December 28, 2021 (BALTIMORE, MD) – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore today announced the arrival of Beau, a breeding-age adult male Sitatunga who was specially-selected to join the Zoo’s all female herd. Beau recently completed a 30-day quarantine following his trip up from a zoo in Florida and now lives in the Africa Barn. He will be on exhibit daily, weather allowing, as part of the Zoo’s African Journey.
“Beau has been a fun and energetic new addition, showing typical male behaviors like using his horns to dig and “spar” with tree branches,” said Erin Grimm, Mammal Collection and Conservation Manager at the Maryland Zoo. “We’ll soon introduce him to two females and, if all goes as planned, there will be some new calves in 2022.”
Beau’s transfer to the Maryland Zoo was recommended by the Sitatunga 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 health of the individual animal, as well as the long-term survival to help save animals from extinction.
The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in swamps, marshes and flood plains. Their long, splayed hooves allow them to walk across islands of floating vegetation and wet terrain without sinking, but they’re also strong swimmers, who can hide from predators under water if need be with only their nostrils (and maybe eyes) showing. Outside of protected areas, sitatunga are vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss, as people drain and develop swamp land. Currently, sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered.