Denver Zoo Welcomes Two Baby Bongos – But What’s a Bongo Anyway?
The arrival of spring brings with it the beginning of baby season at the Denver Zoo. Several weeks ago, keepers already announced the birth of an adorable two-toed sloth, and recently, they welcomed the arrival of two Eastern bongo calves into the world too.
But what exactly is a bongo anyway?
These reddish-brown and white striped mammals are considered to be a critically endangered species, found only in the montane rainforests of Kenya. The African forest dwellers are the third-largest antelope in the world, standing between 3.5 to 4.5 feet once reaching full maturity. As herbivores, bongos primarily feed on leaves and bark from bushes, along with grasses, flowers, and roots. They also require salt in their diet and will often visit mineral licks at night.
The unique markings on bongos' backs and sides help them camouflage in the wild and their large ears aid in hearing any approaching predators. Bongos are shy and reclusive creatures. They are hunted by leopards and sometimes hyenas and lions, but sadly, humans are now their main predators.
According to the Denver Zoo, big sister, Fiddle was born last month and can be identified by her yellow ear tag. Then, Clementine was born on February 16 to parents, Howard and Columbine. Keepers share that Clementine is a momma's girl but also enjoys spending time with her half-sister, Fiddle. Clementine has a blue ear tag, making it easier to tell the two babies apart.
With the addition of Fiddle and Clementine to the herd, the Denver Zoo now has a total of ten Eastern bongos.
Animal lovers can keep their eyes peeled for more cute birth announcements to come in the next few months, as the zoo continues to make a push into baby season.