The fossa pups were born in July but didn’t come out of their den until September
A trio of adorable and rare baby fossa pups made their first public appearance at the Chester Zoo.
Born on July 9, the triplets, now 12 weeks old, were spotted on Friday after spending weeks hiding away in their den with their mother, Shala.
The cat-like animals, distant relatives of the mongoose, can only be found in the forests of Madagascar in the wild. The creatures are also rare at the U.K. zoo. The triplets are the first fossas born at the Chester Zoo in the English facility’s 91-year history. The newborns include a male and two females who have yet to be named.
“The fossa is one of the world’s most elusive carnivores, and little is currently known about how they live in the wild,” Rachael Boatwright, a Chester Zoo keeper, said in a release.
She continued, “The birth of Shala’s triplets is therefore 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 program will allow us to discover more about their behaviors — from tiny pups all the way to adults.”
The new fossa additions are Shala’s first kids, Boatwright added, “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.”
Mike Jordan, director of animals and plants, also noted the significance of the pups to fossa conservation.
“These three 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,” he said.
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“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,” Jordan added.
He concluded: “These three little pups give us hope that we can protect this species from being lost altogether.”