A critically endangered species made progress last month with the birth of a female Eastern bongo, which the Nashville Zoo announced Wednesday.
The calf, named Hidaya, which according to zoo officials is Swahili for “gift,” was born on Feb. 5 to the zoo’s breeding pair of bongos Brooks and Linus.
“This was the first bongo birth at Nashville Zoo in over seven years,” said Connie Philipp, mammal curator at the zoo. “The Eastern bongo is on the brink of extinction, so every birth plays an important role in its conservation.”
With the birth of Hidaya, three Eastern bongos now live at the zoo in an off-exhibit habitat. Eastern bongos are listed as critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. Less than 500 are believed to exist in their native range of central Kenya.
Hidaya’s birth is a result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Bongo Species Survival Plan.