The calf, named Etana, was born in the zoo’s Ituri Forest multispecies habitat to first-time mom Peep on July 7. Five-year-old Peep hasn’t been caring for the calf, however, so the zoo’s animal care team separated them.
The calf’s father, 18-year-old Luke, started caring for the animal, demonstrating how to be a good parent to the mother.
That’s unusual among male duikers, according to the zoo.
“Luke has sired six calves at the San Diego Zoo, so he’s not unfamiliar with having a little bouncing baby around,” senior keeper Jennifer Chapman said. “He was a great catalyst to reintroducing Etana and Peep, showing Peep that the calf is an okay addition to their group.
Peep is learning how to care for her baby and doing well, and Luke is always there, furthering the trio’s bond as a happy family.”
Duikers, small- to medium-sized antelopes native to sub-Saharan Africa, are shy and elusive creatures with a fondness for dense cover, according to the zoo.
The animal’s name comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch word for diver or diving buck. It refers to the duikers’ practice of diving into undergrowth tangles, according to the zoo.
In the wild, duikers live alone, in pairs, or in small groups between 3 and 10 animals.
Zoo keepers expect the trio to continue developing their relationships off-exhibit for the time being, then the calf will be gradually introduced to the Ituri Forest exhibit.
Visitors may see the duiker trio in about two weeks.
— City News Service
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