Matilda the eastern bongo in her habitat at Zoo Atlanta
ATLANTA - Officials at Zoo Atlanta said Monday afternoon that Matilda, a 4-year-old eastern bongo, is expecting her second calf. Veterinarians at the zoo say the birth window for the bongo calf is likely to begin in December.
The gestational period for eastern bongos is nine months.
Zoo Atlanta says Matilda and her 4-year-old mate Tambo were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan. The species is critically endangered around the world with less than 500 believed to remain in the wild. The Species Survival Plan has been credited with reintroducing captive-born bongos to their native environment in eastern Africa.
Matilda and Tambo's first calf, Beauregard, a male, was born last December.
"We're delighted that Matilda is expecting a second calf. Bongos are some of the rarest mammals at Zoo Atlanta, and any healthy new addition is a celebration for such a critically endangered species," said Raymond King, President and CEO. "We also find that our guests tend to be less familiar with this species than they are with many of the other large mammals at the Zoo, so we welcome any opportunity to introduce our visitors to these beautiful animals and the challenges they face in the wild."
Zoo officials say they will provide updates on Matilda's progress as her pregnancy advances.