Born during storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, this baby Vicuna can be seen exploring it’s new home under the close eye of mum and dad.
The Zoo’s fluffy little new addition was born to mother Áine and father Ozark.
The now three-week-old was born overnight during the storm, with zookeepers making the wonderful discovery the following morning. The baby’s gender is currently unknown but keepers are hopeful they’ll be able to confirm it in the coming weeks.
Zoo Curator, Julie Mansell, explains, “We were delighted to find the baby cozied up with the rest of the family safe inside the den. They are really beautiful, gentle creatures that were once at risk of extinction due to hunting for their wool and meat. Áine is an excellent mother and the baby is looking strong and well.”
Vicuñas are the smallest members of the camel family.
They were once held in high regard by the ancient Inca people but, after South America was conquered by Spain, uncontrolled hunting for wool and meat almost destroyed the species. Strict protection laws have helped the animals recover but they still depend on conservation measures, such as zoo breeding programs.
Belfast Zoo has successfully bred the species for many years, in a mountain-top habitat with stunning views across Belfast.