Minnesota Zoo visitors can size up newborn bongo antelopes

  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 12:27 AM
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Newborn bongo antelope at the Minnesota Zoo stood within minutes of arrival.

Two new arrivals have expanded the Minnesota Zoo’s collection of the world’s largest forest antelopes.

The zoo in Apple Valley announced Tuesday the births of a male bongo antelope on June 6 and a female 10 days later.

Bongo antelopes, native to rain forests with dense undergrowth across tropical Africa, are known for their auburn or chestnut coats with 10 to 15 vertical white stripes running down their sides.

The births bring the zoo’s bongo antelope collection to seven.

Zoo visitors will have to be patient. The calves are still getting used to their exhibit and are not always visible.

The male has grown to about 40 pounds, while his sibling is roughly 30 pounds. Both stood up within minutes of birth.

For size among all breeds of antelope, bongos can’t be beat. Once fully grown, males will range from 530 to nearly 900 pounds. For females, the range is 460 to 520 pounds.

But don’t let their weight fool you. Conservationists say they can run faster than 40 miles per hour. No wonder, given that their natural predators include leopards and lions.

Conservation groups put the worldwide population of bongos at no more than 28,000, leaving them just short of being classified as a threatened species.

Bongos are noted for being exceptional mothers. They keep their young hidden in tall grass and allow them to have “baby sitters” while the mothers forage.

Paul Walsh

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