The Dublin Zoo in Ireland is celebrating the birth of an Eastern Bongo calf, a female born last month to parents Kimba and Sam. She weighed in at a healthy 44 pounds (20kgs). And it looks like half of that was all in her ears!
This is a particularly significant birth for Dublin Zoo as this baby is an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Only between 75 and 140 eastern bongos exist in the wild.
Team leader Helen Clarke-Bennett, said, “We are thrilled with the arrival of the bongo calf. There is so few of them left in the wild that successful breeding is essential to the survival of this beautiful species."
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Helen continued: “The youngster is fit but still quite shy; she has big ears which look out of proportion on her small body but she will grow into them. She is already showing signs of liking spinach which also a favourite snack of both her mother and grandmother.”
It is a natural instinct, in the wild, for newborn bongos to take cover as a way of protecting themselves from predators. So it is unlikely that visitors to Dublin Zoo will have spotted the calf as she spends most her time quietly resting, camouflaged in the bushes. Young mammals remain close to their mothers in the early months of their lives. However bongos differ as the mothers leave their young discreetly hidden in undergrowth while they roam and graze, occasionally returning to feed and check on their offspring.
Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns.