Stunning in stripes
Wednesday 21 September 2005
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is celebrating following the successful birth of a female Grevy's zebra.
The foal was born on 3rd September to mother Paula, who was also born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in 1995.
Standing at one metre tall, the foal has not yet worked out how to use her legs properly, however she does have a tendency for untimely energetic spurts and can sometimes be seen chasing around the paddock.
The new arrival is the 25th foal to be bred at Whipsnade and this successful birth is vitally important for the continued achievement of the co-ordinated international breeding programme for Grevy's zebra.
There are currently 580 individuals in zoos all over the world whilst the population in the wild has declined dramatically over the last 20 years due to habitat loss, drought and poaching, resulting in only an estimated 2–3,000 animals remaining in the wild.
Generally, only one foal is born to a female after a gestation period of thirteen months and when born, the young zebra has brown stripes and a mane which stretches from the shoulder to the tail.
The foal can stand on its feet within one hour of its birth and can run with the herd after only a few hours - this gives it a much better chance of escaping from predators, usually lions.
The Grevy's zebra is the larger of the three zebra species and is mainly found in the semi arid grasslands of northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Image: John O'Reilly