There is a truly festive
feel in the air at Blackpool Zoo after the birth of a very special boy in one
of its stables. The male Hartmann’s
Mountain Zebra foal, yet to be named, is only the fourth of his kind to
be born in the UK for the past decade and he is a hugely significant addition
to the European Endangered Species Program.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011 lists Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras as Vulnerable with a total population of less than 9000 mature individuals. Current studies indicate that this number could decline by more than 10% in the next 25 years due to an increase in hunting and loss of natural habitat to agriculture.
When senior mammal keeper
Sofie Fawzy arrived for work on Monday, November 26, she was
delighted to find the beautiful little striped boy up on his feet, feeding
from his mother. Although keepers suspected that mom Betty was pregnant, a due date was not yet confirmed. It was hoped that, as an older mum, 19-year-old Betty would give birth safely to her very first foal. And indeed she did.
Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo broke a nine year absence of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra births in 2011 when its other resident female, Helene, gave birth to Tebogo, who recently moved to an all-male group in Germany. The father of both foals is Fernando.
Sofie, who oversaw the birth and rearing of Tebogo, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have another foal, and mother and baby are doing very well. It will be fantastic to see another lively young one running around. As it is coming up to Christmas, we feel very honored to have our own special little boy who was born in a stable!”
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