Dobby is one of just 109 aardvarks currently living in a zoo.
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The first aardvark to ever be born at Chester Zoo, nicknamed Dobby, snuggles up with new mum Oni
Credit: Courtesy of Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo's newest addition, an adorable aardvark, was named after a beloved "Harry Potter" character who's known for being just as cute — Dobby the elf.

"As soon as we spotted the new baby next to mum we noticed its uncanny resemblance to the Harry Potter character, Dobby, and so that's the calf's nickname for the time being," Dave White, a team manager at the Chester zoo, said in a statement. "We won't though know for certain whether it's male or female for several more weeks until the calf is a little older."

The weirdly adorable newborn was born to parents Oni, an eight-year-old mom, and Koos a six-year-old dad on Jan. 4. Aardvarks aren't known for their gentle parenting. "Aardvark parents are notorious for being a little clumsy around their newborns," according to the zoo.

To help Dobby, zookeepers have established a hand-rearing, or newborn nurturing schedule. Staff are working around the clock to feed the baby every few hours, including throughout the night. Aardvarks are nocturnal species, when Dobby's parents are out exploring and feeding during the night, zookeepers put the newborn in an incubator. This process will continue for about five weeks.

The first aardvark to ever be born at Chester Zoo, nicknamed Dobby, snuggles up with new mum Oni
During the daytime, the calf and mom are reunited to snuggle in their burrow.
| Credit: Courtesy of Chester Zoo

There are only 109 aardvarks in zoos around the world, 66 of which are in Europe. The animal is typically found in sub-Saharan Africa and is facing danger due to habitat loss. While the aardvark is not endangered, it is a secretive creature that scientists don't know much about.

Tickets to visit Dobby and other animals at the Chester Zoo must be purchased ahead of time. Adult tickets are £25.45, and children are £19.09. Children under 2 are free, and anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.