'We are delighted' - Joy as critically endangered calf born at Suffolk zoo

A critically endangered animal has been born at Africa Alive in Suffolk

A critically endangered animal has been born at Africa Alive in Suffolk - Credit: Robyn, Zoological Society of East Anglia

Staff at Africa Alive on the Suffolk coast have said they are "delighted" after one of their critically endangered animals gave birth.

Keepers at the zoo, in Kessinglan near Lowestoft, were overjoyed to find the newborn addax nestled with mother Forest on April 9. 

This is the first calf Forest has had at Africa Alive, and the first addax born at the zoo since 2017.

Zookeepers at Africa Alive are overjoyed by the birth of a critically endangered animal

Zookeepers at Africa Alive are overjoyed by the birth of a critically endangered animal - Credit: Connor, Zoological Society of East Anglia

Graeme Williamson, head of living collections at Africa Alive, said: “We are delighted to say that mum and calf are doing well, and that Forest is a very attentive mum.

"The calf has recently been introduced to her dad and the main paddock, which she has now begun exploring and running in while her mum and dad keep a watchful eye.”

The addax is a breed of antelope that is extremely rare and endangered due to unregulated hunting.

Formerly found throughout all of the Sahara, less than 100 adult addaxes now remain in the wild in small patches of sandy or stony desert in Northwest Africa.

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Addaxes Forest and Larry were introduced following recommendation from the European Breeding Programme, which aims to build up a healthy population of animal ambassadors as a potential safety net for their wild counterparts.

While Forest has bred before at another zoo, Larry is a first-time father.

Claudia Roberts, CEO at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “Conservation is at the heart of our charity’s mission, and the birth of this critically endangered addax calf exemplifies our unbounded commitment to protecting vulnerable animals.

"Addaxes are facing a very serious threat of wild extinction, and it’s incredible to see the birth of this calf who could help save her species.”

Visitors to Africa Alive Zoological Reserve are able to see the rare addax calf who is beginning to explore her home.

Tickets can be booked online.