Five-month-old aardvark Windsel is still nursing from his mother at the Cincinnati Zoo. Every Friday when Winsel begins to feed, zoo staffers draw several milliliters of his mother’s milk from the available nipples without disturbing the baby.The samples are sent to the Exotic Animal Milk Repository at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.
This allows us to determine what basis of the milk, what’s in it and if it changes and how it changes in the formulation over time.Artificial recipes tailored for specific periods in the nursing cycle for species is critical for zoos trying to hand raise a newborn animal that’s unable to feed from its mother.
We have sent them, you know, gorilla milk samples, hippo milk samples and now aardvark milk samples so this will increase the base knowledge that they have which not only can help us but also all other Zoological facilities around the world.
The repository has some 15000 samples from 185 species sent in by zoos across the country but it last received aardvark milk in 1992.There’s not that many aardvarks in captivity around and especially being bred and especially where we’re the keepers and everything have had interactions with the animal so that you can know you can do this.
While windsel is thriving on his own, data from the National Milk Repository helped another newborn in Cincinnati.There was a baby Fiona, a hippo born at Cincinnati Zoo and she was unfortunately born prematurely.
She couldn’t even basically stand on her feet and therefore she couldn’t nurse from her mother, they sent the milk to us so that we could analyse it so that we could sent that information back to their nutritionist so that their nutrition staff and keeper staff could come up with a formula that was as close as possible to be able to fit mother’s milk for Fiona.The young hippo is alive and well and a star attraction at the zoo.
For writer Faiza Elmasry, I’m Faith Lapidus, VOA News.
美国之音新闻，Faiza Elmasry口述，Faith Lapidus报道。