When we receive a baby, we take its temperature and weight; this information is recorded daily in a log along with the baby’s daily consumption, health, and any important observations. It can take some time for babies to learn to drink from a bottle, but they eventually get the hang of it. Depending on a baby’s dietary needs, each baby gets its own blended formula made up of different milks and powders. Feeding amount and frequency depends on the age, weight, and species.
The babies are weaned from their bottles at three to four months of age, by which time they are eating plenty of solid foods such as pellets, hay, and browse. Once weaned, they graduate from the nursery to a transitional pen, where they can get bigger and stronger before they return to their herds or are moved to another zoo. We are currently bottle raising several hoofed species such as beautiful impala gazelle, pronking springbok antelope, jumping markhor goats, and much more!One of the more recent newcomers to the nursery is a female fringe-eared oryx. She was born in a field exhibit that is home to many different species. When she was only one day old, she met the unfriendly side of a rhino’s horn. Keepers rushed to her, and she was scooped up and taken to the hospital to be checked for injury. Luckily she escaped unscathed and was brought to the Animal Care Center where she is being bottle raised. You can come see her, along with many others, at the Nursery Kraal located adjacent to the Animal Care Center. Here our babies get to run, play, and enjoy some sunshine.
The Animal Care Center is home to many babies, and we never know when a new addition will arrive, so stay tuned for more to come!
Sandy Craig is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read a previous post about the Park’s Animal Care Center, Where the Deer and the Antelope Roam.