Rare antelope calf born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire

  • WATCH the calf's first wobbly steps (Credit: Marwell Zoo).

Wildlife teams are celebrating the arrival of a rare antelope calf at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.

The newest arrival was on its feet and bonding with its mother Violet within hours of being born following a seven-month gestation.

After taking its first wobbly steps in the sitatunga paddock it was clearly enjoying the spring sunshine.

The conservation park has called it "a very proud moment" for the team.

Mother grooms her newborn sitatunga calf. Credit: Marwell Zoo

Senior Animal Keeper Adam Ford said: "After a seven-month gestation both the mum, Violet, and the calf seem to be doing well but it is still early days.

"As Violet has had a calf previously we have no doubt that she is going to be amazing.

“Keepers reported seeing the dad, Tumnus, also grooming the calf something that is not to uncommon but still nice to see that dad is also doing his duties and being attentive.

“It’s natural for the mum to leave the calf in long grass and keep returning throughout the day, so If you see the calf on its own it is perfectly natural.”

Parents bond with their new offspring in the Sitatunga paddock at Marwell Zoo. Credit: Marwell Zoo

The new calf may not be easy to spot as they are illusive creatures that tend to blend into their surroundings.

Female sitatunga are smaller than their male counterparts with chestnut-coloured coats.

Males start life the same chestnut colour as females but develop darker fur and spiralled horns that point backward as they grow older.

Their horns make it easier for them to navigate through dense vegetation which is important in the wild as they live in densely vegetated African swamps.