BALTIMORE, Md. (WHTM) — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has announced a new calf has joined their sitatunga herd. The female calf was born to the adult female, Ally, and male, Beau, on May 23. Since then mother and calf have been bonding. Now it’s time for the calf to join the larger herd.  

Get daily news, weather, breaking news, and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here

At this point, you may be wondering just what a sitatunga is. It’s a species of antelope native to Central Africa, that lives in swamps, marshes, and floodplains. They have long, splayed hooves that allow them to walk across islands of floating vegetation and wet terrain without sinking. Not that sinking is much of a problem for them; they’re very strong swimmers, and can even hide from predators underwater with only their nostrils (and maybe eyes) showing.

Right now, sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered. However, outside of protected areas, sitatunga are vulnerable to overhunting, as well as habitat loss when people drain and develop swamp land.

The new calf joins a thriving sitatunga herd of 12 animals, which can be found in two habitats along the boardwalk in the Zoo’s African Journey. 

This is the third calf for the adult male, Beau, who was transferred to the Maryland Zoo as recommended by the Sitatunga Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the health of the individual animal, as well as the long-term survival to help save animals from extinction.