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Baby Bongo Born!
Friday, 17 February 2012
Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a Bongo calf, born in the African Plains in January. The female calf, born to parents Kimba and Sam, weighed 20kgs.
This is a particularly significant birth at Dublin Zoo as the young female provides an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Only between 75 and 140 eastern bongos exist in the wild.
It is a natural instinct, in the wild, for newborn bongos to take cover as a way of protecting themselves from predators. So it is unlikely that visitors to Dublin Zoo will have spotted the calf as she spends most her time quietly resting, camouflaged in the bushes.
Young mammals remain close to their mothers in the early weeks and months of their lives. However bongos differ in this way as the mothers leave their young discreetly hidden in undergrowth while they roam and graze, occasionally returning to feed and check on their offspring.
Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns.
Team leader Helen Clarke-Bennett, said, “We are thrilled with the arrival of the bongo calf. There is so few of them left in the wild that successful breeding is essential to the survival of this beautiful species.
“The youngster is fit but still quite shy; she has big ears which look out of proportion on her small body but she will grow into them. She is already showing signs of liking spinach which also a favourite snack of both her mother and grandmother.”
The animal care team has advised visitors to be patient when looking for the young bongo in the African Plains as it is likely she is resting and camouflaged in the bushes.