Welcome Varus the fossa

April 21, 2015

A new male fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) has arrived at Marwell Zoo.

Varus, who is nearly five years old, arrived from Parken Zoo in Sweden as part of the European Endangered species breeding Programme (EEP). The EEP aims to maintain the genetic diversity of the species and safeguard against possible extinction in the wild. 

Once Varus has settled in to his new home, he will be mixed with our female Fossa, Fiana.

Fossas are endemic to Madagascar and are the island’s largest carnivore. The species is classified as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and it is believed that less than 2,500 individuals remain on the island. 

Madagascar’s reserves are currently too small to support a viable population (which requires more than 500 individuals). However, there is a plan to increase its protected habitats from 1.7 to 6 million hectares. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to fossa numbers as well as hunting and conflict with local farmers who regard fossas as serious predators of poultry.