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Foal With Abbey

‘Abbey’, a 14-year-old Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, at the Virginia Zoo, gave birth to a female foal April 13th. This is the second foal for Abbey and the first for 11-year-old father ‘Zack’.

Foal Face

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Foal Scale

Photo Credits: Virginia Zoo

This is a significant birth for the species, as Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras are threatened in the wild, and there are less than 60 captive individuals in the North American Species Survival Plan (SSP).

“The foal appears very healthy and Abbey is an excellent, experienced mother,” says Virginia Zoo veterinarian Dr. Amanda Guthrie. “We are optimistic that this youngster will thrive and be an important member of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra SSP population.”

Female zebras produce a single foal every one to three years, after a gestation of approximately one year.  Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, and after giving birth, the mother will position herself, between her foal and the rest of the herd, so the foal can imprint upon her stripe pattern. The foal will stay with its mother for a little over a year before being weaned.

Abbey and the filly are being given plenty of time to bond behind the scenes before being introduced to the rest of the herd. The Zoo will also make a special announcement when the time comes for the pair to go on public display.

As their name implies, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras are generally found on slopes and plateaus in mountainous areas. They are native to far south-western Angola and western Namibia. A fairly large-sized member of the horse family, they feature bold black stripes all over a narrow body and fast-growing hooves. The legs are striped to the hooves, and the belly is white. The widest stripes are seen on the upper hind legs. They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, and the species has suffered massive declines over the past century as a result of excessive hunting for its skin and loss of habitat to agriculture.

Foal With Staff

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