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Press Release

Two new species of antelopes join giraffes in savanna habitat at the Zoo

November 12, 2010. The El Paso Zoo Passport to Africa habitat has eight new antelope living in the northern savanna area of the Africa exhibit. Joining the giraffe herd are a pair of greater kudu and a family of Thomson's gazelles.

The Zoo's Director Steve Marshall said "multi-species exhibits like the Africa savanna come together nicely when you put animals together that live in the same habitat in the wild. The process of getting the animals used to each can take months depending on the ages of the animals and their different personalities.\"



The color and markings of the greater kudu help it to hide from predators

Greater kudus prefer thick, brushy areas where their colors and markings help them to be well camouflaged from predators as they feed on the leaves and shoots of low growing woody trees and shrubs.

Kudus grow beautiful long and spiraled horns that can reach up to 72 inches in length. These horns can sometimes mean the death of the kudu when males fight each other for females and the horns interlock leading to the death of both animals.

The large ears of a kudu help it to better hear predators like lions and wild dogs so that they can move away from approaching danger.

Male kudus can weigh up to 700 pounds while females are noticeably smaller weighing between 265-463 pounds. Only the males grow long/spiral horns.


Thomson's gazelles can leap ten feet into the air!

Often called "Tommies", the Thomson's gazelle needs to be fast and agile to escape predators like the cheetah. Their muscular and agile bodies give them the ability to leap high into the air and jump up to 30 feet in a single bound.

This species of antelope is one of the most abundant in East Africa's Serengeti ecosystem where in 2003 the population was estimated to exceed 170,000.

Because they are so abundant they are eaten by many species of predators including lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs. Smaller predators like serval cats, jackals, baboons, eagles, and pythons will prey upon baby gazelles.

The El Paso Zoo is a thirty five-acre home to about 240 species of animals. Approximately 500 mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, 100 fish and 250 invertebrates live in a variety of natural habitat exhibits including a Reptile House, South American Pavilion, Americas Aviary, Cisneros Paraje, Birds of Prey, Forest Atrium, Asian Grasslands and an Elephant Complex. The El Paso Zoo is a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation.


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