Female Waterbuck, Kokopelli, Gives Birth Again


ATLANTA - Aug. 19, 2005 - Zoo Atlanta today confirmed female common waterbuck, Kokopelli, whose name was inherited from the ancient Native American fertility god, gave birth at 11:40 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. Delivery took place off exhibit inside the hoofstock barn. The waterbuck calf has not yet been named.

In early July, Zoo Atlanta staff began to notice signs of pregnancy, which include enlarged udders and swelling of her stomach. Shortly before 11 a.m. this morning, Zoo Atlanta keepers observed Kokopelli?s water break and repared for the delivery of her calf. Mother and her new offspring appear to be doing well. However, as with all animal births, the first few days are critical. Zoo Atlanta staff will focus its efforts on taking care of Kokopelli and her calf during this important time.

This birth marks the first time that a waterbuck has been both conceived and born at Zoo Atlanta, and brings the Zoo?s waterbuck herd to four. The waterbuck parents were donated to Zoo Atlanta in May 2004 by the Denver Zoological Gardens as part of the American Zoo and Aquarium's (AZA) Population Management Plan (PMP) for the species. The male, Arizona (age 3), was born on July 8, 2002 and the female, Kokopelli (age 4) was born July 29, 2001 in Denver. Mataka, their first offspring, was born on July 21, 2004 at Zoo Atlanta. The calf born this morning is the second offspring for Arizona and Kokopelli.

After the new calf's adjustment period, Zoo Atlanta plans to introduce the waterbuck group to the giraffe and zebras that are already on exhibit in the African Plains section of the Zoo. Once on exhibit, visitors will have an opportunity to view the new calf in one of the country?s premier multi-species free-range exhibits.

The five-acre African Plains habitat, which opened to the public in 1989, simulates the terrain of the East African savanna. Zoo Atlanta?s African Plains features lions, elephants, giraffe, black rhinos, bongos, yellow-backed duiker, Thompson gazelles and zebras. Additionally the habitat is home to African grassland birds including guinea fowl and crowned cranes.

Zoo Atlanta, an American Zoo & Aquarium (AZA) accredited institution, exhibits, interprets, studies and cares for wildlife in world-class environments. Zoo Atlanta prides itself on its mission to conserve biodiversity throughout the world, educate and entertain the public and contribute to the cultural life of the community. Zoo Atlanta is a smoke-free facility and is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. For more information call (404) 624-5600 or visit Zoo Atlanta's Web site at zooatlanta.org.