Naples Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Eastern bongo calf - our first baby of 2021. Five-year-old bongo, Amara, gave birth to a female calf at approximately 6:00 pm Sunday, January 17, 2021. The calf weighs 46 pounds and stands approximately 2 feet tall.
The calf received a neonatal exam from the Zoo's licensed veterinary technician and was found to be healthy and thriving. The full examination included taking the calf’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, an eye exam, determining weight, listening to the heart and lung sounds, checking the suckle response and an examination for a cleft palate. The examination also revealed that the new calf is a female.
Above Photo: Keepers determine the calf's weight.
This is Amara’s third calf - but it is the first female. Amara’s first male calf, Bakari, was born in January 2019 and her second calf, Makumi, was born in December of 2019. The Hoofstock keepers named this little one Amali, which means "hope" in Swahili.
Once the calf is following her mother she will be introduced to her brothers and the exhibit for public viewing.
The mother and father of the new baby bongo were specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) based on their ancestry, to create the greatest genetic diversity in the population over the next century. The bongos arrived in April of 2018 from two different accredited zoos in Texas to contribute to the future of their species. Naples Zoo is pleased to be a part of this critical program to sustain the Eastern bongo population in Zoos.
Bongos are the largest of the forest antelope. These colorful creatures can weigh between 525 and 880 lbs. In addition to loss of their forest homes, they were hunted out over a century ago in Uganda and only 70 to 80 of these beautiful antelope remain in the wild in Kenya. But while wild populations were declining, accredited zoos had been carefully breeding mountain bongos. And in 2004, accredited zoos returned 18 bongos to the Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in Africa. Today, over 70 bongos now live on the Conservancy providing hopes for mountain bongo recovery through conservation translocations.