The Moscow Zoo to foster Madagascar fossas and a secretary bird

The Moscow Zoo to foster Madagascar fossas and a secretary bird
Over the next year the zoo will also become home to a maned she-wolf and a bush dog. Zoologists hope they will become couples with their conspecific friends already living in the zoo.

By the end of 2018, the Moscow Zoo’s animal collection will expand with rare Red Data Book creatures. Top European zoos will give Madagascar fossas, a maned wolf and a bush dog to the Moscow Zoo. In addition, for the first time in 30 years, a secretary bird will be seen at the zoo. Zoologists have been preparing for the new inhabitants’ arrival, partly by adjusting the enclosures.

“The Moscow Zoo has developed a long-term strategy for forming and expanding its collection. Our current priority is to bring pairs for animals kept at the zoo and to facilitate to stable and genetically diverse populations of rare species living at our zoo,” said General Director of the Moscow Zoo Svetlana Akulova.

Akulova added that the transfer of valuable animal species to the Moscow Zoo is part of the European programmes for rare species conservation in captivity.

Thus, the zoological park will get exotic fosses from Madagascar it has never had before. The young male and female animals will arrive in Moscow from Duisburg Zoo in Germany. In their homeland, the beasts are the largest predators. Zoologists characterise their appearance as similar to a puma or other cat. The body of an adult fossa can reach 80 centimetres. The tail is typically the same length.

A secretary bird is an equally important acquisition for the zoo. This bird specie is returning to the zoo after a 30 year absence. The bird owes its remarkable name to the black feathers sticking out of its back that are reminiscent of goose quills. In former times, secretaries in European courts used to decorate their wigs with similar features. The secretary bird is quite large. The bird’s body reaches 150 centimetres. Their wing span is more than two metres. The secretary bird is characterised by stamina. It is a fast runner that can get up to 30 kilometres per hour. In the wild it is endemic to the area between the Sahara and South Africa. The Moscow Zoo will receive this bird from a French ornithological reserve.

Over the next year, two couples will form in the zoo, which hopefully will become acquainted and produce offspring. The maned female wolf, a zoo inhabitant, will live in the enclosure with a male from the Berlin Zoological Garden. From the same zoo, a male bush dog will arrive to mate with a female bush dog already at the zoo.

Maned wolves are Red Data Book animals from South America. Over the last ten years, the number has drastically declined, and the species might face the threat of extinction in the next few years. Encouraging bush dogs reproduce in captivity poses quite a challenge, but Moscow Zoo specialists have the experience and skills to make it happen.

The Moscow Zoo population includes over 1,000 species and 8,000 animals. The number grows every year with new fauna from different continents, including very rare species. In 2017, an African aardvark arrived in Moscow from a nursery in Yekaterinburg. The mammal has the body of an anteater, a pig’s snout, the ears of a hare and a powerful tail like a kangaroo. Last year, three gentoo penguin couples settled at the zoo. The enclosure with the penguin family is in the zoo’s old section near the entrance to the Bird House.