Aardvark cub born at San Diego Zoo
First of its kind to be born at the zoo in over 35 years
On May 10, 2022, The San Diego Zoo welcomed a female aardvark cub. Born to first-time aardvark parents—mother Zola and father Azaan—the cub, who is currently unnanmed, is doing well according to wildlife care specialists.
“We are elated to have this little cub in our care,” expressed Cari Inserra, lead wildlife care specialist at San Diego Zoo, in an organizational release.1 “She is very active and was using her sharp claws to dig like an adult aardvark, just hours after her birth.”
“Zola is an excellent mother and nurses her cub frequently. The cub is developing quickly and has tripled her birth weight from just over 4 pounds to over 13 pounds in just five weeks,” continued Inserra.
Zola and Azaan were matched through a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). According to the release,1 aardvarks are classified as a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. However, the overall population of aardvarks is unknown because they are hardly seen due to their nocturnal and secretive habits. They are currently at risk because of the human population influx resulting in loss of habitat and hunting.
The cub and Zola will stay in an off-view habitat for about 2 months so they can bond. When Zola is ready, she will bring her cub outside, and visitors can spot them during a wildlife presentation at the Africa Rocks stage.
“We can’t wait until we are able to introduce the cub to our Zoo guests, helping them learn more about this remarkable species,” concluded Inserra.
Aardvarks are born with wrinkly, pink skin and floppy ears, and at 5 weeks old, this cub’s skin has started to smooth. Plus, she has tall ears, a pig-like snout, a long and strong tail, and poor eyesight, but an incredible sense of smell. The cub will nurse from Zola for approximately 6 months and start eating insects after 2 to 3 months. At 1 year old, she will be full-grown, independent, and could weigh up to 140 pounds.1
San Diego Zoo welcomes an aardvark cub. News release. San Diego Zoo. June 15, 2022. Accessed June 16, 2022. https://sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org/pr/AardvarkCub