Virginia Zoo Keepers are delighted to share news of the birth of a baby Bongo. The male calf was born to mom, Betty, on March 23 and weighed-in at 50 pounds. This is the sixth offspring for Betty and the second for father, Bob.
The calf joins a herd that consists of his parents, two other adult females and Joy, the female calf who was born on December 25, 2017.
The Virginia Zoo invited the public to help select a name for the calf, and the winning name was recently announced---Baxter. Baxter and mom, Betty, can now be seen with the rest of their herd on exhibit in the Okavango Delta section of the Zoo.
The Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is herbivorous and mostly nocturnal. They are a large-bodied, relatively short-legged antelope species with long spiraling horns that make one complete twist from base to tip. They have a rich chestnut coat that is striped with thin white vertical lines along the sides. The face and legs have patches of black and white, with white chevrons on the breast and below the eyes.
In general, the species inhabits lowland forests of Africa. The subspecies in Kenya lives in montane forests at (6,560-9,840 feet) altitude.
Herds are comprised of females and calves, while males are typically more solitary. Females give birth to one calf per year and the gestation period is nine months. Weaning of the calf occurs at about six months.
The Bongo is currently classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN. In the last few decades, a rapid decline in numbers has occurred due to poaching and human pressure on their habitat.