BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their third Grant’s Zebra foal of this year!
This season’s “baby boom” started with the birth of a filly on June 7. There is no word yet on the sex of the park’s newest addition.
Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi) is the smallest of six subspecies of the Plains Zebra. This subspecies represents the Zebra form of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.
The distribution of this subspecies is in Zambia, west of the Luangwa River and west to Kariba, Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north to the Kibanzao Plateau. In Tanzania, north from Nyangaui and Kibwezi into southwestern Kenya as far as Sotik. It can also be found in eastern Kenya and east of the Great Rift Valley into southernmost Ethiopia. It also occurs as far as the Juba River in Somalia.
This northern subspecies is vertically striped in front, horizontally on the back legs, and diagonally on the rump and hind flanks. Northerly specimens may lack a mane. Grant’s Zebras grow to be about 120 to 140 centimeters (3.9 to 4.6 ft) tall, and generally weigh about 300 kilograms (660 lb). Zebras live in family groups of up to 17 or 18 individuals. They live an average of 20 years.
Needing water daily, they remain no more than half a day's walk from water sources. Their diet includes grass, tough stems, and sometimes leaves or barks of trees and shrubs. They require a lot of food so it is not uncommon for them to spend around 20 hours a day grazing.
Their gestation period is 360-370 days, and they usually have one offspring per birth. The birthing peak is during the rainy season. Mothers nurse their foal for up to a year. Young male Zebras eventually leave their family groups. This is not because of sexual maturity or being kicked out by their fathers, but because their relationship with their mothers has faded after the birth of a sibling. The young stallion then seeks out other young stallions for company. Young females may stay in the harem until they are “abducted” by another stallion.
The Grant’s Zebra is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Recent civil wars in the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda have caused dramatic declines in all wildlife populations, including those of Grant’s Zebra. It is now extinct in Burundi. Civil war in Angola during much of the past 25 years has devastated its wildlife populations, including its once-abundant Plains Zebra, and destroyed the national parks administration and infrastructure. Consequently, the Grant's Zebra is probably extinct or nearly so in Angola, although confirmation will have to wait until future surveys are conducted. There are more Grant’s Zebras in the wild than any other species or subspecies of Zebras.