Eastern Bongo Born at Zoo Atlanta
Monday, April 14, 2014
Welcome the newest ambassador for one of the Zoo’s rarest species
Matilda, a 5-year-old eastern bongo, gave birth to a male calf on April 12, 2014. The calf is the third offspring for Matilda and 6-year-old male Tambo.
Matilda’s pregnancy was confirmed earlier this year following visible weight gain and signs that the calf was moving. As it is typical for wild bongo mothers to hide their newborns as a safeguard against predators, Matilda and the calf will have an opportunity to bond behind the scenes before making appearances on exhibit.
“We’re delighted to celebrate our third eastern bongo birth here at Zoo Atlanta. This is a rare and beautiful species very much in need of conservation action,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We hope that as they watch the calf grow, our Members and guests will be encouraged to learn more about the threats facing bongos in the wild, as well as the everyday actions we can all take to make a difference for endangered species.”
Eastern bongos are critically endangered, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild in their native Kenya, where habitat destruction and poaching are their most immediate threats. Matilda and Tambo were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population in North American zoos and has reintroduced captive-born bongos to eastern Africa. Zoo Atlanta is an active participant in the SSP and has supported bongos and their habitats through the Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund.
Matilda’s and Tambo’s firstborn, Beauregard, born in 2011, was the first eastern bongo ever born at Zoo Atlanta. Beauregard and their second offspring, Betty Jean, born in 2012, now reside at other zoos.
Stay tuned for updates on the calf’s debut.