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Lockdown romance? Baby boom in Cuban zoo

Zookeepers told Reuters they’ve seen an up take in romantic encounters that resulted in a bumper crop of baby animals not seen in recent years.The newborns include leopards, bengal tigers, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and oxen, a rarity officials attribute to the many months the zoo was closed during the pandemic.”Although the pandemic has brought negative results for humanity, in the case of zoos it was beneficial. Specifically our park has had more than ten births of important species of high value, which are endangered, and can at some point restore biological diversity,” veterinarian Rachel Ortiz told Reuters.According to Ortiz, the wandering eyes of visitors and tourists who flock to the zoo has an effect on animal reproduction.”Bengal tigers cubs are another important species because ours were at an age that was not ideal for reproductive conditions. And now we have four cubs that are approximately six months old,” explained Ortiz.Not everything was ideal during the pandemic, officials acknowledged, as shortfalls of food and medicine on the crisis-stricken island also hit the zoo at times.But Deborah Maso, a veterinarian who oversees the African savannah exhibits, said zoo workers were able to dedicate the time needed to assure the animals were successful in their endeavours.”In the time of the pandemic there have been births of several exotic species, among them the birth of a giraffe named Rachel.[…] It was a great achievement, and a great joy for us,” Maso pointed out.In addition to the beautiful Bengal tiger cubs, the zoo is also thrilled by the birth of “Mamita” [Spanish short for Mother], a 40-day-old. It’s mother was a donation to Cuba from Namibia.The National Zoo is a favourite attraction for Cubans, with 1,473 specimens of more than 120 species, including large animals such as elephants and rhinos.Cuba, a Caribbean island of white sand beaches and turquoise waters popular with tourists, shuttered its borders for nearly two years amid the pandemic, and imposed strict quarantines domestically to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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