Rare Bongo calf born at Dubbo Zoo

Rare Bongo calf born at Dubbo Zoo

Posted on 25th September 2018 by Media Relations

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed a rare Eastern Bongo calf born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 5 September 2018.

Zoo keepers had been monitoring expectant mother Djembe closely as she approached her due date, coming in to work early each morning to check on her. Keeper Carolene Magner was thrilled to discover the healthy calf by Djembe’s side in the Zoo’s heated calving stable.

“This is the fifth calf for mum Djembe, who was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and was sired by Kulungu. This birth is extremely important for this species as estimates are there are less than 100 Eastern Bongo remaining in the wild,” said Keeper Carolene Magner.

“Djembe and the calf are currently on the Bongo exhibit with another female, Maisha. Father Kulungu will re-join the herd in the coming months, once the calf is older and stronger,” said Carolene.

The Eastern Bongo subspecies is critically endangered and under threat in the wild from hunting and illegal trapping for food and skins as well as habitat loss. It is only found in rain forests with dense undergrowth across tropical Africa.

Keepers have named the new addition Kamau (pronounced Kah-mah-oo) meaning ‘quiet warrior’ in Kenya, but are yet to determine if the calf is male or female as it is difficult to get close enough to confirm its sex.      

“Kamau is very strong and curious about its environment,” said Carolene. “Whilst Kamau is still finding its steady, long legs it does already have bursts of energy and will sometime go for a little run in the exhibit.”

“Djembe is an extremely attentive and experienced mother. She is quite protective which is instinctive maternal behaviour. We are very happy with how both mum and calf are doing.”

The Eastern Bongo is an antelope species with a striking red coat and curved horns. Young are born without horns and begin to grow horns or buds at approximately three months of age.

Visitors to Taronga Western Plains Zoo can help the Eastern Bongo and other wildlife native to Kenya by purchasing Beads for Wildlife products, available from the Zoo Shop. The beadwork is made by women in Kenya and all the revenue generated by the bead products goes as direct income to the beaders themselves. The Beads for Wildlife program diversifies income in rural areas, income that would otherwise be generated from environmentally unsustainable means such as charcoal burning, cattle herding and hunting.

Bongo calf and mother
Bongo calf and mother