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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Zoo staff make a fuss over fossa
Fossa: picture from Newquay Zoo
The fossa is the largest carnivore in Madagascar
A Cornish zoo is celebrating after an endangered male fossa cub was born there for the first time.

The tiny cub, Geoff, was born at Newquay Zoo six weeks ago and has just been microchipped and sexed.

There are only about 100 fossas in zoos worldwide and only six zoos in the UK have them.

They look like cats but are actually part of the mongoose family. He was named after a retired member of staff who recently died, Geoff Gerry.

When we decided to microchip the baby everyone wanted to help
Stewart Muir, Newquay Zoo

There are now three fossas at Newquay Zoo, Geoff and his mother and father - Mavis and Harry - who have been at Newquay Zoo for about two and half years.

Stewart Muir from Newquay Zoo said: "When we decided to microchip the baby on Monday everyone wanted to help.

"If you leave it too long before you microchip it can be all teeth and claws.

"Doing this at six weeks is perfect as the baby is not really aware of what is happening and so is not stressed, and it is safer for the keepers as teeth and claws are not a problem at this age."

Classified as endangered, the fossa grows to about the size of a Jack Russell terrier.

There are fewer than 2,500 left in the wild where they feed on a wide variety of small mammals, birds and reptiles.

In forest areas of Madagascar lemurs can make up more than 50% of their diet.

"He is expected to spend another month or so in the den before he starts to venture outside," said Mr Muir.

Geoff the fossa is tagged by zoo staff

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