Bioparc Valencia, a modern immersion-style zoo in east-central Spain, is pleased and proud to introduce its newest and shyest resident: a cute baby aardvark.
You read that right – cute baby aardvark. We're guessing it's the first (and probably last) time you'll ever see the words “cute” and “aardvark” cheek by jowl in the same sentence.
Just seeing an aardvark of any age is rare enough: while not considered to be endangered and with a home range encompassing most of the African continent south of the Sahara, aardvarks are elusive and secretive creatures who are nocturnal by nature. Aardvarks are insectivores and mainly eat termites, though they're not “anteaters” in the zoological sense. Rather, aardvarks' closest relatives are tenrecs, manatees and elephants!
Bioparc Valencia, a 10-hectare (25-acre) zoo park in Valencia, Spain, opened in 2008. The zoo avoids the use of traditional railing and cages, opting instead to separate animals and human visitors with rivers, ponds, rock formations and other such eco-friendly barriers. The zoo specializes in housing African fauna in reproduced eco-systems employing transplanted native African flora.
The new baby aardvark was born in early January and has spent much of its infancy with its mother in an underground burrow. Now that the “pup” has surpassed a number of maturity milestones, she is gradually being introduced into the zoo's above-ground aardvark enclosure.
What's her name, you ask? Well, Bioparc Valencia hasn't decided that yet – maybe they'll let the public decide via an online contest of sorts. We'd like to suggest anything BUT “Aardvarky McAardvarkface.”