Posted July 2019
The Milwaukee County Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a male waterbuck calf! Hershey was born April 12 to mother Hannah, who was pregnant when she arrived at the Zoo from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park last fall. Hershey is developing as expected, and he and his mother, along with two other waterbuck also from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Elise and Natalie, are adjusting to the African Waterhole habitat.
Hershey was 29 pounds at birth, was 50 pounds two weeks later, and continues to gain weight. Zookeepers describe Hershey as very brave, calm, and outgoing.
Waterbucks are a large species of antelope native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are typically around 4 feet tall and weigh between 350-660 pounds. Males and females are easily distinguishable; males are much larger than females and have curved horns.
Waterbucks have large, rounded ears and several white patches on their shaggy, brown-grey coats. Both sexes emit an unpleasant oil that is thought to deter predators and provide waterproofing. Waterbucks are herbivores, mostly feeding on different types of grasses and vegetation. Their predators include hyenas, lions, and leopards, and sometimes crocodiles, African hunting dogs, and cheetahs.
The IUCN lists the waterbuck status as Of Least Concern. Their biggest threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, as humans continue to use their habitat for new roads, settlements, and farming fields.
The best time to see Hershey and the other waterbucks is in the morning before 11 a.m., as zookeepers are gradually introducing them to their habitat. Once they become more comfortable, they will spend more time on exhibit.