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Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are beaming with pride after the birth of a bouncing female Bongo calf named Djembe after a type of African drum.

Djembe was born on September 15 by caesarean section after her mother experienced complications during labour.  Veterinary staff intervened in order to ensure the health and well being of both the calf and mother.

Despite a common problem with caesarean births, being that the mother doesn't recognise its calf as its own,  mother, Nambala tended to her calf shortly after the operation and to the delight keepers the calf was seen happily feeding from mum and developing a strong bond.

"This is a really exciting time for the Zoo with the birth of Djembe who is the first spring baby this year" said Keeper Monique Counihan.

"Djembe is definitely one of the most striking and adorable offspring with a reddish brown coat and distinct white stripes and marking," said Monique.

"Nambala is an experienced mother and is looking after her calf extremely well.  We are all very happy with the progress the calf is making and the way Nambala is recovering from her operation," said Monique.

"This stunning newborn is sure to be a favourite with the visitors to the zoo, especially as she starts to explore her surrounds and become more active and adventurous every day", said Monique.

Djembe is the fourth calf to be born under the Zoo's Bongo breeding program since its inception in 2003. 

Bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus: is an African Antelope that live deep in the lowland forests of Africa.  The Bongo is characterised by its striking reddish-brown coat, white and black markings from tip to tail, the 11 - 12 white stripes along their side and long slightly spiralled horns.  Poaching and illegal trapping for food and skins, combined with habitat destruction, have resulted in the decline of bongo populations.  The Eastern Bongo Subspecies which Taronga Western Plains Zoo holds are considered endangered in the wild.

Djembe is currently on exhibit with her mother Nambala.  The Zoo is open everyday from 9am - 4pm (exit gates close at 5pm).  For more information about the Zoo contact 02 6881 1400 or visit www.taronga.org.au.

For more information contact Media Relations:

Ph: +61 2 6881 1413
Fax: +61 2 6884 1722
Email: wpz@zoo.nsw.gov.au

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