We are proud to announce the first two zoo babies of the new year- a Dik-Dik and a Bongo! Shortly before ringing in the new year, a Dik-Dik was born and has been staying warm inside with mom. She was named Hinata (pronounced Hee-nuh-tuh) which means “sunny place”. Our zookeepers lovingly refer to Hinata as Hina for short. Hina was born to first time mom, Willow, who is two years old, and dad, Mike, who is 10 years old. Our Dik-Dik can be found in the Zambezi Hippo River Camp where they share an exhibit with an okapi and a Helmeted Guinefowl. Since the Dik-Dik population in North American Zoos is quite small, Hina’s birth will help continue the persistence of the population. The Memphis Zoo has volunteered to be a breeding partner to help improve the population size for this species, so hopefully this is the first of many Dik-Dik births moving forward! Hinata and her mom will not be on exhibit until we begin experiencing warmer weather in Memphis.
The first animal born in 2022 was Zito, a baby male bongo. “Zito” means clumsy- which he very much is- or big- which once you see his ears, you’ll understand! He was born to mom, Marley, and dad, Franklin. Due to difficulties immediately following birth, Zito was bottle fed by his keepers for the first week to ensure his survival. After gaining strength and based on his mother’s behavior, he has been reintroduced to his mom and while he is nursing from her, staff will continue to supplement him as necessary. Since these animals are critically endangered, Zito’s birth will help ensure genetic diversity within the zoo population of bongos. He will be an ambassador for his species to educate the public about his wild cousins who need our help. Mom and baby will be on exhibit with the rest of the herd in the next few weeks, weather dependent.
Dik-Dik are a very small antelope native to southern Africa. This shy and elusive animal spends most of its day concealed in a brush. Their name comes from the alarm sound they make when startled as they run in a zig-zag pattern.
Also known as forest antelope, Bongo are native to the forests of Africa. These animals are strictly herbivores feeding primarily grasses, leaves, bushes, and fruits. They are a critically endangered species with wild populations continuing to decline primarily due to hunting and habitat loss.