Werribee Open Range Zoo swoons over savannah baby boom

23 December 2020

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s savannah has welcomed a boom of adorable and extremely precious baby antelope - and, the flood of new arrivals has visitors and keepers smitten!

Three Scimitar-horned oryx, named Amos, Inda and Siza, and six Lowland nyala – Ajani, Bisa, Gijima, Zuko, Azibo and Johari, have arrived during the past two months.

The newest savannah residents can be seen running amok, playing with their family members, suckling from their patient mothers and plonking down amongst the grassy plains for a well-earned nap.

Savannah Keeper Gunther Venables said that while some are still only days old, the nine calves have one of the most important jobs at the zoo.

“These antelope calves were born as part of a regional breeding program here at Werribee Open Range Zoo,” said Mr. Venables. “The Scimitar-horned oryx are considered to be extinct in the wild, so these babies are extremely precious and will contribute to the survival of their species.”

Both species help Zoo visitors learn about the threats many African animals face in the wild and what they can do to help fight wildlife extinction. The major threats to the wild population of Lowland nyala are poaching and habitat destruction.

Mr Venables said that visitors can catch a glimpse of these precious savannah babies while on the Zoo’s safari bus tours, which is included in general entry.

“These little antelope are most active in the mornings or late afternoon and can be seen, bounding around the Zoo's savannah and arid areas, from passing safari busses,” said Mr. Venables.

Werribee Open Range Zoo re-opened to visitors on Thursday 29 October under the latest easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by the Victorian Government. Visitor numbers are capped and all tickets must be prepurchased online. For more information, visit: www.zoo.org.au