Big Surprise for our Safari Train Riders

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Big Surprise for our Safari Train Riders

It was 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, April 11th, and another fun-filled ride on the Safari Train had just begun.  Our guests were enjoying the 20 minute guided tour of various hoofstock, birds and monkeys when we rounded the turn that encountered our Thomson’s gazelle herd.  To our surprise, a mother Thomson’s gazelle, Penelope, was giving birth to her fawn.  Only the luckiest zoo-goers ever experience this miraculous event – especially since a majority of births happen during the evening hours.  We watched in awe as I stopped the train for a few moments, and then we continued on our way to give them some privacy.  Penelope finished giving birth before the next group of train riders approached, and we are happy to report that both mom and baby are doing well.  The baby is female and has been named Judy.  She has a sweet personality and already discovered the joys of playing and prancing about.  With a gestation of only 5-6 months, the Thomson’s gazelle is one of just a few bovid species that can give birth twice in a year, rather than once.  Judy was up and walking around on her first day, and she will start eating hay and grain within her first month of life.  She’ll be fully weaned at around three months old and reach maturity at around one year.  We are so excited to be able to contribute to the captive population of Thomson’s gazelles.  Maybe the next time you visit the Metro Richmond Zoo, you’ll have your own amazing tale to tell.

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