A female aardvark calf born in October was formally introduced Thursday morning at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.
The 16-pound aardvark, on display in the Kingdom of the Nights because aardvarks are nocturnal, is being kept separate from her parents as the mother has a history of not being able to raise calves. To ensure survival, the calf is being looked after by zoo staff.
“When we do have to occasionally hand raise an animal like this one, we like to try to get them back close to the parents as soon as possible so as they grow up they know that they are an aardvark because they smell and hear aardvarks, so they don't think they are a human,” said general curator Dan Cassidy.
The birth is significant as there are only 30 aardvarks at a dozen Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions.
The calf currently does not have a name. The public is invited to make suggestions while visiting the Kingdom of the Night display. Entries will be accepted until January 10th. The winning name will be selected by the calf's keepers. The person who submits the winning entry gets a hand-on educational experience for up to six family members with the adult aardvarks.