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Science and the Environment

IMAGES: Dickerson Park Zoo Gets New Residents

An  Eastern bongo calf, that was born in early June, is one of the new faces at the zoo.  According to zoo officials the calf "stays close to his mother’s side in the yard in the Africa region of the zoo." Eastern bongos are large forest-dwelling antelope.  They're now only found in isolated areas of Kenya, including Aberdares Conservation Area, the Mau Forest and Mt. Kenya National Park.

The bongo calf, like the adults, has a chestnut-colored coat and narrow white stripes from its shoulders to hindquarters, according to the zoo. "The coloration likely serves as camouflage in the thick forest foliage." Unlike some antelope species, a bongo calf hides, rather than following its mother, to avoid drawing the attention of predators. The calf’s horns will grow rapidly and likely begin to show by this fall.

 It's estimated that fewer than 500 bongos remain in the wild, and the species is threatened by habitat destruction, disease and poaching. Dickerson Park Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan® for bongos through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to the zoo.

There’s a new bull in the zoo’s giraffe yard. Grady, a two-year-old reticulated giraffe arrived in June from the Jacksonville Zoo, the zoo says. He will  become the breeding bull for the zoo’s group of younger females.

The Outback Corral Petting Zoo has a new brother-sister pair of Boer goat kids born in early June and two Holstein calves.

And there's been some enclosure updates.  According to zoo officials,  zoo staff recently completed remodeling the European white stork yard, enclosing it in mesh and building a new service barn for the animals. Zookeepers moved red ruffed lemurs to the yard with the storks.