Cute alert! Tiny baby antelope being hand-reared at Chester Zoo

Cute alert! Tiny baby antelope being hand-reared at Chester Zoo

She might be only eight inches tall and weigh the same as a bag of sugar, but Chester Zoo's baby antelope is making a big impression.

Aluna, the tiny Kirk's dik-dik antelope, is being bottle-fed milk five times a day by the zoo's dedicated curator of mammals after she failed to bond with her mother. She will be given a helping hand until she is old enough to tuck into a diet of buds, shoots and fruit on her own.

Tim Rowlands is currently playing 'parent' to the zoo's adorable new addition. He said: "Our little one is growing stronger and stronger by the day and, all being well, it shouldn't be too long until she'll be able to really hold her own.

"For the time being, though, her feed times are staggered through the day and she has her first bottle in my living room at home at around 7am. I then pop her into the car and bring her to work where she has another three feeds in my office. Finally, her last one is at 10pm back at my house.

"She's already pretty quick on her feet and gives us quite the run around in the office. That's why we've called here Aluna which means 'come here' in Swahili. It's rather apt!"

Cute alert! Tiny baby antelope being hand-reared at Chester Zoo

Native to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia, the dik-dik gets its name from the noise it makes when running for cover.

They can live for up to 10 years and reach a maximum size of just 40cm tall, making it one of the smallest antelope species in the world.

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Tuesday that Chester Zoo has been named the top large visitor attraction outside of London for the second year running.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions' (ALVA) list showed the zoo welcomed over 1.4m visitors in 2012.

The annual ALVA list put the zoo as the 15th most visited attraction in the UK, behind a number of London attractions (British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery came 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively) as well as the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh (9th).

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Cute alert! Tiny baby antelope being hand-reared at Chester Zoo

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