Dublin Zoo celebrates birth of endangered baby bongo

Just 140 Eastern bongos left in the wild due to hunting and uncontrolled timber felling

 

Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of an eastern bongo calf from one of the world’s most endangered species.

The calf, weighing in at 20kgs, was born to first time mother Nanyuki and father Hodari at the zoo.

He or she does not yet have a name because it has not been established whether the calf is male or female.

The new arrival brings the bongo herd to four and is a particularly significant birth for the team at Dublin Zoo and the international breeding programme. The species remains critically endangered with possibly less than 100 eastern bongos thought to remain in the wild in a remote area of Kenya.

The eastern bongo population has been decimated by humans hunting for meat and horns combined with habitat loss caused by agriculture and uncontrolled timber felling.

The bongos, which are part of the antelope family, are distinguished by their deep chestnut coat with white stripes.

Team leader at Dublin Zoo Helen Clarke-Bennett said they were delighted “to report that we have a fine, healthy bongo calf who is feeding well and has already been introduced to its father”.

“We don’t know the gender of the calf as yet but first-time mum Nanyuki is proving an excellent mother. She became pregnant on her first mating with Hodari and it’s great to see such a successful outcome.”

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.

For those who want to know more about the animals and the team at Dublin Zoo team, the show The Zoo returns for a new series at 7pm on Thursday, April 9th on RTÉ One.