A rare zebra foal has been born at Chester Zoo .
The Grevy’s zebra foal, a species highly endangered in the wild, arrived in the early hours of yesterday morning (Monday, August 15) to mum Florence and dad, Mac.
Keepers are yet to determine the sex of new arrival and so a name has not yet been chosen.
Experts estimate that as few as 1,900 Grevy’s zebra now remain with the species listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
They are the largest of the world’s three zebra species and are found only in isolated populations in Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.
Assistant curator of mammals at the zoo Nick Davis said: “The new foal was up and standing within an hour. It then had one or two little stumbles as it got used to running around on its long legs but now it’s looking really strong. It’s currently sporting brown stripes but eventually they’ll turn black as the foal matures.
“Our new arrival is a very important and welcome addition to the endangered species breeding programme. Sadly, Grevy’s zebra numbers have declined more than 85% in the last 30 years and continue to do so across the African continent. They face a very real threat of extinction and so it’s important that we maintain a healthy population of Grevy’s zebra in European zoos to help ensure their long-term survival.”
The decline of the Grevy’s zebra is attributed to a range of factors including a reduction of water sources, habitat loss, hunting and disease. The species has already become disappeared across most of its range and is already extinct in Somalia and Sudan.
Florence’s new arrival takes the total number of Grevy’s zebra at the zoo to five and is the first foal to be sired by the zoo’s resident male, Mac.
Grevy’s zebra facts
· Scientific name: Equus grevyi
· The foal was born in the early hours of Monday 15 August to mum, Florence and dad, Mac.
· The Grevy’s zebra is also known as the imperial zebra - the largest species in the Equidae (horse) family
· Today, the species is only found in small and isolated populations in Ethiopia and Northern Kenya
· Current estimates put the total population of Grevy’s Zebra remaining in the wild at approximately 1,966 to 2,447
· According to the African Wildlife Foundation, there are half as many of these zebras today as there were just 20 years ago
· Of the world’s remaining three species of zebra, the Grevy’s zebra is the largest and also the most endangered in the wild.