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All in a day’s work: The zoo breeding director *H&H Plus*

Mark Holden, head of the large hoofstock team at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, on the birth of a rare wild foal, as told to Kate Johnson

I manage the day-to-day operations for large hoofstock. We’re right on Dunstable Downs, it’s a fantastic site with naturalistic enclosures.

We have some very charismatic animals; rhinos, giraffes, hippos, Grévy’s zebras, and Przewalski’s horses – it’s pronounced Shav-al-ski. Native to Mongolia, they are named after Nikolai Przewalski,  a Russian of Polish origin, and that’s the Polish pronunciation.

Our Przewalski foal was born on 13th April. She’s fantastic; the first offspring for this pairing of parents, Nikki and Charlotte. Our last three foals were male, so we were due a filly. Mum is quite feisty so we gave her a wide berth for a week or so and kept an eye, by binocular.