Dubbo Zoo welcomes Bongo calf

Dubbo Zoo welcomes Bongo calf

#Conservation, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 13th December 2019 by Media Relations

Christmas has come early at Taronga Western Plains Zoo with the arrival of a rare Eastern Bongo calf in the early hours of the morning on 1 December 2019.

Zoo Keepers had been monitoring mother Djembe closely, waiting for the impending arrival of her calf. It was during the early morning keeper rounds that the calf was discovered by Djembe’s side in the Bongo calving stable.

The calf is a male and has been named Jabali (meaning strong in Swahili), by his keepers. He is the sixth calf for mum Djembe and the second calf sired by father, Kulungu.

“Jabali is smaller in comparison to Djembe’s previous calf but is very alert and moving well. The calf has been spending time on exhibit alongside Djembe and Maisha, another female in the group,” said Keeper Carolene Magner.

“Djembe is a very relaxed mother but is quite protective of her young calf. We are really happy with her maternal behaviours and, being so experienced, we know she will do a great job raising Jabali.

At present father, Kulungu and older brother, Kamau are separated from the females and newborn calf. They will be introduced back to the herd in approximately one month, once the calf is stronger and steadier. 

“Welcoming a new arrival is always a great part of the job, but when they are a critically endangered species it is even more special,” said Carolene.

“Bongo numbers in the wild are very low with less than 100 individuals remaining. It is important our herd act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts to help raise awareness for their plight and what people can do to help.”

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 revenue generated by the bead products is direct income to the women 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.