On New Year’s Day, the keeper team at Paignton Zoo were delighted to welcome an adorable new arrival.
The birth of a Kirk’s dik-dik, a tiny antelope species native to the shrublands and savannahs of northeast Africa, is the fourth calf born to parents Derek and Éclair. Their third calf, Chloe, only born on 6 July last year, also shares their enclosure.
A fully grown Kirk’s dik-dik stands at only about 40cm tall and weighs around 5kg, meaning they are about the same size as a large house cat. This, paired with their distinctive scent gland under each eye, gives them an adorable, Bambi-like appearance.
Keepers at Paignton Zoo have been particularly enamoured by the new arrival. Owen Taylor, Curator of Mammals, said:
“We were delighted to find that she had given birth on New Year’s Day, it’s such a fantastic way to start the New Year. This is the second dik-dik calf born here in the last 12 months, so this shows how successful zoo-based breeding programmes can be.”
The zoo’s family of Kirk’s dik-dik are part of a European breeding programme, which aims to ensure that the captive population in European zoos remains fit and healthy. Thankfully, Kirk’s dik-dik are not considered threatened at the moment, but in a rapidly changing world this situation could easily change.
“Derek and Éclair have already proven that they are great parents, and big sister Chloe is also bonding very quickly with her new sibling. We can’t wait for our visitors to see how sweet they all are together.”
The zoo will be re-opening after a two week maintenance closure period on Saturday 20 January.
To catch a glimpse of this cute calf, you can book tickets to visit Paignton Zoo at: https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/plan-your-visit/prices-and-tickets/.