A female Kirk's dikdik has been born at Beekse Bergen. This antelope native to East and Southwest Africa is the smallest of its kind.
The Kirk's dik-dik lives in the drier regions of East and Southwest Africa. It prefers dry areas with dense undergrowth, where the dik-dik can hide in case of danger.
A calf also hides in the bushes for the first two to three weeks. When startled, they run off in a series of zigzag jumps, emitting a high-pitched sound that sounds like "zik-zik" or "dik-dik". Hence the name of these animals.
Humans are the biggest threat to Kirk's dik-diks. They are hunted for their skin and bones. For example, the skin is used to make suede gloves and jewelry is made from the bones.
For the Kirk's dikdik there is therefore a European management programme. The goal of this program is to ensure healthy populations in animal parks. “Animals in zoos are ambassadors for their congeners in the wild. In this way we can introduce our visitors to fantastic animals and at the same time make them aware of the dangers that threaten them,” says Christian Meurrens, animal caretaker at Beekse Bergen.
These animals live in pairs and always stay together, Meurrens knows. “The couples can conquer an area of up to thirty hectares. They mark the boundaries of their territory by leaving scents on, among other things, twigs and branches of trees and shrubs. They produce this scent from their scent gland located under their eyes.”
Kirk's dikdiks are about 55 to 72 centimeters long, between 3.8 and 7.2 kilograms in weight and 35 to 45 centimeters high. The tail is four to six inches long. The color of its back varies from yellowish gray to reddish brown and its belly from grayish to white. The legs of these animals are ruddy gray in color and he often has a reddish brown head, neck and shoulders.
Due to its special snout, it hardly loses any moisture and therefore never needs to drink. The only moisture these animals ingest for months on end is the dew and moisture from the shoots and leaves of the shrubs and trees and from the fruits and grasses they eat.
Photo Credit: Beekse Bergen/Mariska Vermij - Van Dijk.