There’s a gorgeous new face at Adelaide Zoo: Willow the adorable Blackbuck calf!
Born on 6 November last year, two-month-old Willow is busy learning the business of being a Blackbuck and delighting keepers with her playful antics.
As a growing bub, Willow absolutely loves meal times and is currently being bottle-fed specialised ungulate milk three times a day.
Some of her other favourite treats include hackberry and mulberry leaves. Fig leaves are proving a little more difficult, but the tiny calf is growing fast and quickly learning how to tear the leaves apart in exactly the right way!
Willow was born into the 40-strong Blackbuck herd at Monarto Zoo but, sadly, the calf’s mum didn’t take well to motherhood and Willow was rejected.
Quickly, staff made the decision to transfer the little one to Adelaide Zoo where she could be cared for and handraised by our dedicated Children’s Zoo keepers.
Blackbuck are very social animals, and Willow’s budding friendship with 13-year-old fallow deer Blitzen proves that close companions aren’t always limited to the same species!
She also loves playing with her keepers, frequently nibbling their faces and hair, as well as practicing jumping high into the air with them – a signature behaviour of her species known as ‘pronking’.
Sadly, Blackbuck in the wild are facing increasing destruction of their habitat for agricultural purposes, and are illegally hunted for their spectacular sweeping horns.
As a conservation charity, Zoos SA is proud to be securing a future for the species and has bred over 300 Blackbuck at Monarto Zoo.
Right now, Willow is growing up in the comfort of a behind the scenes nursery, but once she’s bigger you’ll be able to come and say hello to her in Children’s Zoo.