Baby yaks Tonks and Cedric ‘completely captivate’ visitors at Whipsnade Zoo

Baby yaks Cedric, pictured, and Tonks are the latest arrivals at Whipsnade Zoo (Whipsnade Zoo/PA)
Baby yaks Cedric, pictured, and Tonks are the latest arrivals at Whipsnade Zoo (Whipsnade Zoo/PA)

Two baby yaks named after Harry Potter characters have captivated visitors at a Bedfordshire zoo as they join a herd of “ambassadors” for the vulnerable species.

Tonks, born on September 20, and Cedric, born on October 7, have been pictured jumping and bucking at Whipsnade Zoo on Dunstable Downs.

The pair are named after a tradition set by zookeepers to call the yak family after Harry Potter characters.

Female Tonks was born to first time mum Pandora and dad Draco, while male Cedric was born to his mother Petunia.

Baby yak Tonks with her mother Pandora (Whipsnade Zoo/PA)

The baby yaks, which can weigh around 20kg when they are born, have been described as “friendly” and “loveable”.

Zookeeper George Spooner said: “The two yaks are fast becoming the best of friends – just like we imagine their namesakes would have been had they met at Hogwarts – playing in the long grasses of their paddock as their mothers look on and try to grab some rest.

“Like the book character, Tonks is quite bold and friendly, and we hope she will grow up to be a strong leader in the group, while Cedric is just as loveable and handsome as his namesake – the two-week-old already has our visitors completely captivated.”

Tonks and Cedric have settled into the zoo with other members of the woolly herd named Hermione, Luna and Ginny.

Within 20 minutes of being born, and with some help from their mothers, the baby yaks were on their feet and were later filmed jumping and bucking on Dunstable Downs.

The creatures are said be social animals typically living in herds of 10 to 20.

Baby Cedric was born to mother Petunia who is also named after a Harry Potter character (Whipsnade Zoo/PA)

While they are similar in appearance to cattle, yaks cannot moo but grunt instead and use vocalisations to communicate to each other.

Mr Spooner hopes to raise awareness of wild yaks which were once widespread in South Asia, but have since become extinct in countries such as Bhutan.

“The domestic yak herd at our conservation zoo act as ambassadors for the wild yak, which are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List,” he said.

“Talking to visitors excited about the arrival of Tonks or Cedric provides us with a great opportunity to raise awareness about the plight facing wild yaks in China and India, where numbers are sadly decreasing.”

Visitors can see the yaks roaming the conservation zoo, which Mr Spooner believes is reminiscent of scenes from the Harry Potter films.

He said: “During the winter months when it’s beautifully misty at the conservation zoo our big, hairy, loveable yaks can look a bit like dementors floating along in the distance.

“Dementors are the guards of the prison of Azkaban in the Harry Potter series. Luckily, visitors have nothing to fear from our gentle yaks this Halloween.”