lesser kudus and sable antelopes currently have some new arrivals, with other
young also on the way.
Lesser kudu Jina (6) gave
birth to a baby boy on 19 February. His name is Pepo (‘wind’ or ‘spirit’ in
Swahili). Jina is a very attentive mother and keeps a close eye on Pepo as he
walks around the outdoor enclosure and nibbles on leaves. He is still drinking
milk from his mother, but is also eating an increasing amount of solid food.
The sable antelopes
also have new arrivals: Fara’s baby was born on 24 March and Evita gave birth
on 10 April. The two young females already know each other and will soon have
some other compatriots, as there are more sable antelopes who might be expecting
Like lesser kudus (and also
our native deer), sable antelopes are ‘hiders’: after its birth, the mother
leaves her little one in a sheltered spot and keeps a level of distance. She
visits her baby twice a day so that it can drink her milk. The little one does
not yet have its own inherent smell, and its mother thoroughly licks its rear
to ensure it stays that way – in the wild, this keeps light brown baby sable
antelopes well protected as they hide from predators. They only begin to follow
their mother and the herd from the age of around three weeks.
The large sable antelope is
a species of grazing antelope, and lives in family groups of up to 30 animals.
A herd generally consists of one male together with multiple females and young animals.
Basel Zoo is currently home to five females and one male. There is a strict
age-based hierarchy among the females. The animals’ long sabre-like horns, of
which the males have particularly large examples, are used for fighting. The
animals ‘kneel’ in front of each other and each try to push the other one away
with their horns – a trial of strength, but one where the competitors’ horns do
not inflict life-threatening injuries. The horns are also used against
predators such as leopards, lions and hyenas. Sable antelopes are widespread in
the bush and tree savannahs of east Africa, Angola, Zambia and north-east South
Lesser kudus also live in
the savannahs of east Africa, where the shy antelopes like to shelter behind
bushes for protection. These graceful antelopes have become rare in the wild
where poaching, habitat loss and hunting have made their lives difficult. The
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates their numbers
to be less than 120,000. Their breeding in zoos is organised by the European
Studbook (ESB) breeding programme, and Basel Zoo has been breeding lesser kudus