Some New Faces at Edinburgh Zoo!
September 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Exciting New Arrivals!
The end of August saw the arrival of a couple of new species to Edinburgh Zoo! Two weeks ago a pair of Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rats (Phloeomys pallidus) arrived and last week saw the arrival of a pair of Aardwolves (Proteles cristata). Both of these pairs came from the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC) in Kent. The Cloud Rats have now taken up residence in the Magic Forest and the Aardwolves can be seen in the small carnivore house which is next to the sun bear enclosure.
Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rats are a nocturnal rodent that lives in the forests of Northern Luzon (Luzon is an island in the Philippines). This is the only place in the world where this species can be found in the wild. Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rats are arboreal, meaning that they spend most of their lives in trees. They are classed as Least Concern by the IUCN red list but are under threat from deforestation and hunting. The cloud rat’s forest habitats are being logged and destroyed for farming and the cloud rats themselves are hunted extensively by locals for food. The pair arrived at the zoo two weeks ago and consists of a male and a female. They have settled in to their new home and can be seen in the Magic Forest!
The Aardwolves arrived just a week ago and are also a male and female pair. The two have not yet been introduced and so are being kept separate while they settle in. Once they have got used to their new surroundings keepers will gradually introduce them. Aardwolves are in the same family as hyenas but they are much smaller in size and their diet varies hugely from that of a hyena as an aardwolf’s main food source is termites. Aardwolves have a slightly unusual but very simple method of feeding on termites; they use their flat tongue and sticky saliva to lick the insects up off the ground!
Aardwolves are found throughout southern and eastern Africa but although they are widespread according to the IUCN red list they are not common within this range. They are under threat from loss of habitat and have in the past also been killed as a result of farmers thinking that they kill livestock, which is highly unlikely as they are a purely insectivorous species (they only feed on insects).