Two fossa pups, highly endangered carnivores native to Madagascar, were born in the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont on June 17. Now almost two months old, the pups have been successfully reared and cared for by the zoo's veterinarian technician Laurie Hahn, after their mother lost interest in their growth. The litter consists of one boy and one girl.
Breeding and rearing fossa pups is a delicate process at which few zoos in the country have been successful.
“The infants required feedings every two hours around the clock for the first two weeks,” zoo employee Brandi Owens said. The pups, which are being cared for in Hahn's home, have only just begun ingesting solid foods.
Born at just 80 grams with their eyes sealed shut, the pups currently weigh in at 500 grams and are set to feature in a Madagascar exhibit, still in development, that will also include their parents.
Partnered with the Global Wildlife Trust, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is a nonprofit organization that nurtures its “wildlife ambassadors” and strives for the conservation of their “wild counterparts” in natural habitats, according to Owens.
The organization is committed to both global and local preservation of animals and natural resources. The preserve has successfully bred multiple generations of animals with at-risk populations, including Bengal tigers, sun bears, jaguars and booted macaques.
The zoo, which is home to more than 1100 animals, offers wildlife safari rides in an army surplus troop carrier. Passengers will be exposed to wildlife from six different continents, such as emus and African zebras. The zoo’s visiting hours run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult admission (ages 13 and over) is $16.95 and child admission (ages 3-12) is $11.50.
The zoo is welcoming material and time donations from sponsors. Those interested in contributing may contact general curator Mario Lopez at 301-271-4922 ext.10.