In the Harry Potter series, Dobby was a bit of a Marmite character. On the one hand, the elf was pretty helpful to Harry and co when things got dicey. On the other, he whined a lot and was kinda irritating. But one thing he definitely is is pretty damn ugly.
Enter Chester Zoo’s new baby aardvark. Bit ugly, isn’t it? Looks quite a lot like Dobby, doesn’t it? Well, that’s why conservationists at the zoo have done the inevitable and gone and named the thing after the legendary Potter character.
Conservationists at the zoo spotted the wrinkly creature snuggled up next to its mum – named Oni – after it was born overnight on February 4. Unlike his fictional namesake, Dobby is already living a pretty charmed life. It’s being hand-reared by experts at the zoo, which means getting fed every few hours through the night for five weeks.
The sex hasn’t been identified yet, but is expected to be revealed over the coming weeks. Experts are pretty excited about its birth, as aardvarks are endangered in their native sub-Saharan Africa. Habitat loss and hunting mean the animals aren’t doing too well in their homeland.
There are only 66 aardvarks in zoos in Europe, and 109 in zoos worldwide, so baby Dobby is already pretty important. Dave White, a team manager at the zoo, said he was ‘overjoyed’ to discover Oni’s new offspring. We are too, of course... but if it’s anything like other Dobby, we must say we feel rather sorry for its ’rents.