Tuesday 22 August 2017

Young bongo earning its stripes as latest addition to zoo's herd

The young bongo calf. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography
The young bongo calf. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography

Dean Gray

Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a bongo - one of the rarest antelope species in the world.

As few as 75 eastern bongos exist in the wild in their native Kenya, where they are hunted in remote highlands for their horns and meat.

The calf's gender has yet to be confirmed because newborns are shy and naturally take cover to protect themselves.

But keepers say the youngster is healthy and being nurtured by its mother, Nanyuki.

It brings to five Dublin Zoo's herd of the big-eared antelope, which are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Helen Clarke-Bennet of Dublin Zoo said it was delighted with its second bongo calf in almost two years.

The young bongo calf with its mother in Dublin Zoo yesterday. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography
The young bongo calf with its mother in Dublin Zoo yesterday. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography

"The calf has been well-received by its mother, and grandmother Kimba has also taken a shine to the family's latest addition," said Ms Clarke-Bennet.

"We're pleased to see the new arrival is feeding well and has adapted seamlessly to its new-found surroundings."

The eastern bongo's distinctive large ears help it hear approaching predators in the wild, such as leopards and hyenas.

Those who would like to see the latest addition to the zoo family can do so by visiting the Bongo Habitat in the African Plains.

Just last month the zoo welcomed the birth of a baby oryx.

The scimitar-horned oryx is considered to be extinct in the wild.

Irish Independent

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