NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Meet Shiner! He’s a 1-month-old bontebok and was just recently let out onto Nashville Zoo’s Africa Field Exhibit after spending the first several weeks of his life in the hoofstock barn getting stronger.

Shiner shares the African field with zebras, an ostrich, Eland, and other antelope species.

“So, most of the animals on the field will notice, but they don’t really care. They might go over and sniff him or something like that. They just, they’ll take just like, ‘We see you, but you’re fine’. The only animals that really care are the zebra, and for some reason as soon as there’s a baby out here, they want to chase it, and then it becomes a game because the baby runs because zebra are big and they are little. So, they run and then the zebra are like, ‘This is a fun game’.  So, the longer they run, the more they chase them,” said Nashville Zoo Hoofstock Keeper Brittany Blocker.

However, within a day or two, the animals all got used to Shiner, but staff members did have to keep an eye on the ostrich, though.

“Our male ostrich is actually the most dangerous animal out here. So, we wait to put him out last, but you can see he doesn’t really care about much; he’s just kind of chilling,” Blocker said.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about bontebok, who are native to South Africa, is that they were almost extinct at one time due to hunting.

“They actually were down to only 17 individuals at one point, and there was a farmer that was able to corral them into one pen and breed them,” Blocker said. “So now, there are over 3,000 of them, but they all are from those 17 individuals. That’s all that was left. They had been hunted all the way down to 17.”

Nashville Zoo works with other accredited facilities that participate in the bontebok breeding program to help ensure genetically diverse populations amongst this species in human care.

Shiner is the third bontebok born at Nashville Zoo.