Zoo Basel’s Zebra Filly Plays With Purpose
January 20, 2017
A female Grant’s Zebra, named Niara, was born at Zoo Basel on December 16. Her name means ‘one with high purpose’, and this lively little girl can be found out-and-about, with purpose, in the Africa Enclosure.
This little mare is the first offspring for mom, Jua (age 5). Initially, the inexperienced mother was unsure of little Niara stretching her head under her mother’s stomach from the side to nurse. Hunger made Niara creative, and she eventually was successful in her attempts by reaching from the back.
Niara’s father, Tibor (age 7), is also a member of the Zoo’s herd. The Zebra herd also includes the foal’s grandmother Chambura (12), Lazima (3), and little Nyati (1/2).
Niara will soon be getting to know the little Ostriches, who share her herd’s exhibit. The Ostriches and Zebras are currently making alternate use of the Africa Enclosure, as Zebras are very inquisitive and like to play at hunting the smaller birds.
The Zebras at Zoo Basel have become acclimated to the wintery temperatures and are not really bothered by the current cold weather. Heated stalls are currently available for animals that do not cope well with the cold.
Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi) is the smallest of six subspecies of the plains Zebra.This subspecies is currently listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
There are more Grant’s Zebras in the wild than any other species or subspecies. Grant’s Zebras eat the coarse grasses that grow on the African plains, and they are said to be quite resistant to diseases that often kill cattle in the African savannas. However, recent civil wars and political conflicts in the African countries near their habitats have caused regional extinction, and Zebras are sometimes killed for their coats, or to eliminate competition for resources with domestic livestock.