By Michael Scott
THESE adorable images show the first healthy baby aardvark to be born at Cincinnati zoo in more than 20 years.
The little cub – named Winsol because he was born on the winter solstice – is now being cared for by staff at the zoo.
Mum Ali, 13, gave birth to her baby boy weighing just three pounds at the end of last year.
The animal care team are now closely supervising the pair during the day to ensure that Ali doesn’t accidentally roll over or step on the infant.
The care team could be dedicated aardvark babysitters for two or three months, according to the zoo.
As soon as the care team is confident that little Winsol can hold his own, he and Ali will move to the aardvark habitat.
The calf’s father, 23-year-old Diggy, is already there.
Winsol is the first healthy aardvark baby to be born at the Zoo since 1994.
Mike Dulaney, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo, said: “Aardvarks are notoriously clumsy, and we are intervening to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
“Other zoos have had success with this intensive rearing approach.
“Ali is comfortable around people and doesn’t seem to mind all the attention from her caregivers.
“They sit with mom and baby all day and step in to reposition the calf when he’s under foot or not in the right nursing position.”
Head neonate keeper Dawn Strasser said: “He came out with personality.
“He was active right away and walked about five days sooner than most aardvark babies do. His ears also perked up days before most do.”