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Aardvark in Czech zoo is male, experts decide after long enquiry

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Olomouc, North Moravia, Dec 28 (CTK) – The aardvark the Olomouc zoo acquired from Russia this spring is a male, experts decided after a long enquiry, which was very difficult because aardvarks have sexual organs hidden inside their body and thus “invisible,” the zoo’s spokeswoman Kamila Breckova has told CTK.

The determination of the sex of the aardvark, which came to Olomouc from the Yekaterinburg zoo, was important for the foreign coordinator to decide on whether to send a male or a female to Olomouc to form a pair with the local specimen.

The Yekaterinburg zoo previously announced that its aardvark going to Olomouc was a male, but the Olomouc zoo management could not verify the information. That is why it addressed the Genomia laboratory, seated in Plzen, west Bohemia, and dealing with genetic testing of animals.

“The aardvark’s DNA has not been described yet, its sexual chromosomes that would help determine a specimen’s sex are still unknown,” Genomia director Marketa Dajbychova said.

The experts used DNA samples taken from the fur of a male and a female kept in the Dvur Kralove zoo, the only other Czech zoo to have the species, and compared them with the Olomouc specimen’s DNA.

Trying various comparative methods, the genetic experts finally found out the difference between the aardvark male and female DNAs, which enabled us to define the Olomouc specimen as a male.

Negotiations on the arrival of a female partner are underway, Breckova said.

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