Zoo announces birth of extremely rare bongo calf

The Potter Park Zoo said the bongo calf was born March 5. (Source: WILX, Potter Park Zoo)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:25 PM CDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX/Gray News) – A zoo in Michigan is celebrating the birth of an extremely rare animal – an eastern bongo.

The Potter Park Zoo said the calf was born March 5.

The new baby bongo does not have a name yet, but the zoo says it is healthy. Its mom is also doing well.

Zookeepers said the calf is already walking around exploring its new home.

The zoo said it is waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before the calf will be seen by the public.

This is the second bongo to be born at the Potter Park Zoo. The first, named Zahara, was born in 2022.

Potter Park Zookeeper Adrianna Davidson has worked at the zoo with the bongos for six years. She said the birth of a new bongo is a milestone for the zoo’s breeding efforts.

Bongos are native to Kenya, but deforestation and poaching for their ornate horns and vibrant orange coats have made them critically endangered.

“Our bongos are part of an SSP program, which is a species survival plan. We brought in a male bongo a couple of years ago, and now we have babies, which is awesome,” Davidson said. “Our eastern bongos are a critically endangered species, and there is only about a hundred left of them in the wild,” Davidson said.

In fact, the eastern bongo is one of the most endangered large mammals in Africa, with recent estimates numbering between 47-140 animals left in the wild.