Zoo’s rare gazelle calf nursed by keeper after being abandoned by its mother

A newborn Thomson's gazelle has been nursed back to health by a senior keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after it was abandoned by its mother
A newborn Thomson's gazelle has been nursed back to health by a senior keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after it was abandoned by its mother

A newborn Thomson’s gazelle had to be taken home and nursed back to health by a senior keeper at nearby ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after it was abandoned by its mother.

Little Larry, who was born on October 9, is one of only four Thomson’s gazelles in the UK – all of which live at Whipsnade.

After the little gazelle was born, keepers noticed that his mum – who has no other young – was not returning to feed him, and grew concerned for his survival.

Senior staff-members at the zoo were forced to make the difficult decision to step in and hand-rear Larry, requiring team leader Mark Holden to bottle-feed the calf with goat milk five times a day and at regular intervals during the night.

Mark said: “It’s always a last resort to separate a calf from the group, but little Larry was getting very weak and needed our help.

“As soon as we got some milk into him he started to improve. We named him Lazarus – Larry for short – because for a moment there we really didn’t think he was going to pull through.

“We put a sky kennel in our lounge for him and he quickly settled into a routine. When he’d had his milk and a little walk-about, he’d just take himself back off to bed.

“It was a little tricky having Larry in the house. We had to keep an eye on him after each feed and get ready with a towel in case he started to urinate.

After two weeks, Larry was healthy enough to be reunited with his own kind.

Mark reports he is now doing well, putting on weight and enjoying eating grass and hay.