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December 2019

Nyala Mom and Dad Welcome Second Calf This Year!


One of the most beautiful antelopes in the world has been born at Newquay Zoo. The Nyala (pronounced ‘inYhala’), a female, has big ears, dark eyes and endearingly long, wobbly legs. This is the second calf of the year for Mum Ayra and Dad, Arnold. Curator of animals John Meek said: “Ayra is a very experienced mum - this is calf number five all told. The little one is doing extremely well and seems to be very confident, even when she joined the rest of the herd. This is another great breeding success for this stunning species.”




Found across southern Africa, male and female Nyala look incredibly different. Males have striking spiral horns, a slate grey to dark brown coat and faint white stripes. Females are an attractive bright chestnut with bold white stripes across their back.

Nyala are classified as recorded on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The main threats to this species are poaching and habitat loss as human settlements encroach into their territory. The males, with their elegant spiral horns, are prized as game animals.

You can spot the Cornish zoo’s small family of Nyala over in the African Savannah.

Meet Olaf, the IVF Toad

Olaf side

You aren’t going to see this guy on the big screen any time soon, but he and others just like him may end up in their native habitat very soon. This tiny toad is the world’s first Puerto Rican crested toad hatched from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing frozen semen collected from the wild.

Olaf front view

The Fort Worth Zoo and its partners from Mississippi State University came together at the Fort Worth Zoo this summer to continue their efforts with assisted reproduction technology (ART) for critically endangered amphibians. For the first time ever, they were able to successfully conduct IVF using the eggs from two Zoo females and frozen semen from six wild males. To celebrate this conservation success, the first egg to be fertilized and hatched has been named Olaf! (Yep, just like that Olaf.)

This is a significant advancement for the critically endangered species as it will allow zoos, researchers and other conservationists to expand their population genetics used to increase the overall population while keeping the toads in their wild, natural habitat. These ART efforts will help maintain a genetically diverse, self-sustaining population of toads in the managed population without removing animals from the wild!

Since 2006, Zoo staff has coordinated and managed a Puerto Rican Crested Toad conservation program, under the direction of Fort Worth Zoo Curator of Ectotherms Diane Barber. Through this cooperative program, thousands of Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles are released into the wild each year. As the longest continuous reintroduction program for any amphibian species, the Puerto Rican crested toad project has released over 510,000 tadpoles at six reintroduction sites since 1992 – the Fort Worth Zoo alone has released 70,988 of those tadpoles.