BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is welcoming a new arrival — a female addra gazelle calf born on Saturday, June 9, 2012, just prior to midnight.

The calf, named Sparrow, weighed 4.6kg (10 pounds) at birth, and is being reared by her mother, 10-year-old Pearl. “Pearl did not show interest in her two prior calves, so we were watching her interactions with this calf very closely,” stated Mike McClure, general curator of the Zoo. “We are very pleased that Pearl took appropriate interest in this calf and has been raising her behind the scenes. She is gaining weight and has grown enough to come on exhibit with the rest of the herd.”

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. Addra are also fast and can reach a running speed of approximately 45 mph.

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 135 addra gazelle in AZA accredited zoos throughout the United States. Addra gazelle are critically endangered as 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 beginning July 16. The Maryland Zoo’s herd is now made up of six animals, including the new calf, and can be found in the African Watering Hole exhibit in the Africa section of the Zoo, just past the rhino, ostrich and zebra.

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