It may be summer, but spring is still in the air at Werribee Open Range Zoo with three baby blackbuck calves born in the past two months.
The pitter patter of adorable antelope hooves can be heard in the Woodlands Waterhole area of the open range zoo, where the male youngsters are settling in to life with their herd.
Named Charvi, Kuna and Tarus – Indian names meaning ‘beautiful’, ‘good character’ and ‘young’ – the Blackbuck, also known as Indian Antelope, have been suckling from their mums and testing their leaping style by bounding around.
Keepers said the Bambi-eqsue boys are bright and alert, and displaying positive natural behaviours.
“We are really happy with their progress,” Savannah keeper Luke Hausler said.
Blackbuck is a species of antelope found in India, Nepal and Pakistan. As the males grow, they develop long, ringed horns and their tan-coloured coats darken to the browny-black colour that gives them their name.
The new additions to the zoo may be young, but they already have an important job to do. The animals help raise awareness for the many antelope species in the wild that are under threat from poaching, habitat loss, agriculture and cattle grazing.
Werribee Open Range Zoo visitors can see the baby Blackbucks from the safari bus, which leaves from the safari station at regular intervals every day.