Last month, the Smithsonian's National Zoo celebrated the birth of its sprightly male dama gazelle calf, born Sept. 4 to mother Fahima. Five weeks later, three-year-old Zafirah gave birth to a female calf in the early morning Oct. 13, bringing the Zoo's dama gazelle herd to seven individuals. Raul, an eight-year-old male, sired both calves.
The 14-day-old female made her first public appearance on Wednesday at the Cheetah Conservation Station's mixed species exhibit, which houses dama gazelles, Ruppell's griffon vultures and two male scimitar-horned oryx. Both she and her half-brother delighted visitors with a swift race around the yard followed by stotting--a bouncing gait in which the gazelles lift all four feet off of the ground. The calf is the first born to Zafirah and the third for Raul.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the dama gazelle as critically endangered. It is estimated that fewer than 500 remain in the wild and are under constant threat due to hunting and poaching.