'We are honored to have them here and to help conserve this vulnerable species,' the zoo said of the pup and its parents.
The Nashville Zoo recently added a history-making adorable new member to its assembly of animals. Late last month, the zoo welcomed the incredibly cute baby of a lesser-known species—the spotted fanaloka—into its clan. Born on April 29 to a pair of fanalokas that recently arrived at the zoo, the baby is the first pup of its kind to be born in the United States. "A BABY FIRST: We are thrilled to announce a spotted fanaloka was born on April 29 and can be seen in the neonatal care room at our Veterinary Center," the zoo tweeted.
"This is the first known of its species to be born at an AZA facility here in the United States. We're a fan," the tweet added. According to PEOPLE, the "healthy and alert" spotted fanaloka pup is currently being hand-reared by the zoo's veterinary staff in the neonatal care room. Both parents are also currently being kept in an area out of public view. The Nashville Zoo is presently working to breed and conserve them in an effort to bring attention to this lesser-known species. Sharing the news with its 125,000 followers on Instagram, the zoo introduced the new resident as a "brand-new Zoo baby, from a species you've probably never heard of."
"On April 29, we welcomed the very FIRST spotted fanaloka to be born in the United States. Fanaloka is a lesser-known small carnivore from Madagascar. The male pup’s parents recently arrived at the Zoo and will be living behind the scenes. The three are the only known fanaloka to live at an AZA facility in the US. We are honored to have them here and to help conserve this vulnerable species," the post added. As mentioned in the post, the fanalokas are small carnivores native to the lowlands and rainforest of Madagascar.
Today I learned about the spotted fanaloka pic.twitter.com/H5HHAZ7rMH— jam 🐈 (@CIoveHitch) May 14, 2022
They are reportedly listed as vulnerable according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction. The second-largest predator in the region, they consume small mammals, reptiles, bird eggs, aquatic animals and insects. The as-of-now-unnamed baby fanaloka has already won countless fans across the United States and abroad since being introduced to the world by the zoo. "I don't know how many times I've looked at these pictures today, but I'm obsessed," wrote one Instagram user while another commented: "My partner and I were there for my birthday that day—that's awesome! If he ever is available for the public, I've got to meet him!"
A BABY FIRST: We are thrilled to announce a spotted fanaloka was born on April 29 and can be seen in the neonatal care room at our Veterinary Center. This is the first known of its species to be born at an AZA facility here in the United States.😍 We're a fan!😉 pic.twitter.com/JEWJGFalKw— Nashville Zoo (@NashvilleZoo) May 13, 2022
"I am a FANaloka," wrote one witty internet user and another commented: "Not to be dramatic, but I would die for that fanaloka." Meanwhile, some commended the zoo for its conservation efforts. "Congrats for doing such a great job with species conservation. I am proud of the Nashville Zoo," one shared. "How precious. Nashville Zoo, I love the work you do with lesser-known animals," another commented. In response to someone's query about whether visitors would be able to see the pup, the zoo replied: "This little guy is visible in the window of our veterinary center!"
Responding to another's question as to whether the fanaloka family would eventually be on exhibit, the individual handling the zoo's Instagram account explained: "I am not sure what the long, long term plan is for them. For the foreseeable future, they will be living behind the scenes as we focus on building a conservation program for them!"