BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming its newest arrival – a female sitatunga calf born on Monday, August 5, 2013.

The calf weighed 12.65 pounds at her last vet visit, and is strong and healthy. Her parents are four-year-old Lela and five-year-old Hurley.  “The baby is nursing well, and Lela has been very attentive to the calf’s needs,” stated Carey Ricciardone, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “The baby is sticking close to her mother for now, and the two are just beginning to explore the outdoor behind the scenes area together.  Zoo visitors should able to see Lela and her calf in the next week or so.”

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The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in semi-aquatic swamps, marshes and flood plains. The Maryland Zoo’s sitatunga herd is made up of four  animals, including  the new calf,  and can be found along the boardwalk in the African Journey section of the Zoo.

The calf’s birth is the result of a recommendation from the Sitatunga Population Management Plan (PMP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). PMPs 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.

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The AZA Small Population Management Advisory Group (SPMAG) at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to helps develop breeding recommendations for the advancement of sitatunga in AZA-accredited zoos. 

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