Rare Bongo Calf Bolsters Conservation Program at Taronga Zoo
April 16, 2012
Taronga Zoo is celebrating the birth of a rare animal, a female Eastern Bongo calf, on April 2 in the early hours. Keepers watching on closed circuit TV cameras were delighted to witness the perfect maternal instincts that first-time mother Djembe showed in cleaning the newborn. The baby suckled within two hours. She's been named Kiazi, which means sweet potato.
Bongos have a magnificent red-brown hide with white stripes on the shoulders and back that helps to camouflage them in the jungle. Adults can weigh up to 880 pounds (400 kg) and have splendid spiral horns which they lay back along their shoulders by tilting their heads so they can run through their jungle habitat without becoming entangled.
Eastern or Highlands Bongos are listed as Critically Endangered with as few as 75 animals remaining in small groups of 6-12 in their Kenyan upland range. Numbers of the highland Bongo collapsed due to poaching. Sadly there are now more bongos in human care than there are in the wild. Djembe and her calf share the exhibit with Djembe’s mother, Nambala, so for the first time visitors can see three generations of Bongo together.