Belfast Zoo is celebrating the birth of a new eastern bongo. The species is listed as critically endangered with there estimated to be less than 80 eastern bongos left in the wild. The successful breeding of eastern bongos is crucial to species survival.
The latest baby bongo is the first birth from new couple Tombo and Surali, who were coupled up as a breeding pair in Belfast Zoo just last year.
The new eastern bongo is a bouncing baby girl, called Jumapili. Jumapili is Swahili for ‘Sunday or born on Sunday,’ with the name chosen as the little calf was born on a Sunday.
Zookeeper Nick said: “The pregnancy period for an eastern bongo can last between nine and 9½ months, this varies depending on the female.
“We had known Surali was pregnant for some time now but couldn’t predict the date the birth would happen. The Saturday night before the birth I had a dream that the baby would be born the next day, when I arrived that morning my dream had come true!
“Our new baby bongo had been born in the middle of the night! It was a fantastic feeling walking into the zoo and seeing our new bongo baby bouncing about with her healthy mother and protective father.”
He continued: “Tombo, Jumapili’s father, is playing an excellent fatherly role and is very ‘hands on’ and protective of her.
“Surali, Jumapili’s mother, is doing great after the pregnancy and is rearing her calf very well. Mother and calf are on show to the public at their enclosure.
“Jumapili, or Juma for short, can be seen strutting her stuff already! Bongos are one of the cutest babies in the animal kingdom when they are born. Don’t waste any more time, come visit the zoo and see our adorable baby Juma.”
Belfast Zoo is open from 10am to 4pm daily, last admission is 2.30pm as animal houses close at 3.30pm. Juma is on show at the bongo enclosure with her mother and father.
n For more information on admission please visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk/plan-your-day/prices-tickets.aspx