Akron Zoo Welcomes Gazelle Calf

Akron Zoo Welcomes Speke’s Gazelle Calf
Posted on 02/18/2020
babyAKRON, Ohio – For the first time in its history, the Akron Zoo has welcomed a
Speke’s gazelle calf. The female calf, named Aluna, was born on Jan. 4 and is doing
great.
The calf’s parents are the zoo’s two Speke’s gazelles, female Gambella and male
Gondar. The calf is currently residing in the gazelle barn with her mother and will make
her public debut once the weather begins to warm up.
Speke’s gazelles are a new species to the Akron Zoo, residing in the zoo’s new
area, Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa, which opened in June 2019. These
gazelles, which are the smallest species of gazelles, are a rare species to find in zoos.
Only 10 other zoos in North America have this species.
Speke’s gazelles are native to the Horn of Africa, specifically Somalia. On
average, they are two feet tall at the shoulder and weigh 25 – 40 pounds. Aluna
currently weighs approx. eight pounds.
Speke’s gazelles are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Populations
are declining due to loss of habitat, poaching and overgrazing by livestock, such as cattle
and goats. Their population numbers have decreased by 50% since 1988.
The Akron Zoo participates in the Speke’s Gazelle Species Survival Plan (SSP) as
an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility. The SSP is a program
that works to establish a genetically-diverse population of endangered species as a
safeguard against extinction.
“Due to their status as an endangered species, the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums has prioritized conservation action for Speke’s gazelles, both in their native
habitat and in zoos,” said Shane Good, director of collections management at the Akron
Zoo. “We are very excited for this species at the Akron Zoo and what this birth means
for the sustainability of Speke’s gazelles in zoos, as well as their native habitat.”
Speke’s gazelles are warm-weathered animals and are not in the outdoor habitat
in the winter. The gazelles’ roommates, white storks, remain in the habitat in Pride of
Africa daily. The three gazelles will return to the multi-species habitat in the spring.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Winter hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and
admission is $8 per person. Children under two are free and parking is $3. For more
information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.
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Akron Zoo – 2
Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is a non-profit, world conservation zoo with
over 700 animals from around the world. Located just west of Downtown Akron, the zoo
strives to connect your life to wildlife while inspiring lifelong learning and conservation
action. The Akron Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife
conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.

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