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.