A newborn Grevy's Zebra colt has joined the herd at Planckendael in Belgium! The colt, born December 2, has been named Oscar. He joins a herd of eight other Zebras, including his year-old sister Noni, mom Betina, and father Chris.
Grevy's Zebras, also known as Imperial Zebras, are the world's largest living species of horse. These horses are territorial and live in small groups that consist of a several females and one dominant male. Non-dominant males form separate 'bachelor' groups. Individual Zebras have stripe patterns on their hind legs that are as unique as a human's fingerprint.
Grevy's Zebras are the most Endangered of the three species of Zebra, with an estimated 2,500 individuals left in Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Over the past 30 years, their numbers have decreased by 80 percent. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, these Zebras have undergone one of the greatest reductions in habitat range of any African mammal. This habitat loss and degradation is largely due to overgrazing by livestock. Zebras are forced to compete with livestock not just for food but also for limited sources of water. They are also threatened by poaching and disease.
Zoo Planckendael participates in the European breeding program to conserve this species, and also supports the Marwell Wildlife conservation project in Kenya. Using transmitters attached to collars, the group collects data on the movements and territories of wild Zebras in order to set up effective management and conservation strategies to save the species.