Meet Croissant, Streusel and Sponge – Wild Place Project’s newest, mini residents.
The threesome arrived at the attraction a few days ago and are said to be settling in well after their transfers from France, Berlin and the Cotswolds.
The Kirk’s dik-diks are one of the smallest antelopes in the world and have been named by their keepers after delicacies originating from the countries they previously resided in.
Croissant is a two-year-old male, from Amneville in France; Streusel, a 21-month-old female from Zoo Berlin, and the third female, who is seven-months-old, is called Sponge. Sponge arrived at Wild Place Project from Cotswold Wildlife Park.
Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place Project, said: “We are all extremely excited to be able to house and care for Kirk’s dik-diks.
“These beautiful creatures have many amazing physical characteristics. Their eyes, which are surprisingly large in relation to their size, provide more than just sight. Preorbital glands appear as a black spot below the inside corner of each of their eyes and these glands produce a dark, sticky secretion used to scent-mark their territories.
“Dik-diks have also evolved a cooling mechanism within their snouts that stops them from overheating, even in extreme temperatures of up to 37° C. This also helps minimise their need for water.”
Kirk’s dik-diks occur in eastern and southern Africa and the unusual name for the species is derived from their call.
If they are discovered by a predator they run in swift, zigzag like patterns until they reach refuge. It is during this flight that they emit trumpet-like ‘zik-zik’ calls to raise an alarm or harass predators and publicise the presence of a mated pair.
When fully-grown dik-diks grow to an average height of 40cm and usually weigh between 4-5kg.
Guests to Wild Place Project can visit the new trio in the attraction’s Walled Garden exhibit, alongside meerkats and exotic birds.
Visitors to Wild Place Project can see animals from Madagascar, east Africa and the Congo and find out how they are helping to conserve them in the wild. Guests can also take a stroll in the woods, relax in the Tower Meadow or have fun in the undercover Fun Fort.