Smithsonian National Zoo welcomes lesser kudu calf born at zoo

A male lesser kudu was born at the National Zoo on March 28.

The lesser kudu calf’s parents are 7-year-old mother Rogue and 10-year-old father Garrett.

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Staff at the Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C. got a pleasant surprise when they went to check on the lesser kudus: A new calf was born overnight.

According to the National Zoo, the calf was born to Rogue, a 7-year-old female, and Garrett, a 10-year-old male. He is the third calf for both parents, joining older brothers Kushukuru and Toba.

After an initial check showed the calf to be healthy, the animal care staff is giving Rogue and the calf space to bond in a quiet, behind-the-scenes enclosure.

Toba was around for the birth and spends evenings with his mother and younger brother. Garrett and Kushukuru can see, hear and smell the calf through a mesh window.

Lesser kudu are native to semi-arid regions of northeastern Africa. They are listed as a near-threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to human encroachment on their habitat, livestock expansion, hunting and disease. There are around 100,000 lesser kudu in the wild, and the population is decreasing.

The National Zoo has been closed to the public due to the pandemic, but is scheduled to reopen on May 21 and visitors can begin reserving entry passes on May 14.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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