NEW ORLEANS -- The partnership between the Audubon Nature Institute and the San Diego Zoo is already paying off.
An Eastern bongo was born at Audubon's West Bank Campus in Algiers on Dec. 11. The bongo baby was conceived at Audubon Species Survival Center shortly after its parents arrived in mid-April from San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Bongos are a critically endangered species of antelope native to the jungles and forests of Africa.
"The bongo is the largest forest-dwelling antelope species and one of the most distinctive, sporting a glossy chestnut or orange colored coat, large ears, eye-catching vertical white stripes and long horns that spiral as high as three feet," according to a release from the Audubon Nature Institute.
Conservationists say Louisiana has the perfect environment for bongos to survive.
- The bongo is a shy, elusive creature that is seldom seen by people due to its nocturnal lifestyle.
- They turn and flee almost immediately when threatened and can disappear quickly into the surrounding forest, running with their horns laid back against their body to avoid being tangled up in vegetation.
- Its chestnut-colored coat is darker on its underside and patterned with vertical white stripes, which helps the bongo remain camouflaged in the dense jungle.
- Their long ears give them very sensitive hearing. A long prehensile tongue allows them to grip leaves and strip them from branches with ease.
- The bongo’s legs feature white and black bands and their long tail has a tufted tip.
- A thin mane runs along their body from the shoulders to the rump.
- Bongos produce a variety of calls, communicating with grunts, snorts, moos and bleating to warn others of approaching danger.
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