WASHINGTON — A “baby boom” of critically endangered dama gazelles has taken over the District, Smithsonian’s National Zoo said Thursday.
The first calf was a male born late August to 10-year-old Adara, and a second calf, a female, followed on Sept. 16 to 8-year-old Fahima. The latest calf is a male born Sept. 18 to 7-year-old Zafirah. All three calves were sired by Edem, a 3-year-old male, the zoo said.
Before the calves make their public debut in mid-to-late October, they are being kept in an off-exhibit area where they can bond with their mothers and get used to the habitat. The calves appear to be healthy, the zoo said, and have been nursing regularly.
Dama gazelles are native to Chad, Mali and Niger. Less than 500 dama gazelles remain in the wild, and they are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Some threats to the species include drought, habitat loss from human and livestock expansion, and hunting.
Can’t wait to see a dama gazelle in person? Give Edem a visit at the Cheetah Conservation Station before 10 a.m.