Meet the Honolulu Zoo’s adorable new residents: a family of fennec foxes!

The Honolulu Zoo welcomed Moana (left) and Aukai (right), a breeding pair of fennec foxes.
The Honolulu Zoo welcomed Moana (left) and Aukai (right), a breeding pair of fennec foxes.(City and County of Honolulu)
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 11:41 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Meet the Honolulu Zoo’s newest residents: Adorable fennec foxes named Moana, Aukai and Vaitea!

Zoo officials said Moana, the female fennec fox, and Aukai, the male, arrived from Oklahoma on April 22 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

Moana and Aukai were among more than 300 animals confiscated from a farm after they were found malnourished, neglected and abused. They were then taken to the Wild Care Foundation for recovery and rehabilitation.

Upon arrival on Oahu, Moana and Aukai were required to remain in quarantine for 120 days — during which time Moana gave birth to a male kit named Vaitea.

Visitors to the zoo can meet Moana and Aukai at the African savanna, but they’ll have to wait a little longer to see Vaitea, who remains at the hospital until he’s about 6 months.

Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos said the zoo recently lost its last fennec fox, Puka, in June at the age of 12.

“Our staff have embraced the pair of foxes to give them the best possible home, and are working closely with the parents and hand rearing the kit to provide support and ensure their health and welfare,” Santos said, in a statement.

Fennec foxes — the smallest of the fox species, usually weighing between 2 to 3 pounds — are native to North Africa and Arabia but are not endangered.

They are described as nocturnal animals and having unusually large ears — which can grow between 4 to 6 inches — to dissipate heat, listen for underground prey and help them hunt at night.

They have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years under human care.