Chester Zoo: rare trio of fossa triplets emerge from den for first time since being born

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The pups were born earlier this year, but have been seen for the first time

Three 12-week-old Fossa pups have emerged from their den at Chester Zoo, for the first time since being born.

The three pups were born on July 9 2022 and spent the first dozen weeks in their den with mum Shala. Both mum Shala and dad Isalo are five years old.

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In the forests of Madagascar, the fossa moves swiftly through trees, so much so that conservationists have trouble researching and observing them in the wild.

Staff at Chester Zoo talked of the importance of the occasion and experts working with the species at the zoo hope to gain valuable insights into their behaviours – all while fighting to protect their forest home.

The 12 week-old pups at Chester Zoo (Photo: Chester Zoo)The 12 week-old pups at Chester Zoo (Photo: Chester Zoo)
The 12 week-old pups at Chester Zoo (Photo: Chester Zoo)

Rachael Boatwright, zookeeper at the conservation zoo, said: “The fossa is one of the world’s most elusive carnivores and little is currently known about how they live in the wild.

“The birth of Shala’s triplets is therefore a huge cause for celebration – not only are they the first pups to ever be born at our zoo, but their arrival into the endangered species breeding programme will allow us to discover more about their behaviours - from tiny pups all the way to adults.

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“This is Shala’s first litter, and while it’s still early days, her three pups are doing great and are now full of confidence as they learn to climb trees and explore together, all under the watchful eye of mum, of course.”

Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants, added: “These three fossa pups are incredibly important to the future of the species and the safety-net population found in conservation zoos like ours, which has become vitally important given the huge amount of deforestation in Madagascar.

5 facts about the fossa

  • The fossa is a carnivore and preys on small to medium sized animals from fish to birds
  • The fossa has retractable claws and can climb down the tree headfirst
  • The fossa is the top predator on the island of Madagascar.
  • A relative of the mongoose, the fossa is unique to the forests of Madagascar, an African island in the Indian Ocean
  • Growing up to 6 feet long from nose to tail tip, and weighing up to 12kg, the fossa is a slender-bodied catlike creature with little resemblance to its mongoose cousins.
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