Our carnivore experts have welcomed fossa pups for the first time in our 91-year history!
The 12-week-old pups, who have arrived to parents Shala and Isalo, are only now beginning to venture outside after remaining tucked away for their first few weeks of life.
The fossa trio, which have been revealed as a male and two females, are a HUGE cause for celebration for all of us here at the zoo. They are the first of their kind to EVER be born here! We’ll soon be choosing names for the triplets, but for now we’re enjoying watching the adorable pups explore and play together in their natural habitat.
“The birth of Shala’s triplets is a huge cause for celebration. Not only are they the first pups to ever be born at our zoo, but their arrival into the endangered species breeding programme will allow us to discover more about their behaviours – from tiny pups all the way to adults.”
Rachael Boatwright, Zookeeper
Rachael continued to say:
“This is Shala’s first litter, and while it’s still early days, her three pups are doing great and are now full of confidence as they learn to climb trees and explore together, all under the watchful eye of mum, of course.”
A distant relative of the mongoose, the fossa is a slender, cat-like mammal. It’s only found in the forests of Madagascar, where it’s the top predator. The rare carnivore is equipped with a long tail that helps it balance when leaping amongst the tree branches, as well as large eyes that help it to see better at night when hunting for prey such as lemurs, wild pigs and mice.
The fossa is highly threatened as a result of widespread habitat loss in Madagascar. Scientists report that the island has already lost up to 90% of its forests, which means that many species are now on the very brink of extinction.
The world’s authority of the state of nature, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), lists the fossa as vulnerable to extinction, with recent estimates suggesting as few as 2,600 remain in the wild.
Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants, added:
“These three fossa pups are INCREDIBLY important to the future of the species and the safety-net population found in conservation zoos like ours, which has become vitally important given the huge amount of deforestation in Madagascar.
“In the wake of such dramatic devastation on the island, our zoo experts have, for more than a decade, been working with project partners Madagasikara Voakajy on the ground to help save this unique paradise and the thousands of animals that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. These three little pups give us hope that we can protect this species from being lost altogether.”