West Midland Safari Park celebrates birth of three baby endangered chinchillas
Keepers at West Midland Safari Park are celebrating the birth of three endangered baby chinchillas.
The three fluffy long-tailed chinchilla youngsters, known as 'kits' were born to first-time parents Gladys and Julian.
Th two baby boys have been named Hodor and Hercules and the girl has been called Helena.
During their afternoon rounds in early June, keepers at the Bewdley attraction were overjoyed to find three tiny balls of fluff – no bigger than a ping pong ball – cuddled up to their mother.
WATCH: Three baby endangered chinchillas born at West Midland Safari Park
Amy Sewell, head keeper of the Discovery Trail at the Safari Park, said: "At present we have two adult long-tailed chinchillas by the names of Gladys and Julian and we are over the moon that they have become first-time parents to three incredibly cute kits. Gladys is doing a great job of looking after all three, which is a hard task, as the kits are already exploring their surroundings.
"Unlike a lot of mammal species, the kits are born almost as tiny replicas of their parents, with their eyes open, a full coat of fur and are very mobile. Although they rely on mum’s milk for the first few days, ours are already on solids. Their birth is great news for us as their wild counterparts in South America, are currently classed as ‘endangered’, with the population declining by 90 per cent in the last 15 years.
“Gladys is currently on maternity leave, but Julian can still be seen at the new purpose-built animal encounter stage, which provides a great opportunity to educate our guests about these incredible animals during our daily talks."
Long-tailed chinchillas are classed as ‘endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They have been threatened for years by human activities such as poaching, hunting, the pet trade and their habitats being used for mining and grazing by domestic cattle and goats.
The chinchilla kits are another addition to the Park’s recent baby boom, with the appearance of three dhole pups in March, two penguin chicks in May and a Persian fallow deer fawn in June.
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.