Leeuwarden, April 10, 2022 - Spring has arrived at AquaZoo Leeuwarden. Two Asian small-clawed otters, Balearic toads and one Tammar wallaby were born in the zoo in Leeuwarden.
The Asian small-clawed otter has a hard time in nature, partly because the habitat of these animals is being reduced due to deforestation. Small-clawed otters are also hunted for their fur or to be kept as pets. William Kreijkes, head of animal care, is therefore very happy with this birth in AquaZoo. "With this we contribute to the conservation of this species and we can make our visitors aware of the threats to these animals in nature."
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In addition, the birth of this species in the park remains special, Kreijkes believes.
“Our park once started as Otterpark Aqualutra at the time of the European otter's return to the Netherlands. Over the years, the park has grown into a full-fledged zoo, but the Asian small-clawed otters have been seen in the park since its early days. Then it is nice to see that they are still doing so well with us.”
At the moment the cubs are not visible to visitors as they still have their eyes closed, but this probably won't be long. Kreijkes explains: “The young otters were born on March 7, but they will not open their eyes until around the fortieth day. The young will then be seen outside their nest fairly quickly. First they stay in the indoor enclosure to get acquainted with the water. If all goes well, the young otters will also explore the outdoor enclosure.”
The Asian small-clawed otters are found in the wet areas of Southeast Asia. Unlike other otter species, they live in groups.
Furthermore, a Tammar wallaby was also born. This species lives in the wild in southern Australia and can be recognized by its gray-brown fur with a gray-yellow colored belly. This animal species is between fifty and seventy centimeters, making it the smallest wallaby species there is.
The wallaby is the first kangaroo species seen by western explorers. The Dutchman François Pelsaert, captain of the Batavia, first saw this species in 1629. He described these animals as "jumping cats."
These animals owe their name to the Tamma bush, which they like to be sheltered under. The species lives in groups of up to fifty conspecifics. It needs little water to survive and can even drink seawater in an emergency.
Special toad species
There are also tadpoles born from the Balearic toad. This species is special because it only occurs on Mallorca and it was assumed that this species was extinct. However, in 1979 this path was rediscovered. This species has since been protected and through an intensive breeding and reintroduction program by various zoos there are again several hundred pairs.
The eggs of these toads are carried by the male on his hind legs for about three weeks. When the eggs hatch, he deposits the larvae in a pool where they can continue to grow until they are adult toads. The tadpoles can already be seen by visitors, making the metamorphosis from larva to adult Balearic toad easy to follow.