February 17th, 2011
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming its newest arrival – a male addra gazelle calf born on Saturday, February 5, 2011.
The calf, named Ray-Ray for Ravens players Ray Lewis and Ray Rice, weighed 5.3 kg (11 lbs 6 oz) at birth, and is strong and healthy. His parents are 11-year-old Pearl and 4-year-old Makuru. Pearl is an inexperienced mother, showing no signs of interest in her calf after his birth, so the decision was made to hand-rear him. “Because this little calf is so significant to the overall population of this endangered species, we decided that a quick intervention was necessary in order to keep him healthy,” stated Mike McClure, general curator of the Zoo. “He is being bottle-fed six times a day, but because we don’t want him to become imprinted on humans, we will be carefully raising him so it will be easier to integrate him into our herd when he is a bit older.”
The addra gazelle (Gazella ruficollis), also known as the dama gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. Addra gazelles live in Africa’s Sahara desert region, from Mauritania to Sudan. They move seasonally from scrub land during the dry season to desert during the wet season. Addras are also fast and can reach a running speed of approximately 45 mph. “When deciding what his name should be, Zoo staff thought of the Ravens,” stated Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “Ray Lewis epitomizes the strength of the gazelle and Ray Rice the speed. Naming him Ray-Ray seemed a fitting tribute.”
The calf’s birth is the result of a recommendation from the Addra Gazelle Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. Currently there are approximately 130 addra gazelle in AZA accredited zoos throughout the United States. Addra gazelle are critically endangered. Poaching and overhunting, for horns and meat, have driven the species nearly to extinction in the wild.
Zoo visitors will be able to see the calf along with the rest of the herd in the spring when temperatures have warmed up and the ground is no longer icy. The Maryland Zoo’s herd is made up of four animals, including Ray-Ray, and can be found in the African Watering Hole exhibit in the Africa section of the Zoo, just past the rhino, ostrich and zebra.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is open Fridays through Mondays from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, until March 1 when we return to regular 7-day-a-week operation. Admission through February 28 is half off the regular weekend admission price — adult admission is $8.00, children ages 2-11 $5.50 and seniors $6.50. Children under 2 and members are always free! Check our website or Like our page on Facebook for up-to-date information on the Zoo in the winter, as well as possible weather-related closings.