Sacramento Zoo loses Victoria the gentle African antelope

Victoria the bongo antelope, a sweet-natured resident of the Sacramento Zoo for 17 years, has died.

The eastern bongo, who calved six little ones during her lifetime, was admired: gentle to her keepers, an attentive mother and a delight to zoo visitors “allowing children and adults to feed her treats while they learned about the species,” said zookeeper Lindsey Moseanko.

The eastern bongo, a large African forest antelope native to Kenya, has white body stripes and two spiral horns. Eastern bongos are considered critically endangered due to loss of habitat caused by spreading civilization.

The Sacramento Zoo participates in a program to manage the bongo. One of Victoria’s calves, Binti, born in 2001, was sent to Kenya as part of a re-introduction program for the species.

According to a zoo press release, Victoria suffered from arthritis for several years. On Tuesday, she became more lame and her appetite lagged.

On Thursday she was sedated and veterinarians conducted a full exam, collected a blood sample and administered antibiotics. Unfortunately, Victoria, born 18 years ago at the San Diego Zoo, died during the night on Friday.

Eastern bongo antelope usually live into their late teens in captivity and around 10 years old in the wild. A necropsy will be conducted by the University of California, Davis.