Matilda the eastern bongo is expecting
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Spring will bring a brand-new ambassador for a critically endangered species
Matilda, a 5-year-old eastern bongo, will herald spring with an exciting new arrival. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams have confirmed that Matilda is expecting a calf, with a birth estimated to occur in March or April.
The calf will be the third offspring of Matilda and 5-year-old male Tambo. Their first and second, male Beauregard, born in 2011, and female Betty Jean, born in 2012, now reside at other zoos.
Every birth is important for eastern bongos, a critically endangered species believed to number fewer than 500 in the wild in their native Kenya, where habitat destruction and poaching are their most immediate threats. Eastern bongos are among Africa’s largest antelope species, featuring deep, reddish-brown coats and long, curved horns.
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 Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund.
Stay tuned for updates on Matilda’s pregnancy.