Oldest aardvark in Europe passes away


32-year-old Afer leaves behind his legacy with children aardvarks and even grand-aardvarks

Colchester Zoo recently announced that Afer, a 32-year-old aardvark passed away on June 3, 2023. He was born on May 7, 1991 at Royal Burgers Zoo in The Netherlands. Colchester Zoo was Afer’s home since 2017, and he was a father of 5, with 3 of those young being born at this zoo with female Aardvark OQ.

Afer (All images photo courtesy of Colchester Zoo).

Afer (All images photo courtesy of Colchester Zoo).

According to a zoo release,1 the 3 offspring were named Ottis, Estie, and Njaa Njaa, and they have since transferred to other zoos throughout Europe as part of the breeding program. Ottis had a male offspring named Willow who has recently transferred to Royal Burgers Zoo in The Netherlands where both Afer’s grand-aardvarks, Afer and OQ, were born.

In recent weeks, the animal care team noticed Afer was less active, so he was monitored closely by the team and the zoo veterinarian who took blood samples. On June 3, 2023, the animal care team realized he was not himself and called in the veterinarian who advised the difficult but kindest decision would be to euthanize. “This was a very sad day for everyone, Afer had a wonderful personality and will be greatly missed by the animal care team as well as many visitors who adored him,” the zoo stated in a release.1

Afer's offspring, Njaa Njaa.

Afer's offspring, Njaa Njaa.

“We hope to receive a recommendation from the European Studbook Keeper to find a mate for OQ but in the meantime, the animal care team will ensure she receives extra attention and enrichment,” the zoo added. “OQ also share her home with a group of Rock Hyrax who occasionally do cuddle up with one another, so she does have company at Aardvark Burrow.”

Aardvarks are nocturnal animals only found in the African savannahs, grasslands, woodlands, and bushlands. They are currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.1


Oldest aardvark in Europe passes away at the age of 32 years. News release. Colchester Zoo. June 8, 2023. Accessed June 9, 2023. https://www.colchester-zoo.com/2023/06/oldest-aardvark-afer

Related Videos
Related Content
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.