HONOLULU — A trio of fennec foxes is now part of the Honolulu Zoo. 

What You Need To Know

  • Three new foxes join the Honolulu Zoo: Aukai, Moana and Vaitea

  • Aukai and Moana are a breeding pair and were rescued from a farm where they were found malnourished 

  • Moana gave birth to Vaitea, a baby boy fox, on June 12

  • Aukai and Moana are on display at the African savanna exhibit, and Vaitea will join them when he is about 6 months old 

On April 22, the zoo was given a male fennec fox, named Aukai, and a female fennec fox, named Moana, who will breed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

Aukai means sailor in Hawaiian and Moana means ocean in Hawaiian.  

The foxes were quarantined for 120 days, and surprise, Moana gave birth to a baby boy fox on June 12. The newest addition to the fox family was named Vaitea.

Vaitea means waterfall in Tahitian. 

For his safety, Vaitea is being hand-reared at a veterinary hospital until he is about 6 months old. Then he will be reunited with his parents at the Honolulu Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. 

“We are glad to welcome a new family of fennec foxes to our zoo after having lost one of our most popular residents, Puka, our last fennec fox in June at the age of 12,” Linda Santos, the Honolulu Zoo director, said in a news release. 

Moana and Aukai were saved in a large rescue mission after 300 fennec foxes were found on a farm malnourished, neglected and abused. 

After being rescued, the foxes were taken to the Wildcare Foundation in Oklahoma for recovery and rehabilitation.  

Fennec foxes are native to the deserts of North Africa and Arabia. The fennec fox is the smallest fox, with kits weighing just 40 grams at birth. Fennec foxes are known for their large ears, which can grow to around 6 inches. Their enormous ears help them stay cool in the scorching heat, while their cream-colored coats help them camouflage with the sandy desert.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke covers the Hawaiian Islands for Spectrum News Hawaii.