On February 7, the Colchester Zoo welcomed a bouncing baby Aardvark to mother, Oq and dad, Adela. This marks the sixth successful Aardvark birth at Colchester Zoo, which boasts the most successful breeding program of its kind in Europe.
Aardvarks are notoriously clumsy and have a habit of bumping into one another so mama-vark and baby have been moved into a specially built birthing burrow to allow a close bond to be formed between the two, and keep the baby protected from any accidental knocks from fellow antbears (as they are sometimes called in Africa). As newborn Aardvarks are poor sighted and uncoordinated, keepers take turns sitting in with mother and baby 24 hours a day to ensure that the baby is feeding well and is kept safe from any accidental injury.
Mum and baby will be able to return to the rest of the group within approximately a month of its birth, when the youngster will be strong enough to survive any bumps from the rest of the group! The birthing burrow is off show, but visitors wishing to catch a glimpse of Oq and her offspring this half term can still see the progress of mother and baby via a closed circuit television link to a large screen in the main viewing tunnel of the Aardvark burrow.