Matilda The Eastern Bongo Is Expecting
ATLANTA – March 31, 2016 – Matilda, a 7-year-old eastern bongo, is expecting a calf. The new arrival, estimated to arrive in June 2016, 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 Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “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’s 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.
Rachel Davis Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell
Gavin Johnson Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office
About Zoo Atlanta
Viewed as one of the finest zoological institutions in the U.S. and a proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta has a mission to inspire value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family experiences. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,000 animals from around the world. The Zoo’s newest destination, Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, featuring more than 70 species in a 111,000 square-foot complex, opened in April 2015. Zoo collection highlights include Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; North America’s largest zoological collection of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Up-close-and-personal animal experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African elephants, giant pandas, lemurs and Aldabra giant tortoises. Zoo Atlanta is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org or call 404.624.WILD.