Visitors to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire were recently treated to the sight of a rare zebra foal being born.
The endangered Grevy’s zebra mare gave birth to a healthy foal at the zoo’s Wild Explorers paddock opposite Marwell’s Grade 1 listed hall in front of onlookers.
A statement from the zoo said keepers carefully monitored the zebra from a distance and answered questions from guests, while the mare, a first-time mother called Ellen, gave birth in just 30 minutes.
Both mare and foal, whose name and gender are to be confirmed, are doing well.
“We knew Ellen was soon to be expecting so we have been monitoring her and allowing her access to the paddock and the indoor area,” said the zoo’s Hoofstock team leader Tim Rowlands.
“Zebra normally like to do their own thing and take themselves away, so giving birth in the middle of the afternoon in front of a crowd of guests isn’t common, but she wasn’t concerned by the interest and it was a very smooth delivery with the healthy foal arriving in around half an hour.
“The foal is enjoying exploring, though is still staying close to its mother, who is the dominant female of the herd and is being very protective.”
The Grevy’s zebra is one of Africa’s rarest large mammals, with fewer than 3,000 individuals left in the wild.
They are found in small and isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
The latest arrival increases Marwell’s total numbers of Grevy’s zebra to six.
Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife, which owns and operates Marwell Zoo, has helped to create a national conservation strategy for the species in Kenya and is one of the active members of the Grevy’s Zebra Technical Committee, which guides and implements conservation action in the country.
Marwell manages the International Studbook and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for Grevy’s zebra and encourage participants to support their conservation initiatives in Kenya.
Images by PhotosByGemma