Native to Africa, aardvarks are nocturnal mammals that frankly, few people in the world have seen. And for those who have, it is almost impossible not to stop and take a look as one passes. Recently, a woman in Namibia, Africa spotted a baby aardvark wandering around a nearby pipeline. When she noticed sores on the baby animal’s feet, she put two and two together and realized this little one had likely hurt herself trying to follow her mother across the pipeline. The woman also figured the animal had been lost for a while since she was clearly dehydrated and weak. First, she tried to locate the mother with little success. Determined not to simply leave the helpless creature in the lurch, she contacted the local veterinarian Erika de Jager.
Since she was already caring for one aardvark named ET, Erika de Jager quickly agreed to home the baby animal. The woman dropped her off right away and Erika was happy as can be, quickly naming the aardvark Gertie, after the little girl in ET (we’re detecting a theme here).
According to Erika, Gertie appears to be around four to six weeks old. She’s likely traumatized from being separated from her mother but seems to be adjusting pretty well to her new home.
Knowing that this aardvark needed help fast if she was going to survive, Erika searched high and low for a baby bottle Gertie would accept, a process that took three days, according to an interview with Telegraph.
Since aardvarks are nocturnal, Gertie mostly sleeps during the day, and then Erika takes her out for a walk whenever she wakes up. Erika’s dog seems to have taken well to Gertie too!
Normally, we would advocate for Erika to release Gertie back into the wild. However, considering this baby aardvark is only a few weeks old and lost her mother, plus the fact that Erika is a knowledgeable veterinarian who already has an aardvark she takes care of, we think Gertie may have found her perfect match! We’re so glad these two found each other and we hope that this sweet girl grows up to be just as happy and healthy as she would have been in the wild. Good luck, Gertie!
All image source: Zuri Orphanage