ZOO chiefs at Whipsnade are beating the drum for their new arrival – a bouncing baby girl bongo.
Born three weeks ago and weighing in at 15kg, the big-eared calf can often be found snuggling up to other members of the herd as well as her mum, four-year-old Hope.
Mark Holden, Africa section leader at the zoo, said: “The calf and her mum are happy to sit with other members of the group and the calf is not always found with mum – babysitting is common with the bongo.”
The striking baby bongo, with her deep chestnut coat and bright white stripes, is already venturing out into the paddock and has started growing into her big ears.
Mark said: “When first born, bongos have huge ears and legs, and the rest of the body grows into them.
“The new arrival is already filling out and looks more proportioned.
“She now ventures out with the group into the paddock every day for a fruit and vegetable scatter feed and is often seen having a run around.”
The baby bongo is an important addition to the European breeding programme for endangered species as bongos are under constant threat in the wild from habitat loss and poaching.
The bongo, full name Tragelaphus eurycerus, is part of the antelope family.
It can be found in low-lying, slightly swampy forest within east, central and west Africa, feeding on a diet of leaves and fruit.
Of the various species of antelope found in the African forest, the bongo is the largest.