Wed, April 01

An antelope is born

Courtesy photo

AT 1-day-old, Tanzania weighed in at 35 pounds. She is the first birth at Out of Africa.

The baby, female sable antelope, was born Dec. 3, 1:15 p.m., at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde under the supervision of her animal and human friends. A straw bale barn had been prepared for Savuti, her mother, so she could be separated from the giraffe, zebra and other hoofed animals in Out of Africa’s Serengeti habitat.

As the birth approached and her contractions quickened, Park animal handlers gathered, prepared to assist if needed. Within 20 minutes the calf began to emerge. At first, she lay motionless on the ground while Savuti pirouetted around and chewed off the embryonic sack. Soon, little Tanzania drew her first breath of Verde Valley air.

An hour later, mom and another Sable antelope helped the little one struggle to standing on wobbly legs while the Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest came to inspect and admire the new arrival.

At one day old, Tanzania weighed in at a strong, healthy 35 pounds in the wild, they live about 16 years but can live as long as 20 years in facilities where their age doesn’t make them more vulnerable to predators. Both males and females can be fierce fighters and use their long curved horns to battle. They can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Despite their speed, stature and strength, sable antelope still fall prey to African wild dogs, lions, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles and humans.

In the days since her birth, Tanzania has won the heart of 4-year-old Spirit, a male zebra who has become infatuated and stands near her, doting as she romps.

Last month, two of the Park’s big cats, Saginaw and Eclipse were brought into their new large habitat. This week, Miya, a jaguar, Pristine, an Amur leopard and Chism, a mountain lion were moved to spacious new habitats and more are being built. Out of Africa Wildlife Park officials continue to work towards developing the Village area of the Park and the infrastructure that will return the Park to normal operations, but a pressing priority has been to get the animals back into surroundings where they can once again flourish and enjoy a sense of freedom and space.

Plans to open to the public are still tentative but projected dates for the three phases respectively will be:

• Early 2005: The Serengeti Excursions - Hummer and Unimog tours that bring guests close up to the hoofed animals of Africa and face to face with Pilgrim and Kibo, the Park’s Reticulated Giraffe. From the Serengeti, visitors will be able to see three prides of lions in their hillside habitats.

• Spring 2005: Tiger Splash!

• Fall 2005: Grand Opening

For updates on activities and progress at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, visit the Web site at or call (928) 567-2840.

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