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Meet our floppy-eared new arrival!

February 3, 2023

A close up of a mountain bongo calf's head and large ears

Meet our floppy-eared new arrival, a Critically Endangered mountain bongo, born to parents Canela and Ituri on Monday (30 January).

The bongo calf is said to be doing well, with mother Canela reported to be doing a great job of attending to her new charge.

In the wild, mountain bongos are found in four distinct areas of Kenya where they live in forests and highlands.

Mountain bong ocalf sat down in its indoor house at Marwell Zoo

It’s thought there are fewer than 100 of these animals left in the wild and as populations continue to decline, the importance of captive mountain bongo breeding programmes has never been greater.

Mountain bongos prefer areas with tall shrubs such as forest edges and areas where the forest has been disturbed, causing new growth.

Calves are often left hidden in vegetation after birth to conceal them from predators.  Mothers will return for them to suckle.

Leopards are the main predators of bongos and when under threat they will run into the forest with their horns held against the back of their necks, so they don’t get snagged on the undergrowth.

The species faces a number of threats, including hunting with dogs and loss of habitat as well as the risk of diseases from domestic cattle.

Mountain bongo calf head and ears stood at Marwell Zoo
Credit PhotosByGemma

Male and female bongos are the same chestnut-red colour, but as they get older males get darker and females become paler.

The sex of the new calf isn’t currently known, and we will leave Canela and her calf to bond and gain confidence during these early stages.

Rhianna Worsell, Animal Keeper, said: “Both mum, Canela, and her calf are doing really well. The calf has been seen up and about exploring its enclosure with Canela following close behind.  Canela has been very attentive towards her calf.

“The gender is currently unknown as we will leave them together to bond without any disturbance from us.”