Photo credit: Alan Campbell
Two critically endangered Eastern bongos have been born at Belfast Zoo in as many weeks.
Eastern bongo are African forest antelopes, with numbers in the wild estimated to be less than 200.
Commenting on the double birth, Zoo Curator Raymond Robinson said, “ We are thrilled to hear the pitter patter of several baby bongo hooves in the paddock. Both mothers, Surali and Kibibi, are experienced and doing a great job of taking care of the calves.
Belfast Zoo has welcomed several bongo calves in recent years. Belfast-born bongos have moved to other zoos around the world as part of collaborative breeding programmes which help to provide a ‘safety net’ population of animals at risk of extinction. We are extremely proud of our contribution to the survival of this rare mammal.
We hope visitors will enjoy seeing all of our recent additions including bongo calves, coppery titi monkey baby and Western lowland gorilla infant as we commence our summer season as the zoo.”
The sex of the new calves is not yet known as zookeepers are giving them time to bond with the mothers and the rest of the family. They join siblings Jumapili, Pasaka and Nollaig.
Eastern bongo have red, stripy coats which acts as excellent camouflage from predators when hiding amongst the forest trees. Unlike most antelopes, both male and female bongos have long spiralling horns. Bongos can tilt their long horns back to reduce any obstruction while running through dense forests. Native to remote forests of Kenya, they are herbivores and eat leaves, shoots, grasses and shrubs.
The zoo is open 10am – 6pm every day over Easter. Special free activities are planned for Monday 19 April (Easter Monday) and Tuesday 19 April from 10am to 4pm including:
- face painting
- sensory touch tables
- walkabout characters
- Easter trail
Normal admission applies. All tickets must be purchased online.