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Ostrava zoo the only in world to keep rare southern tree hyrax

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Ostrava, North Moravia, Feb 1 (CTK) – The Ostrava zoo has succeeded in breeding the rare southern tree hyrax, a minor African mammal which no other world zoo keeps at present, its spokeswoman Sarka Novakova told CTK on Thursday, adding that the last pair of twins were born recently.

Previously, the hyraxes, also called dassies, were not on public display and were kept in the zoo’s premises unaccessible to the visitors, where they had offspring several times.

In 2016, the zoo placed a male in its new pavilion “Night Tanganyika,” where he was joined by a young female a few days ago.

Another pair was formed aside the public exhibition. The females from both pairs are sisters born in the Ostrava zoo in January 2017.

“They are a big hope for the further breeding of the southern tree hyrax, as after 2015, only a single female out of the whole world population remained in captivity – in the Ostrava zoo. The situation looked hopeless until last year when our adult female gave birth to two females,” the zoo expert Jiri Novak said.

He said the sex of the two newborn young is yet to be ascertained.

The zoo has nine hyrax specimen now, including four males, three females and the two new offspring, Novakova said.

“They represent the whole population kept in captivity outside Africa,” she said.

The hyrax is part of an ancient group of mammals, Afrotheria, together with the elephant, aardvark and other species. There are five hyrax species, the southern tree hyrax living only in the forests of east Africa.

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