Reid Park Zoo Welcomes Pair of Blue Duikers

They may be small in size, but two new additions to Reid Park Zoo are big on charm.

A pair of male and female blue duikers (pronounced dye-kers) – a tiny antelope native to the forests of central, western and southern Africa — are the first of their species at the Zoo and have arrived as part of a breeding recommendation from their Species Survival Plan.

“We are excited to have blue duikers at the Zoo and to help tell their story,” said Adam Ramsey, Zoo Animal Care Manager. “This species is unlike any other animals currently at Reid Park Zoo and we look forward to guests getting to know these small, spritely antelopes.”

Marigold (the larger female) is 10 months old and from the Maryland Zoo, and Viazi (the smaller 2 year-old male) is from the San Antonio Zoo. Ramsey says the pair has been bonding well since arriving and have become quite close.

“The male was a bit shy at first, so the animal care team has been working to slowly help them get adjusted to their new home. To see those adorable little faces and know that they represent important conservation work to help sustain their species is uplifting,” he says.

The word duiker means “dive,” in the Afrikaans language, which refers to their habit of diving into bushes to evade predators.

Fully grown, duikers reach only about a foot tall and weigh seven to ten pounds. They spend most of their day foraging for fruits and are known to scavenge food dropped from birds and primates they follow. In fact, their diet is so rich in moisture they are one of the few species that can survive without water. While blue duikers are currently not classified as threatened or endangered, their population is affected by over-hunting and loss of habitat.

Guests can spot the blue duikers in the habitat that they share with the Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs. While the blue duikers adjust to their new home they will at times be behind-the-scenes and unviewable by guests. The duikers are more likely to be on habitat and visible to guests in the mornings, from 8 to 10:30 a.m.