Born just before 4 a.m., it weighs 135 grams and resembles a living spruce cone. The first pangolin pup that was born not just in the Prague Zoo, but also the first one ever in all of Europe.
„We are incredibly happy, but at the same time we do realize that the following days might be critical,“ warns the Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek. „The female pangolin Run Hou Tang that we got from the Taipei Zoo had already raised an offspring, so the chances are relatively high.“
The Chinese pangolins, the female Run Hou Tang and the male named Guo Bao, were obtained by the Prague Zoo directly from Taiwan in April 2022. Prague Zoo became only the second zoo in Europe that keeps these peculiar and highly endangered mammals.
„The birth of a pangopup in the Prague Zoo is a significant and cute outcome of economic diplomacy. We have the rare pangolins in Prague only thanks to a close partnership with the Taiwan metropolis Taipei that we had established three years ago,” says Zdeněk Hřib, the mayor of the city of Prague.
Breeding the pangolins is extremely difficult as they require a specially prepared nutritious mash, the main component of which being the bee larvae. Also the whole gravidity term was closely observed.
„We started doing regular ultrasound screenings of Run Hou Tang since the fourth month of her gravidity,“ recalls the zookeeper David Vala. „We constructed a special bar that allows for a quiet examination, while the female feeds undisturbed leaning against this unique construction.“
Pangolins are the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world and the Prague Zoo has been striving to protect them in their homeland for a long time now, both in Africa and Asia. Prague Zoo will keep the public informed about the possibilities to see the pangolin pup in a close future.