A Chinese pangolin born at Prague Zoo, the second in less than two years, is defying the odds and doing well, officials at the park in the Czech Republic said.

The female of the critically endangered mammal was born on July 1, the second Chinese pangolin born in captivity in Europe following her sister, Cone, in February last year.

The baby Chinese pangolin weighed just 4.97oz (141g) at birth but could reach up to 15lb (6.8kg) as an adult (Petr David Josek/AP)

She weighed just 4.97oz (141g) but is putting on about 0.3oz (10g) a day and could reach 8.8oz (250g) this week, the zoo said. Adults can reach up to 15lb (6.8kg).

In 2022, when the park received Guo Bao, a male, and Run Hou Tang, a female, from Taipei Zoo, the leading breeder of the mammals, the major goal was just to keep them alive and in good health, Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said on Wednesday.

“We certainly hoped that we’ll have a baby born one day in the future but absolutely nobody expected that we’ll have two in a year-and-a-half,” he said.

Pangolins are difficult to breed in captivity because they require a special diet and need a particular humidity and temperature in their enclosure (Petr David Josek/AP)

The Chinese pangolin is native to southern China and Southeast Asia. It is one of the four pangolin species in Asia, with the others found in Africa. They are hunted heavily for their scales and meat.

Pangolins are difficult to breed in captivity because they require a special diet that includes drone larvae and need a particular humidity and temperature in their enclosure.

Prague became only the second European zoo to keep the species.

A keeper at Prague Zoo takes the newborn baby Chinese pangolin to be weighed (Petr David Josek/AP)

The pangolins arrived after Prague decided to revoke a sister-city agreement with Beijing and signed a similar deal in 2020 with the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

The deal caused tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The agreement included co-operation between the Taipei and Prague Zoos.