Rare zebra born at British zoo
The foal is a member of the Grevy’s zebra species which is rarer than the black rhino.
A rare zebra foal born at a British zoo has taken its first steps.
The newborn Grevy’s zebra has ventured into the fields at Marwell Zoo, Hampshire, after it was born on September 26.
The species is extremely rare, with fewer left in the wild than black rhino.
The foal was born to second-time mother Nafeesa, but will not be named until its gender has been confirmed during official health checks.
Marwell’s conservation biologist Tanya Langenhorst, said: “It’s so lovely to see the foal taking its very first foray out into the field and running around with mum and the other females.
“Often people don’t realise how rare this particular species of zebra is.
“There are fewer Grevy’s zebra left in the wild than black rhino, so we are incredibly lucky to see them here at Marwell.”
Marwell Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have all three species of zebra; plains zebra, mountain zebra and Grevy’s zebra.
Grevy’s are easily identifiable by their large round ears and thin, narrow stripes, although the foal currently has fluffy ears and brown stripes that will eventually turn black.
Grevy’s zebra is the most endangered of the three species, with fewer than 3,000 individuals left in the wild.
They are found in small and isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Ms Langenhorst explained that the species was under threat from an ongoing drought in Kenya and the zoo owners, Marwell Wildlife, was buying 500 bales of hay and transferring them to affected areas.
She said: “The rains have failed repeatedly, forage has disappeared in many areas and rivers are drying up.
“This means very long trips between grazing and water sources.
“Lactating females and foals are particularly at risk and affected by the prolonged drought, as the mothers need to drink daily to provide milk, but the foals are not strong enough for the extra-long walks and can die of either starvation or from the strenuous trips.”
For more information and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/grevyszebra.