The cub was born at the end of June and visitors to the zoo can already see it. “From an interior space hidden from public view, he begins to explore the outdoor aviary,” zoo spokeswoman Iveta Kronska told Brau on Tuesday.
The common banana tree, better known as the purple durago, has been continuously bred by the Olomouc Zoo since 2009, but this year was the first time it was successfully bred.
In the second half of June, breeders noticed an egg in the nesting basket. After several infertile clutches, it finally settled and a small black shaggy hatched on June 25. As banana people are wont to do, his parents were fiercely protective of him. “That’s why every exploration is like a little adventure,” the spokesperson said.
Baby banana trees naturally grow fast, and Olomouc Zoo is no different. “Within a month, it had almost quadrupled its weight, and on the seventeenth day of its life it left the nesting basket and began to roam indoors, still unable to fly. Analysis of DNA from the growing pen proved that we were raising a small male,” noted Cronska.
Banana trees are popular in zoos because of their distinctive and unique coloration. “All Durakus species produce in their bodies duracin and duracoverdin, pigments from the porphyrin group unique to the Duracoidea family. Duracin causes the red color and duracin the green color. These pigments are found nowhere else in nature except in Duracs,” emphasized the spokesperson.
Twenty-three species of birds belonging to the Duracidae family are found only in Africa. They are finicky birds that are sensitive to high iron intake in the diet. In nature, their diet is low in iron, so their organism is built by efficiently using every molecule of this element.
“If we give them iron-rich fruits in their diet, it starts to settle in the tissues and cause what’s called hemochromatosis, which is dangerous for them,” spokeswoman Iveta Kronska said.