Happy 13th Birthday, Canela!

January 12, 2024

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with cake!

Having a birthday during the festive period can be a bit annoying at times but keepers at Marwell made sure Canela the mountain bongo had a little celebration of her own to mark becoming a teenager.

Canela, a Critically Endangered Mountain Bongo, recently celebrated her 13th birthday and keepers were only too happy to make her a “cake” befitting the ocassion.

The birthday treat, made of browser pellet, flaked maise and browse silage, was shared with other members of Marwell’s Mountain bongo herd.

Erin Luter, Assistant Animal Keeper, said: “Canela is a favourite among keepers due to her friendly nature.

“There are fewer than 100 mountain bongo left in the wild so she is a very important animal and it was only right we celebrate her 13th birthday well.

“She celebrated her birthday with her calf Kora and her new friend Jumapili and Jumapili’s calf Kaska.”

Mountain bongo are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List with just 70 – 80 mature individuals left in the wild.

Numbers continue to decline as a result of hunting, loss of habitat due to illegal logging and disease which is thought to have impacted numbers drastically in the 1890s and 1900s.

Bongo’s are largely nocturnal and are most active at dawn and dusk.  During the rest of the day they rest in cover.

Sociable by nature, these impressive animals have been known to live in groups of up to 50 individuals though smaller groups of 2 to 8 are more common.

When they are born, male and female bongo are the same chestnut red colour but as males get older, their coats become darker and as females get older theirs may become lighter.

The white stripes on bongo’s sides are thought to provide camouflage in the forest where they blend in with the pattern of sunlight and shadow on the forest floor.

You can visit Marwell’s bongo herd behind the giraffe house. Don’t forget our free 30 day return tickets are running throughout January until 23 February meaning guests booking online to visit between those dates will be able to come back as many times as they like for the next 30 days!