On Saturday, Prague Zoo ceremonially presented its new resident capybaras to visitors. The extremely popular South American rodents have returned to the Prague Zoo after ten years, and inhabit the same enclosure as the anthills. The pair of animals were welcomed by the band Sto Zvirat, actress Bára Štěpánová and illustrator Štěpán Mareš, who designed a collection of capybara t-shirts that went on sale at the same time.
Members of the public are now able to suggest names for the Prague capybaras on the social media of the Blesk.cz portal. The breeders will choose five names from among the proposals, with the overall winner to be decided by a subsequent poll.
“Capybaras are extremely popular on social media,” said Markéta Hoidekrová, Prague Zoo’s deputy director for public relations. “Videos showing them in a variety of mundane and out-of-the-ordinary, often comical situations flooded Instagram and TikTok, and the public kept asking about them. We have therefore decided to comply with this unprecedented demand and to return to breeding them.”
Her words were confirmed at Saturday’s event, which was attended by hundreds of people. Members of the Sto Zvířat group, singer Jana Jelínková and trumpeter Míra Barabáš, took on the role of capybara patrons and brought them a gift in the form of a bouquet of carrots.
“I’m also kind of a capyBára, so I like these animals very much,” said actress Bára Štěpánová, who arrived with the band. “We are happy that we can be here at the resumption of their breeding and we keep our fingers crossed for our fantastic Prague Zoo that we will meet here again soon for the christening of the little capybaras.”
The Zoo’s mammal curator Pavel Brandl added hope to the sighting of the cubs: “The breeding pair is young. It consists of a two-and-a-half-year-old male from Germany and a roughly one-year-old female from Denmark.” He also spoke to the audience about the interesting features and zoological classification of capybara:
“Capybara means ‘grass-eater’ in Indian languages, their Latin name can be translated as ‘water pig’, but the truth is that it is the world’s largest rodent and is most closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas.”
The illustrator Štěpán Mareš is the designer of a new capybara t-shirt collection. “For 30 years I drew politicians in Zelený Raoul, now I draw animals. A certain similarity could be found there, but it’s much more pleasant here in the zoo,” he told the audience.
A T-shirt with the words “Popular Capybaras Sweep Expensive Bars” went on sale, and within minutes, capybaras also entered the enclosure. The animals were not shy, and paraded in front of dozens of lenses and mobile phones.