Naples Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Eastern bongo calf. First time mother, three-year-old bongo, Amara, gave birth to a male calf at 2:25 am Wednesday, January 23rd. The calf weighs approximately 40 pounds and stands approximately 2 feet tall.
The calf received a neonatal exam from the zoo's staff veterinarian, Dr. Lizzy Arnett-Chinn, shortly after birth and was found to be healthy and thriving. Once the calf is following its mother, it will be introduced to its father 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 last April 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 about 100 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.