Eastern bongo born at Zoo Atlanta
Monday, December 3, 2012
The holiday season brings a brand-new ambassador for a critically endangered species
Matilda, a 5-year-old eastern bongo, gave birth to a calf late night December 2nd. The new arrival is the second offspring of Matilda and 5-year-old male Tambo.
Like many of her fellow Zoo Atlanta residents, Matilda is trained to participate in voluntary ultrasounds, permitting the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams to monitor the development of her calf since confirming the pregnancy in July. Mother and calf will have an opportunity to bond behind-the-scenes before Members and guests will be able to see the youngster. In the wild, bongo mothers usually hide newborn calves as a safeguard against predators.
Eastern bongos are critically endangered, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild. Habitat destruction and poaching are the most immediate threats to the species, which is found only in Kenya. In addition to supporting bongos and their habitats through the Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund, Zoo Atlanta is an active participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Matilda and Tambo were recommended to breed by the Bongo SSP, which seeks to maintain a a self-sustaining, genetically diverse captive population in North American zoos and has reintroduced captive-born bongos to eastern Africa. Matilda’s and Tambo’s first offspring, Beauregard, born December 2, 2011, was the first bongo born at Zoo Atlanta.
Stay tuned for updates on the calf’s debut.