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Rare fennec fox cub triplets born at East Sussex zoo

28 April 10 07:54 GMT

Three rare foxes have been born at an East Sussex zoo as part of a European breeding programme.

The fennec foxes cubs were born at Drusillas Park Zoo, Alfriston, last month and are believed to be the first litter to be bred in Europe in 2010.

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

Zoo manager Sue Woodgate said:"I am absolutely thrilled with the new arrivals."

Fennec foxes have a high mortality rate and the triplets, born to parents, Mali and Tabari, are the only surviving cubs in the UK since 2008.

'Growing stronger'

Ms Woodgate added: "To successfully rear one fennec fox is an achievement; to rear three is truly exceptional.

"Mali and Tabari have proved themselves to be natural parents. This, combined with the care and dedication of our keepers, has meant the three little foxes are healthy and growing stronger by the day."

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

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

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