Cotswald Wildlife Park welcomed two newborn Patagonian Mara on August 6. They are quite shy and speedy, but zoo staff managed to snap a few pictures of the little ones out and about. They share an enclosure with two young Capybara next to the Giant Anteaters.
The species, also known as the Patagonian Hare, is the closest relative of the Guinea Pig. They are endemic to Patagonia, meaning that they originate from that area and are found nowhere else in the world. These rabbit-like rodents feed on plants throughout the day and are excellent runners. Pairs will mate for life, and the male will guard the female from potential predators.
Photo credits: Cotswald Wildlife Pakr
Patagonian Mara are listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Their preferred habitat are lowland forests and bush, which are rapidly being converted for agricultural use. According to the IUCN, main threats to the Mara are habitat loss, competition with grazing livestock and hunting for their skins.