By Rachel Davis
Matilda, a 7-year-old eastern bongo, is expecting a calf. The new arrival, estimated to arrive in June, will be the fifth offspring of Matilda and her mate, 7-year-old Tambo. The pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound in late March.
A large African antelope known for its long, curving horns and striped red-brown coat, the eastern bongo is critically endangered. Fewer than 500 of the animals are believed to remain in the wild in their native Kenya, where their most imminent threats are habitat destruction and poaching.
“We’re delighted to learn that Matilda is expecting again. We have many visitors who have never even seen an eastern bongo, so we have the opportunity to introduce our guests to these beautiful animals,” said Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Raymond B. King. “Even more importantly, we have the chance to help our guests understand that this is a rare mammal facing very real threats in the wild, and that Zoo Atlanta, and organizations like Zoo Atlanta, are working together to preserve and protect this species.”
Matilda and Tambo were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population in North American zoos and has reintroduced bongos born in zoos to eastern Africa. Zoo Atlanta is an active participant in the SSP and has supported bongos and their habitats through the Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund.
Matilda and Tambo’s firstborn, Beauregard, born in 2011, was the first eastern bongo ever born at Zoo Atlanta. Their second and third calves, Betty Jean and Lawson, now reside at other zoos. Their fourth, Bob, currently resides at Zoo Atlanta.
Stay tuned for exciting news in early summer.
Matilda the Eastern Bongo Is Expecting
By Rachel Davis