Werribee Zoo baby boom brings cute Nyala calves
Spring has come early to Werribee Open Range Zoo with the birth of two adorable Nyala calves. The Bambi-esque antelopes, welcomed into the world this month by different mothers, are the fifth and sixth calves to be born at the zoo in less than a year.
They are now settling into life with the herd in the Woodlands Waterhole, suckling from their mothers and keeping warm together in a purpose-made shelter.
Female Tishala, Swahili for ‘strong-willed’, and male Kondo, Swahili for ‘warrior’, join three other females and one other male all under one year old. The young animals are watched over by seven Nyala adults who call the open-range area their home.
Savannah Keeper Lauren Irving said the calves are doing well.
“We’re really happy with their progress,” she said. “They’re starting to get up and about with the herd and play. This morning they have been jumping over small streams together.”
Despite being less than one month old, the calves already have an important job to do. The species, which only arrived at the zoo last year, helps visitors learn about the dangers many African animals face in the wild and what we can do to help fight wildlife extinction.
In Africa, the major threats to the population of Nyala are poaching, habitat loss, agriculture and cattle grazing.
“It’s also a great opportunity for people to get to know a variety of bush antelope that they have probably never seen before,” Ms Irving said. “The boys are striking with large curved horns, and the females have big beautiful eyes. They don’t look like any other type of antelope in existence.”
The Nyala have taken up residence in the Woodlands Waterhole area, an ideal combination of grassland and wooded surroundings.
The calves come at a perfect time for the public, with school holidays just around the corner. Visitors can see the Nyala herd in the Woodlands Waterhole while on Werribee Open Range Zoo’s Safari Tour.