photo - young bongo head, body shot; body has white stripes going down back/body; 2 very large ears, with white fur line across bridge of muzzle, with dark eyes, short muzzle, black nose, tongue hanging out of mouth

Two New Faces at Louisville Zoo with Births of Female Bongos

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

Louisville Zoo guests may see two small new faces in the Zoo’s Bongo yard over Memorial Day weekend. Last month, the Zoo announced the birth of one female calf born on April 16. The Zoo is happy to announce a second calf was born on Sunday, May 21 at 3:45 p.m. Both calves are now in regular rotation.

The Louisville Zoo keepers who first laid eyes on the calves were given the honor of naming them. Because she was born on Easter, the first calf was named Sungura, meaning “hare” in Swahili. The second calf was named Abigail.

Seven-year-old Watson fathered both calves. Sungura was born to 14-year-old Kaya and Abigail was born to 8-year-old Isabelle. Kaya is also the mother of Isabelle, born at the Louisville Zoo in 2009, and  the grandmother of Abigail.

The breeding was a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.


Bongos are the largest of the forest antelopes and are considered by many to be the most beautiful. In addition to the deep chestnut color of their coats, bongos have bright white stripes on their sides to help camouflage them from their enemies. Bongos are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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