Monday 20 September 2004
London Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of two new bongo calves (a large forest dwelling antelope)
The calves were born on 12 July (Male) and 29 August (female), and can now be seen frolicking in their enclosure alongside the other bongos. The bongo enclosure is next to the giraffes on the North side of the Zoo.
The eldest male stands at approximately three foot tall, and has huge ears that he will eventually grow into! His younger sister, at nearly three weeks old is under two foot tall and rather nimble in comparison to her sturdy older brother. Both calves are a beautiful bright chestnut colour with white vertical striped markings and mane. All the youngsters need to acquire now are their heavy and slightly spiralled horns. The male's are already sprouting and his younger sister will start growing hers when she is about 6 weeks old.
Bongo calf with family
The arrival of these two new additions means that there are now six animals in the family group again, following the departure of a young female to Chester Zoo last week. We have eight births at London Zoo so far and they mark another vital contribution to ZSL's successful breeding programme to safeguard the continued survival of this striking species.
The bongo, part of the antelope family, 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 and unfortunately face an uncertain future in the wild, due to habitat destruction and hunting for bushmeat.