Image via Denver Zoo/Facebook
An aye-aye, one of the rarest and hardest to see animals in the world, was just born at the Denver Zoo—which now houses three of the 24 aye-ayes in captivity. According to the Denver Zoo, there are an unknown number of aye-ayes out in the wild.
The female aye-aye, named Tonks, was born on August 8 to parents Bellatrix and Smeagol. While Tonks is currently healthy and thriving in her nest box, her first few days worried scientists, as Bellatrix wasn’t initially providing care for Tonks.
“We noticed that Bellatrix wasn’t showing typical mothering behaviors, so we decided to step in to give Tonks some supportive care,” Lead Primate Keeper Becky Sturges says in the release.
“We provided 24-hour care for the first week and had to teach Bellatrix how to nurse, but now she is nursing well and Tonks has gained a lot of weight. Now we’re just monitoring them to make sure things continue to go well.”
The birth of Tonk is a win for biologists attempting to resuscitate the dwindling aye-aye population.
Aye-ayes are distinct-looking creatures, with dark hair, rodent teeth and extra-long claws. They can live up to 20 years old and reach 5 pounds as adults. Native to the remote areas of Madagascar, these lemurs are considered elusive and difficult to spot.
Tonks will remain in her nest box for a couple more months before she will be viewable by the public.
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