A colt Grevy’s zebra foal has been born at Arizona’s Phoenix Zoo.
His arrival adds to the world’s sparse population of Grevy’s zebra, an endangered species.
Fewer than 2500 Grevy’s zebra are left in the wild due to loss of habitat, competition with livestock and poaching.
As the largest zebra species, Grevy’s can be distinguished from other zebras by their longer legs, more narrow stripes, white, stripeless underbelly and large rounded ears. Grevy’s zebras are only found in northern Kenya and south eastern Ethiopia.
He is 19th Grevy’s zebra born at Phoenix Zoo since 1987.
The as-yet unnamed colt, born on January 19 and weighing in at 100 pounds, has gone on public display along the zoo’s Africa Trail.
He was born to Masika and Punda.
Zoo staff said he enjoyed exploring his exhibit and is playing with another male foal, Utambo, born just a couple of months earlier in November to mother Afiya. Both foals share the same father.
Both foals are the result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which ensures the genetic diversity of select species.
Staff have an interesting strategy in determining the new name for the foal.
Zookeepers are working on a plan to have Masika choose from three bags of treats that will each be labeled with a name selected by the Zoo’s hoofstock team.
The names from which Masika will choose are Pembe, Akili and Bakari.
The name game will take place in the zebra exhibit on February 6, at 9.30am and is open to the public.
Pembe is Swahili for “horn”. Obviously, zebras do not have horns, but the Grevy’s zebra’s historical range encompasses the majority of the Horn of Africa.
Bakari is Swahili for “One who will succeed”, a reference to he hope that he will carry on the task to represent his species.
Akili is Swahili for cleverness. It was placed on the shortlist as he proved very clever at figuring out how to get his brother to start playing with him.