The Oregon Zoo’s new b0nteok calf has made his public debut.
Zoo visitors got to see the 3-week-old African antelope Monday morning. He was running around with his mother in the grassy habitat of the zoo’s Africa Savanna area.
“Now that the weather’s warming up, Winter and the calf should be spending more time outside. It will be fun to watch him grow — he has so much energy!” said Kelly Gomez, who oversees the zoo’s Africa section.
The zoo says the calf weighs nearly 32 pounds and appears healthy despite a slow start. Because he didn’t nurse right away, veterinarians had to give him a transfusion of plasma from his father. That was so he could get the antibodies he needs to fight off possible infection.
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“We gave him a couple supplemental bottle-feedings and then returned him to mom,” Gomez said. “And then overnight, he was nursing just fine. He’s a sturdy little guy, and quite handsome.”
The zoo says bonteboks were once considered among the most imperiled mammals on Earth, and each birth is considered an important step toward ensuring their long-term survival.
The Nature Conservancy says the bontebok is arguably the first African animal saved from human caused extinction.
“Its rescue is flat-out one of the most dramatic conservation success stories anywhere,” wrote Matthew L. Miller, in the conservancy’s science blog.
Today the bontebok population is estimated to be around 2,500 to 3,000, the zoo said.