A second critically endangered Chinese pangolin is born in the Prague zoo in less than 2 years

PRAGUE (AP) — A second Chinese pangolin was born in the Prague zoo in less than two years and is doing well, defying the odds and surprising park officials.

The female of the critically endangered mammal was born July 1, the second Chinese pangolin born in captivity in Europe following her sister, Cone, in February last year.

She weighed just 141 grams (4.97 ounces) but was putting on about 10 grams (0.3 ounces) daily and could reach 250 grams (8.8 ounces) this week, the zoo said. Adults can reach up to 6.8 kilograms (15 pounds).

When the park in 2022 received Guo Bao, a male, and Run Hou Tang, a female, from the Taipei zoo, the leading breeder of the mammals, the major goal was just to keep them alive and in good health, zoo director Miroslav Bobek said Wednesday.

“We certainly hoped that we’ll have a baby born one day in the future but absolutely nobody expected that we’ll have two in a year and a half,” Bobek said.

The Chinese pangolin is native to southern China and Southeast Asia. It's one of the four pangolin species in Asia, with the others found in Africa. They are hunted heavily for their scales and meat.

The pangolins are difficult to breed in captivity because they require a special feed that includes drone larvae and need a particular humidity and temperature in their enclosure.

Prague became only the second European zoo to keep the species.

The pangolins arrived came after Prague decided to revoke a sister-city agreement with Beijing and signed a similar deal in 2020 with the Taiwanese capital, Taipei. The deal caused tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The agreement included cooperation between the Taipei and Prague zoos.

07/10/2024 11:15 -0400

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