Virginia Zoo welcomes new bongo

January 31, 2013 by  

People have been flocking to Norfolk to catch a glimpse of Virginia Zoo’s newest arrival.

The zoo recently welcomed A.J., a bongo transferred to Virginia from Florida’s Jacksonville Zoo in December. After a month in quarantine, A.J. is now on show for visitors.

The zoo’s Executive Director, Greg Bockheim, spoke of the excitement surrounding the new arrival. He said:

“We’re very excited about A.J. The Virginia Zoo has had a successful bongo breeding program, and we hope A.J. will help us maintain that tradition.”

Bongos originate from the forests of Kenya and other areas of Africa and, as with many species, the population is under constant threat from human encroachment. The animals are regularly hunted for their horns and their meat.

Bongos are the largest type of forest antelope in the world, with many growing to over 50 inches in height and weighing as much as 550 pounds. A.J.’s arrival has caused quite a stir in Norfolk and the new attraction may be advertised to locals and tourists with the help of flyer printing and poster printing. By bringing in more revenue, the zoo will be able to put more into its bongo breeding program.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums oversees the breeding program as part of its Species Survival Plan – the idea of which is to help preserve endangered animals. In 2004, Virginia Zoo sent a captive-born calf to Africa. The bongo then formed a herd with the animals sent by other zoos in North America.

More information about the zoo and its newest member can be found on Virginia Zoo’s official website.