Introducing…A Bouncing Baby Bongo!
The first bongo of 2016 was born on Sunday, June 26. This new baby girl joins five other female bongos, including her mother Juni who was born at the Virginia Zoo just over ten years ago. The calf weighed in at 46.9 pounds, stands almost three feet tall and is very healthy. This is the sixth offspring for Juni.
“We have a very successful breeding program here at the Virginia Zoo and are very excited to welcome this new baby to our herd,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director. “In terms of conservation efforts, this is a very significant birth because Eastern bongos are critically endangered.”
In the wild, baby bongos stay hidden in forest undergrowth to evade predators. Mothers make only brief visits so as not to draw unnecessary attention to their young. Catch a glimpse of the yet-to-be-named calf and her mother in their exhibit adjacent to the giraffes throughout the week for short times during the day.
Virginia Zoo Bongos
Virginia Zoo participates in a Species Survival Plan for the Eastern Bongo managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo is one of 38 North American zoos who together manage a captive population of around 130 animals to ensure we maintain a safe reservoir of animals to support conservation of the species in the wild.
Bongos are the largest and heaviest type of forest antelope, standing over 50 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing around 450 to 550 pounds. Their chestnut coats with white stripes provide camouflage in the forest shadows. Herds are comprised of females and calves, while males are more solitary. Bongos are most active at dawn and dusk. Females give birth to one calf per year and the gestation period is nine months.