Rare breed zebra foal delights visitors with surprise arrival

  • A rare breed zebra foal delighted visitors with an early arrival at Marwell Zoo.

    Grevy’s zebra Ellen safely delivered the healthy foal during the day in her paddock in September, to the surprise of amazed onlookers.

    Keepers carefully monitored the zebra from a distance and answered questions from guests, while the first-time mother gave birth in just 30 minutes. Both mother and foal are doing well.

    Credit: PhotosByGemma

    “We knew Ellen was soon to be expecting so we have been monitoring her and allowing her access to the paddock and the indoor area,” said Marwell Zoo’s hoofstock team leader Tim Rowlands.

    “Zebra normally like to do their own thing and take themselves away, so giving birth in the middle of the afternoon in front of a crowd of guests isn’t common but she wasn’t concerned by the interest and it was a very smooth delivery with the healthy foal arriving in around half an hour.

    “The foal is enjoying exploring, though is still staying close to its mother, who is the dominant female of the herd and is being very protective.”

    The foal’s name and gender are yet to be confirmed, and brings the total number of Grevy’s zebra at the zoo to six.

    There are fewer than 3,000 Grevy’s zebra left in the wild. They are found in small, isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.

    Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife, which owns and operates Marwell Zoo, is involved in the national conservation strategy for the species in Kenya. Marwell manages the breed’s international studbook, a programme conserving healthy populations of animals in activity and is also one of the active members of the Grevy’s zebra technical committee, which guides and implements conservation action in the country.

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