Antelope

Brody the Baby Bongo, Born at the Houston Zoo

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There's a new baby Bongo at the Houston Zoo in Texas, and his name is Brody. Born on December 6, Brody weighed just over 40 pounds (18.3 kg). He’s a big healthy boy with a good appetite as evidenced by his current weight 5 weeks later - 92+ pounds (42 kg). He can be seen every day (weather permitting) on exhibit with his 3 year old mom Penelope. His favorite spot for resting and naps is in the front right hand corner of the exhibit.

To the casual observer, all bongo calves look alike. But the zoo's keepers found a perfect way to tell them apart – they count the white stripes on their side. Bongo can have 10 to 14 white stripes on each side and each side can present a different configuration. For instance, Penelope has 11 stripes on each side. 

A bongo is a type of antelope native to the lowlands and mountain forests of Kenya and western Africa and are among the largest of the African forest antelope. In the wild, bongos are shy and elusive but very social. In fact, they are the only forest antelope to form herds.

The Western or lowland bongo is classified as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the IUCN. The Eastern or mountain bongo is classified as endangered. 

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo


Eastern Bongo Baby Adds to Critically Endangered Species

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There's a new Eastern bongo baby at Zoo Atlanta! First-time mother Matilda delivered this newest ambassador for the critically endangered species on December 2. The calf is the first for Matilda and the Father, Tambo. Both parents are 3 years old.

“Naturally, we’re delighted about any birth here at the Zoo, but Matilda’s calf also illustrates the role zoos can play in wildlife conservation,” said Raymond King, President and CEO. “This is a species on the brink of extinction. Sharing the hope and joy of a new baby helps us educate our guests about these majestic animals and the need to preserve them in the wild.”

Known for their deep reddish coats and magnificent curved horns, bongos are the largest of the African antelope species. Largely due to their elusive nature, the animals were the subjects of legends and superstitions prior to their relatively recent discovery by western science in the 20th century.

Believed to number fewer than 500 in the wild in their native Kenya, eastern bongos face extinction as a result of habitat destruction, poaching and hunting for the bushmeat trade. Matilda and Tambo were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population within North American Zoos and has reintroduced captive-born bongos to eastern Africa.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Atlanta

 

Special Delivery: Sitatunga Baby at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

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When a baby sitatunga was born the morning of November 10, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo keepers kept a watchful eye on the tiny new calf and his mother, Shiloh. Hoofstock usually stand and nurse within a few hours of birth, but this calf wasn’t able to stay on his feet. “He was too weak to stand, and since he couldn’t stand, he was unable to nurse,” says African Journey Manager Amber Eagleson.

By that afternoon, keepers decided to bottle-feed the calf to help him gain strength. “We bottle-fed him every four hours,” Eagleson says. “At first, he would only take a small amount because he was so weak, but by Friday afternoon he was steadily drinking from the bottle.” 

Shiloh did her part by waiting patiently when her calf was moved to a separate stall at feeding time. When keepers returned the calf to her, she groomed him vigorously to remove all traces of human scent. By Monday, keepers saw the calf nursing for the first time.

“We’re still giving him a bottle and weigh him once a day,” Eagleson says. The calf weighed only 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg)  at birth - significantly less than the other sitatunga calves born at the zoo, but he’s catching up. “If his weight increases over the next week, we’ll drop the bottle feedings and let mom take over completely,” Eagleson says.  She adds that keepers hope to name the baby in the next few weeks.

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has had great success breeding these unique marsh-dwelling antelope. Five calves have been born there since 2006.

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Photo Credits: Fort Wayne Zoo


Busch Gardens Baby Boom!

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Busch Gardens’ newest addition, a female Cape Buffalo, was born to mother Semara on Sept. 21. Cape Buffalos are extremely social; members of the same group will stay in direct contact with each other and will often sleep with their heads resting on one another. At the time of his birth, the calf weighed approximately 45 lbs. The playful and explorative youngster now weights 75 lbs. Once full grown, Cape Buffalos can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.

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Two days earlier, the park’s Sable Antelope herd welcomed the third new baby of the month, a female who took her first steps within a few minutes of birth. Though Sable Antelopes are shaky at first, newborns can run fast enough to keep up with the herd within 3-5 days.


Photo and video credits: Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens’ guests can view all of the new babies from Rhino Rally, the Skyride or Serengeti Express train ride. For an even closer look, the Serengeti Safari offers guests and open-bed truck tour of the 65-acre Serengeti Plain, with opportunities to get up-close to antelope and rhinos and hand-feed giraffes.


Fall Arrival: One Tawny Waterbuck Baby

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Keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in England were delighted with a new arrival to their herd this month – a baby waterbuck!

The Defassa waterbuck is a large, robust antelope with a long-haired, often shaggy brown/grey coat. Despite its name the Waterbuck is not really aquatic but often takes refuge from predators in water and swamps. Waterbuck give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of 9 months. The calves may be born at any time of year, but calving peaks occur in the summer. 

Head Hoofstock Keeper Bob Savill said, "It’s a credit to captive breeding programs like ours when herds can be introduced to protected areas – It proves how important these births are for the continuation of this species and others."

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Photo Credit: Dave Rolfe


Houston Zoo Welcomes Greater Kudu Baby

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This big eared baby kudu was born on Agust 31 in The African Forest at the Houston Zoo. She weighed approximately 15.9 kilos ( 35 pounds) at birth. Her keepers say, "She is bright eyed and quite curious - she's always looking around."

Gestation for Greater kudu is about 9 mo. Her mother, Clementine, has proven to be very good with her baby. "The birth was easy. It started in the afternoon and was all of two hours. And the baby nursed right away," the keeper continued. "The calf is doing well and being slowly introduced to the rest of her herd - dad Alfonzo and female Charlotte and her offspring Apollo".

She has yet to be named. The kudu share the habitat with a trio of Southern White rhinos in The African Forest. The newest member of the kudu family will be out in the exhibit after introductions to the rhinos occur.

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

You can view a full photo album on the Houston Zoo's website.

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Those Big Brown Eyes! Baby Eland Antelope Born at Busch Gardens

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The newest addition to Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plains was born on August 22: a female eland calf. Weighing in at 50 pounds, this girl will not stay little for long.  Eland are the largest of the antelope species, with adult females weighing around 1,000 lbs.

Even with their bulky stature, eland antelope have a great adaptation: they can jump 8-10 feet straight up in the air from a standing position. Both males and females characteristically have thick, spiral horns, which can reach lengths of 3-4 feet. But to protect the mother, the calf doesn’t have horns at birth; her full set will grow in after about two years. She is now happily nursing and growing.

The Serengeti Plain’s eland herd now numbers 11 antelope, with this calf being the second to be born this season. The other female calf, which was born just over a month ago on July 17, is already twice her size.

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Photo Credit: Busch Gardens


Arabian Oryx Brought Back from the Brink!

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One of Marwell Wildlife’s most majestic animals, the Arabian Oryx, has been ‘brought back from the brink of extinction’ thanks to the work of dedicated conservationists. Successful captive breeding programs and re-introduction efforts mean the species has finally qualified for a move from the Endangered category to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Marwell Wildlife, based in Hampshire, is home to the only breeding group of Arabian Oryx in the UK. Just last month, the park celebrated the birth of a female Arabian Oryx called Akilah.

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Photo credits: Marwell Wildlife

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Watch As Queens Zoo's Pronghorn Fawns Zip Around

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher

The Queens Zoo saw the arrival of four Pronghorn Antelope fawns. The fawns were born to two different mothers one week apart, and include one set of female twins and a second male-female set, bringing the Zoo’s Pronghorn herd up to a total of eight.

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Each fawn has a coat of soft brown fur and enormous dark-brown eyes. Already they can be seen prancing around their exhibits on their signature long legs, which give the species its incredible speed. Pronghorn are one of the world’s fastest land animals, second only to the cheetah. They also rank highly for endurance, second to Arctic caribou for the longest-distance migration in the Western Hemisphere.

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Two of the fawns can be seen on the Farm, where visitors can watch zookeepers bottle-feed them a nutrient-rich formula several times a day, as you see in this video.

The two younger fawns remain in the Plains habitat which they share with a herd of bison just as they would in the wild. Those babies spend much of their time running through the large, open space. 

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Baby Bongo Born at Franklin Park Zoo

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A bongo calf, the offspring of Annakiya, age 7, and Junior, age 5, was born on exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA, on June 15, before the Zoo opened to the public. The gender has not yet been determined. Mom Annakiya was also born at the Zoo and the calf can be seen on exhibit with her.

“The baby has been observed nursing and is moving around, which are very positive signs. As with all new births, we will closely monitor the mother and baby,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO, adding, “This is not only an exciting birth for the zoo, but it is also a significant one. This calf will join the rest of our animals in delighting visitors and highlighting the importance of protecting natural habitats around the world.”

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 Photo Credit: Photo 1 Sarah Woodruff, Photo 2-4 Christina Demetrio

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