Ring in 2018 with peace, love and “Joy”

The Virginia Zoo closed out 2017 with the birth of a baby Eastern bongo. The female calf, who Zoo Keepers have named Joy, was born overnight on December 24 to experienced mom Juni.

Joy weighed 47 pounds at birth, and is the seventh offspring for Juni and first for father Bob. The calf joins parents and two other adult female bongos in their exhibit in the Africa – Okavango Delta. Joy and Juni will be viewable in their outdoor exhibit at various times throughout the day, depending on weather conditions and their activity levels.

“Bongos are critically endangered animals, so this is a very significant birth,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “In the past decade, the Zoo has contributed greatly to the bongo species and we’re proud of our successful breeding that allows this population to grow,” Bockheim added.

The Zoo is open 10 am to 5 pm on New Year’s Eve, closed New Year’s Day and will reopen at 10 am on January 2, 2018.

Bongo are large-bodied, relatively short-legged antelope with long spiraling horns that make one complete twist from base to tip. In general, the bongo inhabits lowland forest for most of its range; the subspecies in Kenya lives in montane forests at (6,560-9,840 feet) altitude. They have a rich chestnut coat that is striped with thin white vertical lines along the sides. The face and legs have patches of black and white, with white chevrons on the breast and below the eyes. Herds are comprised of females and calves, while males are typically more solitary. Females give birth to one calf per year and the gestation period is nine months. Weaning of the calf occurs at about six months.