San Diego Zoo Safari Park has welcomed a pair of Grevy’s zebra foals to their herd in the past two weeks with one being born just yesterday. The other was born on the 26th of February.
At just a day old they are already exploring their grassy habitat and sticking with the rest of the herd.
“Once they hit the ground, within a short period of time they are ready to run,” explained Jeff Gross, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Their main form of staying alive (in the wild) is actually being able to keep up with the herd, so the importance of being able to move about, move quickly, and stay close to mother who is very protective is very important.”
In the wild Grevy’s zebra population has fallen dramatically due to anthrax outbreaks. Now estimates place their population at just 2,250. San Diego Zoo Global is a member of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust which is an independent conservation organisation who is working to the preserve the population.
Luckily the zoo has a successful breeding program with 86 zebras born there in the past few years.
How does a young zebra find mum in the herd though? Just moments after birth they are able to memorise the mum’s unique stripe pattern which is like a human’s fingerprint. This process is known as imprinting. Grevy’s zebra has the thinnest stripes of any of the species. Their stripes run all the way around their back and down onto the belly.
Guests who attend the Safari Park will be able to meet the two youngsters on the Africa Tram Ride. This guided tour leads you into their habitat allowing you to connect with these animals on a closer level.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park/ Ken Bohn