With the work now completed, the three females, accompanied by a new buck, have moved back into the enclosure, where they can now be seen by visitors.
Over the past few weeks, the gardening department has been working intensively on revamping the Nyala enclosure and adding some new greenery. The sand areas and planting spaces were dug out and refilled, making way for new fodder trees and places of retreat. A new rain gutter was also installed on the stable to prevent the floor from being washed away. With the work now completed, the three females, accompanied by a new buck, have moved back into the enclosure, where they can now be seen by visitors.During the renovation work, visitors to Hellabrunn Zoo were only able to catch a limited glimpse of the nyalas, next to the yaks. Now that they are back in their enclosure, animal lovers can look forward not only to the three females, but also a new buck. The new arrival Evan came to Hellabrunn from ZooParc de Beauval in France. At the sexually mature age of 1.5 years, he is expected to produce a few offspring.
Nyalas are native to Africa, where they live in groups of up to 30 individuals, led by a dominant buck. The females in the group often all give birth at the same time and form a crèche to protect their offspring from predators. The mothers take turns looking after the newborns, so that the rest of the group can go in search of food. They also support each other in nursing the group’s young: if a calf is thirsty, it can either drink from its own mother or from one of the other mothers.
Importance of renovating animal enclosures
“Animal enclosures need to be renovated on a regularly basis, especially the flooring substrates. What many visitors don't know is that the animal residents tend to put their enclosures to the test, robustly. But this is only natural. And it’s one of the many reasons why we need to carry out periodic maintenance at Hellabrunn Zoo," says zoo director Rasem Baban.
Above all, the flooring substrates must be designed in such a way that the animals can move around naturally and injuries are avoided. This also applies to the indoor facilities, where the floor must provide adequate support for the animals’ feet and be slip-resistant. In addition to renovating the flooring, places of retreat were created using newly-planted Benjes hedges - in preparation for the birth of new calves in the future - and the grass substrate was completely renewed. The design is rounded off by new plants and two fodder trees to create a cosy revamped enclosure.
Imposing bucks and hope for nyala offspring at Hellabrunn
The males can easily be distinguished from the females as only the former have horns. Despite their imposing appearance, bucks tend to avoid direct confrontation and instead try to intimidate their opponents with dominance displays. During these displays, they raise their white dorsal crest to make themselves as big as possible, which can make their silhouette appear up to 40 percent larger. A buck may also lower its head and point its yellow-tipped horns horizontally towards its opponent.
Carsten Zehrer, head of zoology at Hellabrunn Zoo, is delighted with new addition: "For a long time, the nyala was considered one of the rarest antelope species. Thanks to the implementation of strict conservation measures in recent decades, the population has seen a significant recovery. Nevertheless, it remains one of the lesser-researched species of bovid. We hope that our females and the buck will get along swimmingly and that our visitors will have some good news about offspring in the near future.”