Tuesday 17 June 2003
New bongo calf at London Zoo
Nibbles, the bongo calf (a large forest dwelling antelope) has become the latest spring addition at London Zoo. The female calf born on May 22 2003, to parents Ali and Nathalie can be seen playing in the enclosure alongside the other bongos.
Standing at approximately two foot tall, and with large ears which she will eventually grow into, Nibbles is a beautiful bright chestnut colour with white vertical striped markings and mane. As a miniature version of her parents, all she need acquire now are her heavy and slightly spiralled horns, which will begin to develop at around six weeks.
Gerald Asher, Head keeper of the hoofed mammals, said, "We are all delighted about Nibbles' arrival, she is the sixth bongo calf we've had here at London
Zoo. Her arrival means that there are now six animals in the family group, contributing to our successful breeding programme to safeguard the continued survival of this striking species."
The bongo, part of the antelope family and the only one in which both the male and female have horns, can be found in low-lying slightly swampy forest within east, central and west Africa, feeding on a diet of leaves and fruit.
Of the various species of antelope found in the African forest, the bongo is the largest. Little is known about their social organisation but they appear to be monogamous, living in small family groups of about three individuals, although up to twenty have been seen together at salt licks.
They are the only forest antelope to form herds.
The bongo is threatened due to habitat destruction and hunting for bushmeat.
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