Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire have shared the first images of a newborn Przewalski’s foal – a species once declared Extinct in the Wild - born during the nationwide lockdown at the UK’s largest zoo.
The female foal was born to mum Charlotte and dad Nikki on the 13 April. Mum was at first naturally protective of her new youngster and kept her hidden away, out of view of zookeepers who were eager to get a proper look at the new arrival.
An Endangered wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia, the Przewalski’s horse is known in Mongolia as Tahki, meaning spirit. Once classified as Extinct in the Wild, the Przewalski’s horse was reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia, thanks to conservation breeding efforts by organisations including ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Team leader at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Mark Holden said: “The birth of a Przewalski’s foal is a real cause for celebration – they’re considered to be the last remaining truly wild horse in the world, and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is proud to be part of their conservation success story.
“This is the first female we’ve had born in a little while at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, as the last three foals were boys, so we’re hoping to ask our colleagues in Mongolia to help us choose a name!”
Zookeepers say that now mum has loosened her watch on the youngster, she can often be seen racing around the paddock.
Mark adds: “It’s really sad that we can’t share our excitement with visitors right now, but the birth of this endangered foal is another example of the incredibly important work we do; and why we need support. If you can, please help us by visiting our website – every donation helps.”