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World-class diets, prepared with love and expertise, help our animals grow, heal, and live their best possible lives. Your generous support makes this possible. We’re asking you to support your Zoo with a gift to provide a “magical meal” to an animal this holiday season and beyond. If you’re able to give, every donation counts. Visit BrevardZoo.org/Magic to make this holiday season magical for our Zoo. 

This fall, Brevard Zoo was delighted to welcome a baby impala born to mom Imara. However, our joy quickly turned to concern when our animal care team noticed that Imara had rejected the baby and wouldn’t allow her to nurse.  

“This is unfortunately something that can happen in any mother-offspring relationship,” said Africa Platform Area Supervisor Alyssa Simon. “It is always disappointing when this happens as we want all our young animals to be raised by their parents, but we are prepared to step in when needed.” 

At the same time, Africa keepers were caring for impala mother Kiswa, whose newborn baby had unfortunately passed. Our Africa keepers, eager to help both animals thrive, had a bold idea: Why not unite Kiswa and the baby in hopes of forming a new family bond? 

“We had no idea how Kiswa would respond, but based on behavior we had observed between Kiswa and Imara’s calf prior to Imara rejecting her, we had high hopes,” added Alyssa 

Both impalas did well together in their behind-the-scenes habitat. However, Kiswa, like the baby’s birth mother, didn’t allow the baby to nurse. Keepers stepped in immediately to provide nourishment to the young impala through regular bottle feedings of nutrient-rich formula. 

The baby soon began to gain weight. After some time, she stopped wanting to bottle feed. But, strangely, she was still gaining weight. Our animal care team was perplexed until close observation and camera monitoring revealed that something magical had happened: during our supplemental feedings, Kiswa had accepted the baby as her own and allowed her to nurse. They were able to regain the mother-daughter bond they both had been missing. 

After a month of further monitoring, a healthy Kiswa and baby reintegrated with their herd on the sprawling lawns of the Zoo’s Africa veldt. Thanks to the magical bottle-fed meals that brought them together, the pair are continuing to thrive.  

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.