Sussex

Second rare fennec fox cub litter born at Sussex zoo

Fennec fox cubs at Drusillas Park zoo
Image caption Fennec foxes have a high mortality rate

A second litter of rare foxes has been born at an East Sussex zoo in less than six months, officials said.

The two fennec foxes cubs born at Drusillas Park Zoo, Alfriston, in July follow the birth of triplets in March.

Zoo manager Sue Woodgate said: "I was shocked and delighted when our head keeper called me to say we had baby fennec foxes again.

"It is so unusual for fennec foxes to rear one, let alone two litters in a year."

The animals are the smallest member of the dog family and have oversized ears, which can grow up to 15cm (6in) long.

Parents Mali and Tabari where introduced to Drusillas in November 2009 as part of a European breeding programme.

Head keeper, Mark Kenward, said: "The babies are doing really well. In the first litter there were three females; this time we have a male and a female.

"They have just started venturing out and exploring the enclosure with their older sisters."

Fennec foxes have a high mortality rate and the twins are the second surviving cubs in the UK since 2008.

The canines inhabit the Sahara desert in North Africa, where they are threatened by hunting and the pet trade.

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