New features at the Orana animal park

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Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch has a few new arrivals – five young African antelopes, known as nyala.

These are the first nyala, which are antelopes native to southern Africa, that Orana has ever owned. Distinguished by a short, fluffy tail and beautiful orange coats with white stripes, the elegant African antelopes attract the attention of Orana staff.

The two males and three females, aged 1 to 4, were transferred from Wellington Zoo last week. Females will be exhibited for the first time from 11am Thursday.

“It is a privilege for us to join the regional breeding program for these amazing animals,” said Stewart Taylor, Chief Ungulate Custodian.

“Orana plays a key role in maintaining genetically healthy sustainable programs, especially for hoof species, being New Zealand’s only open zoo.

“The Nyala have settled in well, although they could have been better received in Christchurch given the terribly wet weather over the weekend.

“The girls are very nice and approach the guards with curiosity while the boys are more reserved.”

Nyala are antelopes with spiral horns, but only males have horns that can exceed 80 cm and a yellow tip.

“Our boys are young with small horns, so we will be watching with interest the development of their beautiful horns.

“Males are segregated from females and housed out of show for the time being.”

The main threats to the nyala are poaching and habitat loss.

They are less than 30,000 in the wild and the majority of the population is protected in national parks in sanctuaries in southern Africa.

“I’m sure visitors will enjoy meeting these amazing animals and hopefully over time they produce a lot of young,” Taylor said.


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