Chester Zoo has welcomed a new anoa a species which is described as devilish in their forest home of Indonesia.
After a 282 day pregnancy first time mum, Oana gave birth to a baby. Keepers have named the female youngster Lasola after an island in Sulawesi. This species is classified as endangered and are the world’s smallest species of cattle.
The assistant curator of mammals, Dr Nick Davis said, “As with many Indonesian island species, the lowland anoa faces an uncertain future. Hunting for their meat is a really serious threat to them. The taste is described as hot and fiery and men believe that eating the meat of this powerful, horned animal will give them prowess. Hunters are even managing to breach areas of Sulawesi which were thought to give protection to the anoas. The only way this hunting pressure can be reduced is through the establishment of better protected areas and education.”
At home in Sulawesi this species is being unfairly prosecuted due to people characterising it as the ‘demon of the forest.’ Local farmers believe that each night it emerges from the forest to kill their cattle with their horns.
“In the wild they’ve been given the unfair tag as being ‘demons’ of the forest. As a result they’re persecuted by farmers who hold them responsible for damage to their cattle. Take one look at our new calf and it’s impossible to see how anyone could label or harm them in such a way – they’re a very shy and secretive animal,” added Davis.
At the zoo they are safe and slated to move to a new home next year. The zoo is building a £30 million habitat known as islands. This habitat will recreate the habitats of Phillipines, Bali, Sulawesi, Papua, Sumba and Sumatra. It is seen as the biggest, most ambitious project in UK zoo history.
Of the expansion Davis said, “Indonesian islands are treasure trove of unique and fragile plants and animals and that’s why they’re a big focus for our conservation work. When it opens next year we hope our new Islands zone will really put the spotlight on species such Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Visayan warty pigs, Bali starlings and anoa and the threats they face.”
Visitors can meet the young Anoa at the zoo now.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo