The Lesser Kudu herd at Zoo Basel welcomed a new calf. The young male was born October 29 to mom, Cony.
Keepers report that the little Kudu, named Namib, was standing within an hour of birth. Mom and calf have been bonding in the safety and warmth of their barn. Mom’s wild instinct is to keep her calf hidden from danger in a sheltered place, and the zoo’s barn allows her to act on these inclinations. After a few days, when the young calf is strong enough, mom will lead him to join the rest of the herd.
The Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) is a species of African spiral-horned antelope. Male Lesser Kudu horns can grow to be 72 cm, with 2 ½ twists. In the wild, they live in dry, densely thicketed scrub and woodlands of northern east Africa. Interestingly, they rarely drink water, apparently getting enough liquid from the plants that they eat.
The Lesser Kudu is native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, but it is extinct in Djibouti. The total population has been estimated to be nearly 118,000, with a decreasing trend. One-third of the population survives in protected areas. The species is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by IUCN.
In Europe around 80 Lesser Kudus live in only 14 zoos. In the Basel Zoo, there are currently six individuals: one adult male, four females, and the new male calf.