Five healthy Eland calves were born in the past two weeks, which marks the start of calving season for this antelope species at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The calves are doing very well, and spend much of the day sleeping. They wake a few times daily to feed from their mothers, who are doing a great job of nurturing their newborn calves.
Zoo Keepers have already been up close and personal with the calves for health checks and ear-tagging for identification. This needs to be done early on following the birth, when the Eland mothers hide their calves around the exhibit. In the wild, this is a protection measure to keep the vulnerable offspring safe from predators.
The Eland mothers have been very creative with their hiding spots, and have even been safely ‘stashing’ their babies in the tree guards on exhibit. Zoo Keepers are pleased to see great maternal instincts from these experienced mothers.
In the coming weeks, the Eland calves are expected to come out of their hiding spots and form a nursery group with their peers – a great time for visitors to the Zoo to see the calves!
There are currently 35 adult Eland on exhibit at the Zoo, with at least four more due to give birth between now and the end of the year.
Did you know? Eland make a distinct clicking sound when they walk – which is thought to come from their knees!