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Baby Wildebeest at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

July 9, 2014 - A brand new baby wildebeest was born Wednesday morning at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Lisa Gehlhausen, a zookeeper, talks about the birth.

Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
The new baby wildebeest is nuzzled by its mother, left, in the African Journey exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on Wednesday. The calf was born Wednesday morning.

Wildebeest baby makes debut on Internet

FORT WAYNE -- Zoo-goers who found themselves in the African Savannah on Wednesday morning were treated to a little bonus not included on the regular ticket price.

A wildebeest went into labor and gave birth to calf as several guests took pictures and shot video.

All of which were quickly uploaded to the internet.

“We were scooped by people on our own Facebook page,” said Cheryl Piropato, a Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo spokeswoman.

Zoo keepers and the veterinary staff were aware of the pregnancy but could not pinpoint a due date.

The calf’s gender has yet to be determined.

But it was walking on its own soon after coming out of the womb at 10:08 a.m. and began nursing.

Zebras in the exhibit were put away in the zoo’s barn to allow the calf to adjust to life on the pasture.

Wildebeest births at the zoo are not all that uncommon, according to Piropato.

The calf is the zoo’s fourth wildebeest, she said. There are three females currently residing there.

A male wildebeest which had stayed at the zoo for about a month or so previously is the animal that sired the calf.

That wildebeest, though, was suffering from terminal cancer and has since passed away, Piropato said.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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