Five Sisters Zoo, in the heart of West Lothian, has announced its newest arrival, Zazu, the fossa.
Welcomed on Friday morning, from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, this Madagascar native animal will now join species such as the meerkats, wolves and bears at its new West Calder home.
— Five Sisters Zoo (@fivesisterszoo) November 24, 2019
The fossa is the largest carnivorous mammal on the island of Madagascar and looks like a cross between a cat, a dog and a mongoose.
For a long time, it was thought to be a member of the mongoose or civet family, but the most recent research suggests, it is a member of the family of carnivores called Eupleridae, that are unique to Madagascar.
The fossa can grow up to 6 feet long from nose to tail tip, and weighs up to 26 pounds.
The animal is known to feed on lemurs but feeds on a variety of animals, ranging from pigs to mice.
Unfortunately, the fossa is now considered vulnerable to extinction in the wild, largely due to habitat destruction, and there are thought to be less than 2,500 Fossa individuals left in the wild of Madagascar.
Graham Stone, Professor of Ecology at Edinburgh University said: “A fossa is a fascinating carnivore from Madagascar. Brought to fame as a scary beast in the animated Madagascar stories, fossas are an amazing example of island evolution. They need our conservation efforts given ongoing threats to their natural habitats in Madagascar.”
Zazu’s new home, Five Sisters Zoo, houses over 120 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles from all over the world, and includes a restaurant and soft play area for children.
Earlier this year, in March, the Zoo hit the news again after it welcomed snow leopards Nala and Aruna who travelled from Belgium.
The two stunning leopards were a quick hit amongst animal lovers with over 5,500 people liking the photo of them on Facebook.