A Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra has been born at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, UK.
The first time mother, Dorotka, who is genetically very important to the European population, gave birth to the foal in the early hours of October 21.
Keepers say six-year-old Dorotka is looking after her yet-to-be-named foal very well and they can be spotted together in their paddock behind the Amur leopard enclosure.
After tragically losing a foal in 2014, the last successful breeding of this vulnerable species at the zoo was in August 1997, so the new foal is very special and increases the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra group at the zoo to four.
Marwell manages the International Studbook and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, which are mainly found in Namibia, but also Angola and South Africa.
Tanya Langenhorst, Conservation Biologist at Marwell Wildlife, who is the international studbook and EEP coordinator for the species, said, “Our latest arrival is a much welcome addition as it has been a long stretch at Marwell without Hartmann’s Zebra foals. Dorotka came to us from Zoo Usti in the Czech Republic and is genetically very important. This foal is her first and it’s great to see them both doing so well.”
The wild Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra population suffered a dramatic loss in the early 1980s due to extreme droughts. While the species has recovered to more than 30,000 individuals since then, an event similar to the one in the 1980s is increasingly likely under climate change. This could wipe out more than 30 per cent of the wild population, making the zoo populations an important back up for the conservation of the species.
The news comes just one week after Marwell announced the birth of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra foal, Tucana, who was born on Friday, October 12 to mother Imogen.
The Hartmann's Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae) prefer to live in small groups of 7-12 individuals. They are agile climbers and are able to live in arid conditions and steep mountainous country. The species has evolved with very hard and pointed hooves.
The subspecies is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.