Florida Zoo Celebrates Birth of Two Calves of an Endangered Antelope Species

While the numbers of critically endangered eastern Bongo species of antelope are dwindling, the birth of two Bongo calves at a Florida Zoo has brought cheer to conservationists. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is happy to announce the arrival of two new members of the species.

According to the zoo officials, one of the calves was born on December 17, while the other was born on January 8. The calves are the first offspring of mothers Sienna and Shimba, and the father Mickey. They are eastern bongos – which are thought to be fewer than 150 in number in the wild. The biggest threats to them are hunting and the destruction of habitat.

Florida Zoo Celebrated Birth of Two Calves of Endangered Antelope Species

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida is celebrating the birth of two Bongo calves | Image: Kori Odum

Mickey was transferred to Jacksonville Zoo in October 2019 from the Cape May Country Zoo, under the breeding program. The mothers of these calves were also born at the zoo, in 2018. Sienna delivered a calf weighing 42 pounds in December, while the other followed the next month, weighing 38 pounds.

Our animal care team is very excited with how well the first-time mothers are doing. This is great news for our herd and we look forward to more offspring in the future to enhance conservation efforts for this species.

Assistant Curator of Mammals Corey Neatrour said in a statement.

Bongos are the largest African forest antelope and are famous for their captivating appearance. They are known to inhabit throughout central and west Kenya, however eastern bongo are only found in a small mountainous region in central Kenya. Both males and females of the species have thick, slightly-spiraled horns. They have a bright chestnut coat with 12 to 14 vertical white stripes between the base of the neck and the rump.

The young ones are yet to be named through an online auction at the zoo’s annual Toast to Conservation, which is to take place virtually on Friday. Hopefully, the endangered species will further be preserved from human-induced threats.

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