the Aardvarks in their naturalistic nocturnal exhibit in the Carter Giraffe Building. The Bronx Zoo was the first North American zoo to exhibit Aardvarks in 1924. The zoo’s current Aardvark exhibit opened in 2008.
Aardvarks are completely nocturnal and found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. They occur in scrub, open woodland, and particularly in heavily grazed grasslands where there are lots of termites. In the wild, aardvarks are powerful diggers and spend the majority of daylight hours in burrows.
The aardvark exhibit at WCS’s Bronx Zoo replicates the species’ native African habitat. It includes termite mounds and sandy groundcover to allow the animals to burrow and dig. The exhibit lighting is similar to moonlight to make it easy to watch the nocturnal behavior of the animals.
The name aardvark translates to “earth pig” in Afrikaans. They are also commonly referred to as ant bears. The aardvark has the distinction of being the only member of the family Tubulidentata, which means “tube teeth.”
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s conservation field staff is on the ground working to protect wildlife and wild lands across the aardvark’s African range and around the world. WCS collaborates with local governments, organizations, and local communities to build constituencies that support conservation of important species and habitats.
**The aardvark calf will be on exhibit with his mother all day Friday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 5. He and his mother will then rotate his exhibit times with the adult male aardvark until further notice.