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Baby Vicuña Born at Belfast Zoo

Georgie, the Belfast Zoo's new baby vicu
(1) Belfast Zoo is celebrating the first birth of 2012, with the arrival of Georgie, the vicu (Image credit: Belfast Zoo)

Say hello to Georgie, the vicuña, the first animal born at the Belfast Zoo this year.

Vicuñas are the smallest member of the camel family and originate from the mountainous regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru.

Vicuñas were once hunted to the brink of extinction, for their wool and meat. But national parks and trade restrictions put in place in the 1960s helped populations of the animal recover.

Zoos have also played a hand in re-establishing the species through breeding programs. It was through such a program that Georgie came along on Feb. 6. [See the whole vicuña family .]

"The vicuña family live right at the top of the Belfast Zoo site and visitors can now visit Georgie and her parents, Douglas and Colonia, in their hilltop enclosure," said zoo manager Mark Challis. "Their Cave Hill home is perfect, as vicuña are specially adapted to live in rocky and mountainous terrains."

Live Science Staff
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