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DuPage County

Brookfield Zoo celebrates birth of tiny antelope

BROOKFIELD – A tiny African antelope known as a Kirk’s dik-dik was born at Brookfield Zoo on Valentine’s Day.

The male calf named Valentino weighed just more than 23 ounces.

He is the second successful birth for mom Chloe and the first for Captain, the 6-year-old sire, a news release stated.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan recommends that calves of the species be hand-reared to ensure a calm demeanor as adults.

Valentino began life by receiving a bottle of milk formula every four hours. At a week old, he was introduced to solid foods. Within the first three weeks, he is expected to double his weight, and to triple it at 5 weeks old. Once full grown, he will weigh about 12 to 14 pounds and measure 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.

Kirk’s dik-diks are one of the smallest antelopes in the world. Their large, dark eyes are each surrounded by a white ring, which identifies them best. Dik-diks developed a self-cooling mechanism within their snouts that keeps them from overheating in extreme temperatures. The system also helps minimize their need for water. In the wild, they are mostly nocturnal.

The herbivorous mammals primarily eat foliage, shoots and berries, which is where they consume their water. They can live in both dense forests and open plains and are found throughout Africa, particularly in the Kenyan, Namibian, Tanzanian, South African, Kazungula and Kilimanjaro regions.

The species is listed as least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List thanks to its widespread distribution and presence in a number of protected areas. Its population is stable throughout much of its range. Currently, there are 32 dik-dik antelopes in 17 North American zoos.

To learn more about Brookfield Zoo and its attractions, visit CZS.org. Open every day of the year, the zoo is at 8400 31st St. in Brookfield.

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