Potter Park Zoo Welcomes Rare Eastern Bongo Calf

Potter Park Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a female eastern bongo calf, one of the most majestic and endangered members of the antelope family. Born March 5, this calf marks the second eastern bongo birth at the zoo since 2014 and only the fifth in the zoo’s history.

Dr. Alison, a joint veterinary Binder Park/Potter Park fellow, doing a neonatal exam.

“Bongo are critically endangered, so each birth is special. The calf appears healthy and the mother has raised calves successfully in the past,” said Potter Park Zoo’s Director of Animal Health Dr. Ronan Eustace.

Standing up to four feet tall at the shoulders and measuring over eight feet in length, eastern bongos are known for their striking appearance and impressive hearing abilities. Both males and females grow long spiraling horns, which is an uncommon trait among antelope species.

The birth of this calf is a critical milestone for eastern bongo conservation efforts. In their remote mountain territory of central Kenya, only around 100 eastern bongos remain in the wild, and their ornate horns and vibrant orange coat make them a target for hunting and poaching. With approximately 300 eastern bongos residing in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) across the nation, captive breeding programs like the one at Potter Park Zoo play an essential role in preventing their extinction.

Cynthia Wagner, Potter Park Zoo Director, expressed her excitement for the recent birth of the eastern bongo calf.

“It is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our team that we can provide such exceptional care for these amazing animals,” she said.

Keeper Autumn holding the baby bongo to get its weight.

The calf is currently indoors with her mother Uzuri, and the animal care staff report the calf appears healthy and is gaining weight. As part of the zoo’s commitment to education, visitors can follow the calf’s progress on social media. The zoo will also announce updates on when the calf will venture into the outdoor exhibit. By sharing this exciting news, we hope to inspire more people to act in protecting and conserving endangered species like the eastern bongo.

Nearly 500 animals call Potter Park Zoo home, including critically endangered black rhinos, endangered red pandas, Massasauga rattlesnake and spider monkeys. The zoo is located in Lansing, Michigan and is open 364 days a year. For more information, visit