Bongo success at London Zoo
Thursday 14 June 2001
Photo Opportunity... Photo Opportunity...
Date: 15 June 2001
Venue: London Zoo (East Service Gate)
Contact: Debbie Curtis 020 7449 6363 or Joe Laing 020 7449 6236
Don’t miss the chance to come and see the stunning baby bongo born at London Zoo. Very little is known about this beautiful species. Despite being the largest antelope in the forests of Africa, their secretive nature, coupled with their endangered status, means they are rarely seen in the wild.
New-born baby, Noodles, is just over three weeks old and will be welcome company to Nurisha who was born last year, Nadia, born the year before, her father, Ali and her mother, Natalie. Noodles weighs 35kg and prompted by her mother, was standing within minutes of birth.
Head Keeper Gerald Asher comments "With the bongo endangered in the wild, it's a real achievement to have bred two calves in successive years."
With impressive spiralled horns, a bright chestnut coat and a long tufted tail, bongo are found in herds in the equatorial forests of Africa. They move stealthily through the forest laying their long horns on their backs to prevent getting tangled in the foliage.
The adults browse on leaves, flowers, shoots and roots and are also reported to eat charred wood from lightening strikes, most likely to obtain minerals and salt. Noodles, however, will feed from her mother for the next 6-8 months before progressing to an adult diet.
Sadly, the destruction of their habitat and the bushmeat trade has lead to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) listing the species as endangered. London Zoo’s bongo are part of the European co-operative breeding programme (EEP), so keepers are thrilled with this latest addition.
For further information, please contact Debbie Curtis or Joe Laing in the Zoological Society of London Public Relations Office on the telephone numbers detailed above.
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