In less than two years, a second Chinese pangolin has been born at Prague Zoo and is doing well, defying all expectations and surprising the park’s managers.

PRAGUE – In less than two years, a second Chinese pangolin has been born at Prague Zoo. He is doing well, despite all expectations and to the great surprise of the park rangers.

The female of the critically endangered mammal was born on July 1. It is the second Chinese pangolin to be born in captivity in Europe, after her sister Cone in February last year.

She weighed just 141 grams (4.97 ounces), but was gaining about 10 grams (0.3 ounces) daily and could reach 250 grams (8.8 ounces) this week, the zoo said. Adults can weigh up to 6.8 kilograms (15 pounds).

When the park acquired Guo Bao, a male, and Run Hou Tang, a female, from Taipei Zoo, the mammals’ main breeder, in 2022, the main goal was to keep them alive and in good health, zoo director Miroslav Bobek said Wednesday.

“We definitely hoped that we would have a baby one day, but absolutely no one expected that we would have two within a year and a half,” Bobek said.

The Chinese pangolin is native to southern China and Southeast Asia. It is one of four pangolin species in Asia, the others are found in Africa. They are heavily hunted for their scales and meat.

It is difficult to breed pangolins in captivity, because they require special food, which includes drone larvae. They also require a certain humidity and temperature in their enclosure.

Prague was only the second European zoo to keep this species.

The pangolins came after Prague decided to withdraw a sister city agreement with Beijing and signed a similar deal with Taiwan’s capital Taipei in 2020. The deal raised tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The agreement included cooperation between the zoos in Taipei and Prague.