LUFKIN — The Ellen Trout Zoo welcomed an anticipated birth of a Bay Duiker on the evening of 8 September. Mother and calf are doing well. Although the mother is experienced and no problems are anticipated, Zoo Keepers are monitoring closely to ensure that the calf is thriving.
Duikers are skittish animals but, through careful work with the mother to get her accustomed to their presence, Zoo Keepers are able to make close visual inspections and weigh the calf to monitor its growth. The calf also received a “well baby check” by the staff veterinarian who found some minor irritation on the belly that is being treated.
The Ellen Trout Zoo has been home to Bay Duikers since 1988. This is the 11th Bay Duiker to be born at the Ellen Trout Zoo with the last one born just before Thanksgiving 2011. While widespread in their native Africa, there are currently only 13 Bay Duikers in two North American Zoos.
The Bay duiker is a forest-dwelling duiker from central Africa. It is a small antelope standing about 20 inches tall at the shoulder as an adult. Weighing about 3 pounds at birth, the calf will grow to weigh up to 40 pounds.
At the early stages of life, duiker calves will remain secluded, hiding in vegetation to be safe from predators in the wild. So calves, even when raised by the mother, are not visible to zoo visitors for many weeks. The calf and its mother are in seclusion off exhibit while the sire and the older brother remain on display for zoo visitors.