JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 28, 2021) — Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed in the new year with two critically endangered eastern bongo. Both calves are females, with one born on Dec. 17 and the other born on Jan. 8. These are the first offspring for both dams, Sienna and Shimba, as well as the sire, Mickey.

The mothers were born at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2018. Sienna is the mother of the first calf born, who weighed 42 pounds at her neonatal exam on Dec. 22. Shimba is the mother to the second calf, who weighed 38 pounds at her exam on Jan. 11. 

“Our animal care team is very excited with how well the first-time mothers are doing. This is great news for our herd and we look forward to more offspring in the future to enhance conservation efforts for this species,” said Assistant Curator of Mammals Corey Neatrour.

The sire of the new arrivals is Mickey, who came to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in October 2019 from Cape May County Zoo. The transfer was based on breeding recommendations through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Bongo Species Survival Plan (SSP). Eastern bongo are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN due to human activities such as deforestation and hunting.

In 2006, in partnership with other AZA zoos, Jacksonville Zoo participated in a repatriation effort that sent one of our bongo to central Kenya. The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Jacksonville chapter has also been supporting eastern bongo conservation through donations to the Bongo Surveillance Project (BSP) over the past three years. Jacksonville Zoo’s conservation department matches their contribution each year.

Bongo are the largest African forest antelope. They are found throughout central and west Kenya, however eastern bongo, also known as mountain bongo, are only found in a small mountain region in central Kenya. Both males and females have thick, slightly-spiraled horns. They have whitish-colored stripes and a red coat, with females usually being lighter in color than males.

At Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the calves can be seen in their exhibit along the Africa loop with their parents, as well as yellow-backed duiker, another species of antelope found through central and western Africa. The calves’ names will be decided through an online auction at the Zoo’s annual Toast to Conservation, which will take place virtually Friday. Visit

JacksonvilleZoo.org/Toast for more information.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit jacksonvillezoo.org.

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