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Zoo’s Mother’s Day surprise First calf for yak mum aged 11




ZSL Whipsnade Zoo has welcomed its first yak baby in more than a decade, just in time for Mother’s Day.

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The four-week-old calf, who keepers have named Zak, was born in the early hours of February 8 and is an extra special arrival for mum, Sashi, as it’s her very first baby at the age of eleven. Female yaks generally give birth for the first time at the age of three or four and reach their peak reproductive fitness at around six.


Zak was spotted standing on his own four hooves within minutes of being born and has been busy exploring the Zoo’s expansive Passage Through Asia paddock, where he lives in the company of camels, deer, antelope, and the rest of the yak herd.


Donovan Glyn, Asia section team leader, said: “It was a big surprise that mum gave birth at the age of 11 but she’s doing an excellent job considering it’s her first time and we’re hopeful this could mean more births in the future.


“Zak’s settled into the herd really well, he’s already grown in confidence with the help of mum and his aunties who are on hand to help out with babysitting duties.”


Zak isn’t the only animal at Whipsnade who will be celebrating his first Mother’s Day on Sunday – three-month-old greater one horned rhino, Jamil, will be spending it with his mum, Behan; while nine-month-old red panda twins, Yin and Yang, will be spending it with their mum, Tashi.

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