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Addax antelope born at Brookfield Zoo

November 12, 2009 10:52:44 AM PST
A tiny antelope is big news at Brookfield Zoo.Chad, a nine week old addax antelope, offers hope for an animal that is disappearing from the wilds of North Africa.

Chad doesn't know it but he is a very special animal. His survival gives the addax antelope population worldwide a big boost. There are only a few hundred addax in zoos. In their natural habitat they're almost gone. Chad, himself, is very lucky to be alive.

"He's a little bit different as an animal right now because we are bottle feeding him. When he was born he was a little bit weak and needed to be hospitalized so he was unable to stay with his mother," said Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals. "So the keepers, our veterinarian and nutritionist got together and developed a hand-rearing program for him."

The bottle feeding has paid off and Chad has gone from 15 pounds to 45 pounds in just nine weeks. The around-the-clock care has saved his life.

"I think if we hadn't intervened we probably would have lost him. So he is such an important animal in the captive population that we really went to extra measures to make sure he survived," said Daniels.

Chad is not living with the addax herd quite yet but he does get to spend time with mom speaking antelope talk through the habitat fence.

There are just 200 addax left in the wild. They are said to be critically endangered; the next step would be extinction. It's mostly because of hunters.

"Many people will hunt them just for trophies because they have such beautiful horns. Both the male and the female have three foot spiral horns when they are full adults. So most of the poaching that has gone on has been primarily for trophy hunting," said Daniels.

Chad will grow up here at Brookfield Zoo and someday his descendents will go back to protected areas in Africa. Perhaps to Chad, for which he was named.

Read more about the endangered species at czs.org.


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