The Zoo’s male eastern bongo fathered a calf, the first of his offspring since he arrived at the Virginia Zoo last year. The female baby, named Eva, was born the morning of September 23.
The Zoo also is proud to announce the hatching of two eastern box turtles on September 24.
“Armadillo mothers are highly nervous and sensitive, and breeding pups that survive past the fourth week is quite rare,” noted Bockheim, “So we are very pleased that the babies born at the Virginia Zoo are doing so well.” Named Beauregard and Ed by their keepers, the pups have grown quickly and will be mature at 9 months old.
Six-banded armadillos are native to South America, and the Virginia Zoo is one of only a few Zoos in the country that have six-banded armadillos. This addition to the United States’ captive population will give even more Zoo visitors the opportunity to see these unique creatures and appreciate the amazing diversity of the world’s many animals and their habitats.
Bouncing Baby Bongo Girl!
Thunder is a proud papa. The Zoo’s male eastern bongo fathered a calf, the first of his offspring since he arrived at the Virginia Zoo last year. The female baby, named Eva, was born the morning of September 23. Her mother is Esi. Eastern bongos are native to Africa. The beautiful antelope, which feature large ears, a bright chestnut coat with vivid white stripes and spiraled horns, are highly endangered in the wild. Although bongos have a reclusive nature, the Virginia’s Zoo bongos are very calm and friendly. The Zoo’s herd includes two additional adult females and is part of the Zoo’s participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP).
A program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the SSP program manages the breeding of species in accredited Zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and self-sustaining population that is genetically diverse and demographically stable.
The Virginia Zoo has successfully raised four previous bongo calves, and in 2004, 18 captive bred bongos, including a male born at the Virginia Zoo, were flown to African as part of the Bongo Repatriation to Mount Kenya Project. Bongos are nearly extinct in Africa’s Mount Kenya, due to hunting, poaching and habitat destruction. Eleven baby bongo have since been born to that herd and are living safely in the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. In May, the project welcomed the second generation of bongos born to the repatriated American bongos.
hope that in three to five generations, the bongos will be accustomed
to the wild and ready to be set free outside the preserve,” explains
Little Turtle; Big Deal!
A baby bog turtle hatched at the Virginia Zoo in an off-exhibit holding area on September 26. The tiny baby is a big deal, because bog turtles are listed as an endangered species in Virginia and federally listed as threatened throughout the country. Collection for pet trade has contributed to this problem, but habitat loss is the bigger issue, including wetland drainage. The little guy (or girl) doesn’t have a name, but it is an important link in preserving this species.
“The Virginia Zoo is proud to be part of these important efforts to breed, conserve and protect our fragile ecosystem and animal populations,” notes Bockheim. “We will use these births and all of our animals on exhibit to teach visitors to further appreciate the value of the world we live in.”