Over the past several weeks Jersey Zoo keepers have been looking after a beautiful baby aye-aye, who was rejected by her mother.
On 15th May the aye-aye was born and named by her keepers as Mifaly, meaning ‘playful’ and ‘to rejoice’ in Malagasy, she was also one of the smallest babies on record, weighing only 65g. Newborn aye-ayes would usually weigh between 90g–120g, but Mifaly has progressed extremely well and has now more than trebled her birth weight.
Sadly Mifaly was rejected by her Mother. Senior Mammal Keeper, Rachel Cowen, said:
“Unfortunately, Zanvie doesn’t seem to want to feed her offspring or curl up around them to keep them warm. Two of her infants have been successfully hand-reared before while Zanvie resided at Bristol Zoo, so we knew that we might have to hand-rear this baby. The global captive population of aye-ayes is quite small, and there aren’t very many females of breeding age in the European population, so it is still really important for Zanvie to breed, as she is the daughter of wild-born aye-aye Patrice, who was brought back from Madagascar by Gerald Durrell in 1990 and still lives at Jersey Zoo today.”
“It has been an incredible privilege to witness the infant’s growth and development, as normally baby aye-ayes stay hidden in the nest for the first couple of months, so we don’t get to see what they are doing in there! It’s been amazing to see how instinctive some of their behaviours are. She has recently started to ‘tap’ things in her box and then try to chew on them – this is her beginning to practice the percussive foraging behaviour that aye-ayes do in the wild, which enables them to access their favourite juicy grubs and insects from under the tree bark. She is incredibly playful and to have another female in the population is fantastic news for the conservation of this rare species.”
image credit: Jersey Zoo