Bontebok Calf Makes Debut at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth and debut of Shiner, a one-month-old male bontebok calf.

Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth and debut of Shiner, a one-month-old male bontebok calf. Shiner was born on July 3, weighing in at 18 pounds to second-time mom and dad, Eclair and Ibunzi.

The Zoo's hoofstock team reported that Shiner was born while their team was on lunch break. The team returned to check on Eclair after lunch and, to their surprise, found a healthy calf in the corner of the stall. In the wild, bontebok typically give birth at dawn to reduce predation, so a midday birth was special and unexpected. Nashville Zoo hoofstock keeper Morgan Fontenot said, "Eclair is a pro mom, and we watched from afar as she nursed and cared for her baby without needing any assistance."

Shiner is Nashville Zoo's third successful bontebok birth since 2017 bringing the total number of bontebok in the Zoo's care to three. Eclair and Shiner are doing great and can both be seen in their mixed-species habitat on the Zoo's Africa Field habitat. Shiner will stay at Nashville Zoo until he is old enough to travel to another facility to be paired with a female from a different genetic line. Bontebok are considered vulnerable to extinction due to urban development according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Nashville Zoo works with other AZA-accredited facilities that participate in the bontebok breeding program to help ensure genetically diverse populations amongst this species in human care.

Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) are native to the grasslands of South Africa. They are a medium-sized antelope with elegant spiraling horns and a notable white strip that runs down the center of the face. In the wild, they feed on short grasses and plants on the open savanna. Bontebok are diurnal feeders meaning they will graze at dawn and dusk and rest during the day.

Nashville Zoo donates to various organizations that support the conservation of species in Africa including International Rhino Foundation and Vulpro, an organization dedicated to saving vultures in the wild. To learn more about Nashville Zoo's conservation efforts, visit

About Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization celebrating 25 years at Grassmere. The Zoo is an accredited member of the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, exemplifying the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. Nashville Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives in our backyard as well as around the world. With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors, the Zoo is ranked the number one tourist attraction in Middle Tennessee and welcomes more than one million guests annually. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike just six miles south of downtown. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit