When a Nyala named Xolani went into labor with her first calf, keepers at Auckland Zoo were thrilled with the opportunity to witness the event – Nyala usually give birth overnight, when no one is there to watch.
As the delivery progressed, the calf’s foot and nose became visible. But when lead keeper Tommy checked on Xolani, he noticed that her labor had stopped. The calf remained only partially delivered.
Tommy could see that one of the calf’s front legs appeared to be stuck in the birth canal, preventing its delivery. He quickly assessed the situation and approached Xolani, who allowed Tommy to come close. Xolani remained calm and allowed Tommy to gently pull on the calf’s legs, and the calf was safely delivered within minutes.
The male calf, which has been named Usiku, stood within 30 minutes and just a half-hour later, he was nursing. The calf is already integrated into the zoo’s herd of 11 Nyala, which includes one adult male and five adult females, each of whom has one calf.
Tommy’s quick actions are an example of the outstanding care that keepers provide to animals every day. As Tommy explains, “That’s why we’re here!”
Nyala are a large Antelope species native to the woodlands and grasslands of southern Africa. Males sport spiral horns, which are 24-33 inches long. Females do not have horns. Nyala populations are stable, although poaching and habitat loss may impact the species in the future.
See more photos of the Nyala below.