Blog: Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Kirk's dik-dik Calf Born at Brookfield Zoo

Kirk's dik-dik at Brookfield Zoo

A male Kirk’s dik-dik was born on June 4, 2018, at Brookfield Zoo, weighing about 1.5 pounds. The Kirk's dik-kik is one of the world’s smallest antelope species.

Based on the recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Kirk’s dik-dik Species Survival Plan, the calf is being handreared by animal care staff. Currently, the calf is given a milk bottle four to five times a day as well as chopped hay. He will soon be introduced to new diet items such as grain and produce. The month-old calf has access to an outdoor habitat prior to the zoo opening. However, guests can see an adult pair during regular zoo hours. Once full grown he will weigh approximately 12 to 14 pounds and measure 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.

Kirk's dik-dik at Brookfield Zoo

These small antelopes vary in color depending on their habitat. They can be identified best by their large, striking, dark eyes that are each surrounded by a white ring. Interestingly, over time, dik-diks have developed a self-cooling mechanism within their snouts that keeps them from overheating in extreme temperatures. This system also helps minimize their need for water. Yet, dik-diks in the wild are mostly nocturnal to avoid the heat of day and prevent unnecessary water loss.

Dik-diks are herbivorous mammals that 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, Kilimanjaro regions.

Currently, there are 33 dik-dik antelopes in 15 accredited North American zoos.

Posted: 7/9/2018 3:29:35 PM by Steven Pine


Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

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