An endangered Slender-horned Gazelle with improbably long ears and big dark eyes will greet visitors at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo beginning August 1 in the African Savanna.
Born in late June, the female calf has been off exhibit for about four weeks to give her time to bond with her mother, Francis. The calf is the first offspring at the Zoo for Francis, who came to Cleveland in 2009 from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and for her father, Ziggy, who came to the Zoo in 2010 from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. The calf brings the number of Slender-horned Gazelles at the Zoo up to five. The other members of the herd are adult females Bullet and Ella.
Standing about 30 inches tall and weighing about 60 pounds, these graceful Gazelles have large ears, which serve as a cooling mechanism in the scorching desert heat, and slightly oversized hooves for walking in sand. Both males and females have horns.
Slender-horned Gazelles were once one of the most common Gazelles in the Sahara Desert. While they still have a wide range, including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia, their populations are small and fragmented. They are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Slender-horned Gazelles.
Photo credits: Joe Yachanin