MELBOURNE, Fla., March 22, 2023 — Brevard Zoo welcomed a new baby to its Expedition Africa loop. On Saturday, March 18, klipspringer Deborah gave birth around 10:30 a.m. on habitat in Expedition Africa. While some eagle-eyed guests got to see the newborn baby, officials soon moved mom and little one to a behind-the-scenes area to give them time to bond.
Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on Tuesday, March 21, where it was determined the baby is female and is in good health. Animal care staff have observed the newborn nursing and note that Deborah is a “great mom.” At the time of exam, the little one weighed just over 2 pounds!
Deborah, who is 6 years old, and mate Ajabu, who is 8 years old, have had six offspring together, none of whom currently live at the Zoo. The pair is recommended to breed under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). The goal of an SSP is to maintain genetic diversity of groups of animals in AZA-accredited facilities.
Animal care staff had observed breeding between Deborah and Ajabu, and thus had a timeline of when they expected her to give birth if breeding was successful. From there, the team monitored her weight and teat development to track progress.
Deborah and her newborn will remain in a behind-the-scenes area while keepers continue to give them space to bond. The team will monitor the two and watch for baby milestones and Deborah’s behavior to determine when she and the baby can return to their public-facing habitat.
Animal care staff will ultimately be following the mother and daughter’s pace before starting short, supervised visits on habitat and later introducing the little one to the other residents of their large yard in Expedition Africa.