A NEW RESIDENT
When in March this year the black and rufous elephant shrews moved into the Afrykarium, no one expected them to have their first litter so soon. This is a huge success, because it is a little known species, rarely found in zoos. They can be viewed in the Congo Rainforest, between the crocodiles and the manatees.
The first pair of the black and rufous elephant shrews Migotka and Ryjek, came to Wrocław from the Rotterdam zoo in April 2018. After a year, another female from Rotterdam named Mała Mi, joined them.
At the turn of October and November this year both females gave birth. It was expected, but had an element of surprise. After all, the black and rufous elephant shrews are most likely monogamous animals!
- In nature they are loners, although they are suspected to form monogamous pairs during estrus. However, our individuals have just undermined this theory - smiles Andrzej Miozga, head of Small Mammals Department and the shrews’ keeper. – The litters were born one day apart.
The president of the Wrocław zoo also smiles when asked about the shrews’ monogamy.
- Yes, it's very interesting. For us, this means another challenge- confirm that they are not monogamous, or prove that it is just a bump on the path to a monogamous relationship. Both options have specific consequences. If it turns out that they are not monogamous, it will mean that the population in the natural environment is able to recover quite quickly, and this is important for protecting the species from extinction. - says Radosław Ratajszczak.
As you can see, there is still plenty to discover in nature.
Of course, we have basic knowledge about the black and rufous elephant shrews. They are one of 17 species of African elephant shrews, some of which are known quite well. However, they come from various regions, therefore their dietary and environmental needs differ.
- Almost everything we know about the biology of this species should be taken with a grain of salt. This means that breeding them requires special attention - constant learning and continuous exchange of information with other zoos. - says Radosław Ratajszczak, president of the Wrocław zoo.
The breeding of a little-known species is entrusted only to experienced teams. As you can see, once again, Wrocław is doing very well. After 19 months of work, we've achieved our goal - the animals acclimatized and felt well enough to start reproducing. Now, all five of them can be viewed in the Afrykarium.
The Wrocław zoo is the only zoo in Poland that saves animals in their natural environment. Additionally, at its location, the zoo breeds endangered species, among others. By visiting ZOO Wrocław, and especially by choosing the "Saving wildlife" admission ticket, visitors help save many species of animals - from Indian rhinoceroses to frogs from Titicaca.