We’re celebrating the arrival of four animals representing two species never before seen at the Zoo. Three Ankole-Watusi (two-year-old males Maximus, Boss Hogg and Galloping Ghost) arrived at the Zoo on Wednesday following a 20-hour journey from an Oklahoma ranch. A male eastern bongo, who came the next day, didn’t have to travel nearly as far—five-year-old male Sebastian came from Naples Zoo. A female bongo is slated to arrive in the coming weeks.
The Ankole-Watusi is an American cattle breed of African origin renowned for its enormous horns filled with blood vessels configured in a honeycomb-like structure; this helps keep the animals cool in warm climates. They have friendly, loving personalities, and we look forward to getting to know our trio as they settle in.
The eastern bongo is an antelope native to Kenya’s montane forests. Mature males are brown while calves and mature females are red. Both sexes have horns, although Sebastian only has one—the other was surgically removed following an injury at a previous facility.
Eastern bongo are critically endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. Large stretches of African forests are clear-cut in part to mine for metals used in consumer electronics like smartphones and digital cameras. You can help reduce the need for mining—and help save African wildlife—by depositing unwanted electronics for recycling in the designated bin near the Zoo entrance.
All four animals are living in the train yard. They’ve already been introduced to camels Frankie and Sammy and zebra Lauren. The train will continue to run on weekends at sporadic intervals while the Ankole-Watusi and bongo acclimate, but the schedule should be back to normal by the end of the month.
If you’d like to help these magnificent animals settle in, check out the Ankole-Watusi enrichment items on our wish list!