Chester Zoo in England is “overjoyed” after welcoming its first baby aardvark in its 90-year history. The aardvark calf was named Dobby because it resembles the iconic Harry Potter house-elf character. Both Dobby from Harry Potter and the new zoo addition have oversized ears and wrinkled, hairless skin.
“As soon as we saw the new baby next to mum, we noticed its uncanny resemblance to the Harry Potter character. Dobby,” the zoo’s team manager, Dave White, said in a statement.
Dobby’s mother and zookeepers are caring for the five-week-old aardvark. According to a zoo press release, keepers are responsible for feeding the baby animal every few hours during the evening.
“Aardvark parents are well-known for being clumsy around their newborns,” White said. “Because the baby is so small and delicate, we’re protecting it from any accidental bumps and bruises by assisting mum with supplementary feeding sessions throughout the night, just until the calf is a little stronger,” says the mother.
He further said that the calf and its mother, Oni, enjoy “bonding and snuggling up.”
Dobby is one of only 66 aardvarks in European zoos, out of a total of 109 aardvarks in accredited zoos worldwide.
“Caring for aardvarks in zoos allows us to learn more about them — how they live. Their behaviors, and their biology,” said Mark Brayshaw, the zoo’s mammalian curator. Helping to inform better our efforts to preserve their numbers,” he added.