2012-12-05 — /travelprnews.com/ — The holiday season brings a brand-new ambassador for a critically endangered species

WHO: Matilda, a 5-year-old eastern bongo, gave birth to a calf late night December 2nd. The new arrival is the second offspring of Matilda and 5-year-old male Tambo.

WHAT: Like many of her fellow Zoo Atlanta residents, Matilda is trained to participate in voluntary ultrasounds, permitting the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams to monitor the development of her calf since confirming the pregnancy in July

Mother and calf will have an opportunity to bond behind-the-scenes before Members and guests will be able to see the youngster. In the wild, bongo mothers usually hide newborn calves as a safeguard against predators.

Eastern bongos are critically endangered, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild. Habitat destruction and poaching are the most immediate threats to the species, which is found only in Kenya.

In addition to supporting bongos and their habitats through the Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund, Zoo Atlanta is an active participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Matilda and Tambo were recommended to breed by the Bongo SSP, which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse captive population in North American zoos and has reintroduced captive-born bongos to eastern Africa. Matilda’s and Tambo’s first offspring, Beauregard, born December 2, 2011, was the first bongo born at Zoo Atlanta.

Stay tuned for updates on the calf’s debut.

WHERE: Zoo Atlanta
800 Cherokee Avenue, S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30315

CONTACT: Keisha N. Hines, Director of Public Relations and Communications
404.624.5980 – office
404.309.2238 – cell

Simone Griffin, Public Relations Coordinator

ABOUT: About Zoo Atlanta
An accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta inspires value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family fun. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,500 animals from around the world. A slate of new up-close-and-personal experiences opened in spring 2012: giraffe feeding, permitting guests to hand-feed Earth’s tallest living land mammals, and Wild Encounters, three new behind-the-scenes adventures with African elephants, giant pandas and Komodo dragon. Other highlights include the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, the nation’s largest zoological collection of orangutans and a global center of excellence for the care and study of vanishing reptiles and amphibians. The Zoo is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education prog