On the 12th of July animal staff at Africa Alive! were thrilled to learn that our female fossa ‘Tana’ had given birth to her second litter of cubs. The clue was when they heard noises coming from the nest box in the cubbing den. The nest box had been specially constructed by her keepers once it had become obvious that Tana was pregnant back in June. This is only the parks second litter of fossa since 2004. Our original breeding pair had an excellent breeding record, and after they succumbed to old age (the female is still the oldest fossa ever to have lived in a European zoo), we had to wait for Tana to become mature before we could pair her up with the male Edward.
Edward, the father, arrived from San Antonio Zoo in Texas, USA in 2002 and mother Tana came from Reserve Zoologique de Calviac in France in 2013 and despite this being only Tana’s second litter, she is once again proving to be a very good mother.
Young fossa are quite shy and not very agile to begin with, so it is important that they are given the time to gain both the strength and confidence to explore their environment and learn how to behave from their mother. For this reason, the cubs have been left alone and so have yet to be sexed and therefore, have still to be named.
Until recently, Tana and the cubs were off public show to ensure that they had the privacy they required for a successful rearing. However, now that the cubs are both old enough and agile enough, this week the family are being allowed access to the main fossa inside show dens, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of these adorable youngsters for the first time.
There are very few zoos that keep fossa and at the moment, the European breeding programme comprises 68 animal’s (37 males, 27 females and our 4 babies), in only 26 collections, so this is yet another important addition to the park and will play a crucial role in assisting with the European breeding programme for this species.