LA Zoo: Baby Bongo Debut

The young male, born in January, has now joined the larger herd at the Griffith Park zoo.

No one would ever dare tell a zebra that his stripes weren't iconic, and symbolic, and majestic, and absolutely emblematic of the gorgeous grouping of equids known for their distinctive patterning.

But other gorgeous groupings out there also rock the stripes in a noble and photo-ready way.

Look to the bongo, part of the antelope family, which is also known for a magnificent striping pattern, one that's different from the zebra (thinner white stripes with bolder areas of russet offering contrast).

You can see for yourself in person, at the Los Angeles Zoo, where a herd of Eastern bongos resides. And you can squeal a bit, too, for the herd recently welcomed its newest and youngest member, a baby that may now be seen by zoo guests as of Thursday, Feb. 23.

The zoo is pretty chuffed, for this is the "First Bongo Baby in Over Twenty Years!" at the Griffith Park-based animal park.

The baby, a male, was born on Jan. 20, but he's been staying "behind the scenes" with Rizzo, his mother. Bongos are defined as "precocial," meaning they're up and busy fast (or, if you prefer, per the zoo, "relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth"). 

Much like a newborn giraffe or horse, this brand-new 55-pounds-at-birth bongo stood within an hour of his arrival. And good news: He was soon was successfully nursing.

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Upon joining the herd, the inquisitive calf "...expressed interest..." in getting to know more about his herd and the other animals that share the herd's environment, which also include a pair of yellow-backed duikers, which are described as "forest-dwelling antelopes."

As for those famous stripes? Baby boy has "10-14," plus a notable pair of large ears. Bongos reside in dense forested regions, and hearing what's happening in the immediate vicinity is paramount. 

The zoo "...has recently made breeding the species a priority due to its dwindling numbers..." in its home areas of the Aberdares Forest and Mt. Kenya. (More on the bongos' story, and the zoo's conservation efforts, may be found here.) The species is listed as critically endangered.

Give a cheer for a new bongo, and best get to LA Zoo to observe those stripes, ears, playfulness, and month-old cute-a-tude for yourself.

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