Chester Zoo 20-centimetre tall antelope is rejected by its mother

Neo, a baby Kirk's dik-dik antelope is learning to walk on his own four feet with the help of sister Aluna

Heather Saul
Tuesday 19 November 2013 18:01

A baby Kirk's dik-dik, one of the smallest species of antelope in the world, is having to rely on his sister for care after the tiny creature was rejected by his mother at Chester Zoo.

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Baby Neo, who is just 20cm tall and weighs 1.3kg, is being hand-reared by the staff at the zoo. Luckily for the five-week-old dik-dik , eight-month-old sister Aluna is giving him a helping-hand after she was also rejected by their mother.

Keeper Claire McPhee told the Chester Chronicle: “Dik-dik mothers do not always take to their young and unfortunately Neo and his mum didn’t quite hit it off.

“But happily his not-so-big sister Aluna - who herself didn’t manage to bond with her mum - is drawing on her own experiences and is being a real calming influence on him.

"They spend lots and lots of time in each other’s company and she’s really helping with his development in his crucial early days."

Neo will only ever reach 70cm in height and weigh 7kg even when fully grown. The dik-dik species are native to eastern and southwestern Africa and typically stay closely paired with other antelopes. The shy creatures often spend most of their time hiding in bushland.

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