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Topeka Zoo welcomes rare species to Giraffe and Friends exhibit

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center said it will welcome three new animals as part of its giraffe exhibit expansion.

The Topeka Zoo said it will open its new Giraffe and Friends on March 10 and showcase three new antelope that recently arrived in the capital. These include Monty the Bontebok and two Thomson’s gazelles, Tsavo and Haraka. These animals are currently in quarantine and are being prepared for their introduction to their new home. They will be joined by the resident giraffe, Sergeant Peppers, Hope and Liz, along with Karen the ostrich who arrived in early February.

“We are very excited to have the antelopes here, but calm is the key word around the barn right now,” said Wrylie Guffey, Topeka Zoo Animal Curator. “Working with hooves, or antelopes, can be a delicate process as they are prey animals in the wild. We are currently focusing on getting Monty, Tsavo and Haraka used to the noises we make so they don’t get scared when they see or hear us.”

The residents of Giraffe and Friends will slowly be introduced to their new home in stages. This acclimatization process will take into account the Kansas climate and the specific needs of each animal and species, according to the zoo.

Guests can expect to see gradual introductions starting in March with more animals arriving later this year to complete the habitat, according to the Topeka Zoo. The goal is to create a habitat with an exciting representation of African wildlife in one area: reticulated giraffe, ostrich, bontebok, Thomson’s gazelle, lesser kudu and gray crowned crane.

The bontebok is a rare species of antelope native to South Africa, according to the Topeka Zoo. Its population is declining in the wild due to habitat loss and hunting.

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