Two endangered Grevy’s Zebra foals were born this September at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Female foal, Katie, was born to first-time mum Nafisa on September 10 and seemed delighted when a playmate joined her nine days later. Male foal, Kito, was born to mum Henna on September 19, and the two youngsters began tearing around their enclosure, much to the amusement of keepers and visitors.
Team Leader, Mark Holden said, “Like all zebras, when Katie and Kito were born they just seemed to be all ears and legs. It wasn’t long before they were bounding around together, running and jumping around at a huge pace, before eventually running out of steam and returning to their respective mums.”
“It’s all typical behaviour for young zebra foals, as they learn what their legs are for, then going back to mum for comfort. Katie and Kito are settling in really well, interacting with the rest of the group of Grevy’s Zebras here at the Zoo and exploring their surroundings.”
Grevy’s Zebras are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, and there are thought to be only around 2,600 Grevy’s Zebras left in the wild.
Mark Holden continued, “We’re very privileged at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo to have successfully bred this beautiful but endangered species for 29 years. Kito is our 36th Grevy’s Zebra foal born here as part of the European Endangered Species Programme.”
The Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi) has much narrower stripes than the other two zebras species, and it can live on grasses, which are too tough for cattle to eat or digest. Originally from Northern Kenya and Ethiopia, a whole herd can be seen at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. They are successfully bred at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
The EEP is a tool used by zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across Europe to manage conservation breeding programmes. Each species is managed by a studbook, and the studbook holder is responsible for pairing well-matched animals and recording details such as birthplace and parentage to ensure a healthy and diverse population of animals.