A BABY antelope weighing little more than a bag of sugar is being hand-reared by a keeper from Chester Zoo.
Kirk’s dik-dik antelope Aluna stands just 22 centimetres (9ins) tall and was taken in by curator of mammals Tim Rowlands when she failed to bond with her mother.
Tim stepped into the ‘parent’ role and took the tiny new arrival to his home in Upton where he bottle feeds Aluna milk five times a day. He will give the youngster a helping hand until she is old enough to tuck into a diet of buds, shoots and fruit on her own.
Tim said: “Our little one is growing stronger and stronger by the day and, all being well, it shouldn’t be too long until she’ll be able to really hold her own.
“For the time being though her feed times are staggered through the day and she has her first bottle in my living room at home at about 7am.
“I then put her into the car and bring her to work where she has another three feeds in my office. Finally, her last one is at 10pm back at my home.
“She’s already pretty quick on her feet and gives us quite the runaround in the office.
“That’s why we’ve called her Aluna which means ‘come here’ in Swahili. It’s rather apt.”
Native to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia, the Kirk’s dik-dik gets its name from the noise it makes when running for cover.
They can live for up to 10 years and reach a maximum height of just 40 cms (16ins), making it one of the smallest antelope species in the world.