San Diego Zoo greets first aardvark cub in more than 35 years

SAN DIEGO — A floppy-eared, hairless, pink and wrinkly newborn is capturing hearts at the San Diego Zoo.

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The San Diego Zoo on Tuesday announced the birth of a female aardvark cub, the first at the facility in more than 35 years, KSWB-TV reported.

In a news release, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said that the unnamed cub was born May 10 and weighed 4 pounds. She has since tripled her weight in five weeks. Her parents are Zola and Azaan, the organization said.

“We are elated to have this little cub in our care,” Cari Inserra, the lead wildlife care specialist for the San Diego Zoo, said in a statement. “She is very active, and was using her sharp claws to dig like an adult aardvark, just hours after her birth.”

The cub’s parents were paired through a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, KNBC-TV reported.

“Zola is an excellent mother, and nurses her cub frequently,” Inserra said. “The cub is developing quickly and has tripled her birth weight from just over 4 pounds to over 13 pounds in just five weeks. We can’t wait until we are able to introduce the cub to our zoo guests, helping them learn more about this remarkable species.”

For now, Zola and her cub remain in an off-view habitat while they bond, KSWB reported. The infant’s skin is smoothing out and she is growing hair.

“When Zola is ready, she will bring her cub outside, and guests may see them during a wildlife presentation at the Africa Rocks stage,” zoo officials said.