Marwell Zoo has welcomed two lesser kudu calves to the wildlife park, a species never bred in the zoo before.
The playful female calf has been named Shaka, an African name held by the Zulu tribal leader in the early 19th century. The younger male, Kojo, is named after the African word meaning ‘born on Monday’, the day he was born.
Lesser kudu calves are typically nervous, and the dam and calf are separated from the herd for the first few weeks after birth to help them bond in peace.
Luckily both calves are doing well and have been seen playing together in a shared paddock.
Marwell Zoo animal keeper Lauren Arthy-Miles, said: ‘This is the first time we have bred Lesser Kudu at Marwell, so as well as contributing to the population of a species which is declining in the wild, it’s wonderful to successfully breed not just one but two healthy lesser kudu calves.’
‘Both calves are doing really well. It’s always a pleasure to have baby animals and having two is wonderful - not just in terms of breeding success, but the calves tend to “play” more when they are born at a similar time.’
Lesser kudu is a near threatened species of forest antelope found in the Somali-Masai Arid Zone in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. They favour areas with dense vegetation to give them cover and protection.