To find Sparrow, the addra gazelle who’s the Maryland Zoo’s newest addition, head toward the African Watering Hole exhibit, keeping your eye out for spindly legs and baby-sized horns. (And don’t get distracted by the rhino, ostrich, or zebra who live nearby.)
Sparrow weighed a scant 10 pounds at birth, and is a success story in a number of ways. Addra gazelle, the largest and tallest gazelle out there, are hunted for horns and meat, and face near-extinction in their natural Saharan habitat. Sparrow’s birth was arranged by the Addra Gazelle Species Survival Plan, which was coordinated by the vaguely overlord-ish sounding Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is charged with coordinating breeding efforts in order to maximize genetic diversity and, in turn, ensure the long-term survival of captive, endangered species. Think of it as a breeding-centric internet dating service, perhaps.
Which may explain why Sparrow’s mother, a 10-year old gazelle named Pearl, has displayed something like the gazelle version of postpartum depression after her previous calves were born. “Pearl did not show interest in her two prior calves, so we were watching her interactions with this calf very closely,” said Mike McClure, the zoo’s general curator. We are very pleased that Pearl took appropriate interest in this calf and has been raising her behind the scenes. She is gaining weight and has grown enough to come on exhibit with the rest of the herd.”
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