On April 2, the Los Angeles Zoo welcomed its first Zebra foal in more than 20 years. The unnamed female Grévy’s Zebra was born to parents Khalfani and Jamila as part of a breeding program designed to preserve this species, which is endangered in the wild.
“Grévy's Zebras are the largest and most threatened of the three zebra species,” said Alisa Behar, curator of mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. “When this herd of zebras came to us a few years ago as part of a species survival plan, it was with the hope that they would get along and produce offspring. We are thrilled with the arrival of this female foal.”
Zebra foals are up and walking within just 20 minutes of birth, and they remain close to their mothers for the first weeks of life. During this important bonding period, mother and foal become familiar with each other’s scent and stripe patterns. As the zebra herd moves across the African plains, the foal must keep up with its mother as she finds food and water. Foals nurse for about six months and remain with the herd until they are sexually mature at two to three years old.
Grévy’s Zebras are the largest of the three Zebra species and the largest of all wild equids. Male Grévy’s Zebras can weigh up to 990 pounds and stand nearly five feet tall. They have narrower, more closely-spaced stripes than other Zebras. They inhabit dry grasslands in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.
The L.A. Zoo has participated in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Grévy’s Zebra since the 1980s. This program seeks to maximize genetic diversity in the zoo-dwelling population of rare animals. Grévy’s Zebras are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction, reduced access to watering holes, and competition with livestock.
See more photos of the foal below.