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Baby Aardvark Growing Up At Brookfield Zoo

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An new baby Aardvark with mother, Jessi. (Credit: Brookfield Zoo)

An new baby Aardvark with mother, Jessi. (Credit: Brookfield Zoo)

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BROOKFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A baby aardvark is the newest resident of Brookfield Zoo.

The aardvark calf was born on Jan. 12, and has grown to 15 pounds in the nearly six weeks since. The zoo does not yet know if the calf is male or female.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

The calf will not be on public display for several months, but zoo visitors will soon be able to view it over a live video monitor.

Aardvarks weigh about 4 1/2 pounds at birth, and are very fragile when they are first born. So the zoo assisted the calf’s mother, 7-year-old Jessi, in rearing the baby.

The zoo has been giving the calf round-the-clock care and providing supplemental aardvark formula to ensure its health.

For the first several weeks after it was born, the calf spent every night at the zoo Animal Hospital with veterinary staff, and was returned to Jessi in the mornings. Since aardvarks are nocturnal, the aardvark was able to nurse while its mother was asleep during the day.

keeper dana vinci giving a bottle to aardvark calf Baby Aardvark Growing Up At Brookfield Zoo

Keeper Dana Vinci feeds a new baby aardvark. (Credit: Brookfield Zoo)

Since 1992, there have been nine aardvarks born at Brookfield Zoo, most recently in 2002. Jessi and the calf’s father, Hoover, 17, are on breeding loans from the Memphis Zoo and the San Antonio Zoo, respectively.

The aardvark is the only representative of its taxonomic order, Tubulidentata It is native to sub-Saharan Africa, and its name is Afrikaans for “earth pig.”

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