Exploring San Diego


Baby aardvark sheds light on mysterious species at the San Diego Zoo

Mother and baby aardvarks at San Diego Zoo
Posted at 5:41 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 20:48:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The first baby aardvark born at the San Diego Zoo is 35 years is ready to make its public debut, shedding light on a mysterious species that most people have heard of, but few have ever seen.

Little is known about the aardvark. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa and lives in burrows underground, coming out at night to search for termite hills and using it's enormously long tongue to slurp up the insects.

It's nocturnal habits and ability to hide underground mean that few people have ever seen an aardvark in the wild. Now there is a whole family of them at the Zoo.

“It was a really amazing feeling. It definitely was an honor to be a part of this historic birth," said Cari Inserra, a wildlife care specialist.

The baby has been named Nandi. She mostly keeps close to her mother, Zola, although at three months old, she is starting to become more independent in exploring her habitat.

She has also begun training to join her parents as part of the Zoo's Animal Ambassador Program, which means she'll join wildlife care specialists during presentations for zoo visitors.

“We work on helping them get used to different things being normal. Different audiences, different areas, sites, sounds, smells. All the things they might encounter when they’re meeting the general public.”

On any given day, Nandi and Zola can be seen on stage in the Africa Rocks section of the. San Diego Zoo.