Zoo Animals


Eastern white-bearded wildebeest

Connochates taurinus albojubatus

At the Detroit Zoo

Male eastern white-bearded wildebeests Lenny and Jeffrey, both born in July 2017, arrived at the Detroit Zoo in June 2018. They are the first wildebeests to live at the Zoo since 1939, so modern-day zoogoers are experiencing wildebeests for the first time.  Lenny appears to be the more curious of the two and enjoys exploring his habitat. Jeffrey, on the other hand, is shy and tends to follow what Lenny does most of the time. Lenny and Jeffrey seem to enjoy interacting with each other and can be seen following the peafowl around their habitat or relaxing under a shady tree. The wildebeests live with the zebras in their African Grasslands habitat.


The wildebeest, also called a gnu (pronounced “new”), is a type of African antelope and a subspecies of the blue wildebeest. They are known for their white beard, slivery-blue coat, long black tail and cow-like horns.

Fun Facts

  • Wildebeests tend to be noisy; their sounds include moans and explosive snorts.

  • 80 to 90 percent of calves are born within a two-to-three-week period.

  • Wildebeests migrate close to 1,000 miles each year.