A newborn Grevy’s zebra foal made his first public appearance at Zoo Miami at the tender age of four days old.
The striped cutey – the 16th successful birth of this endangered species at Zoo Miami – cavorted in his enclosure and hung out with his mum in public for the first time on Thursday.
The colt foal was born on Sunday, October 18, to a first-time mother who is just three. His dad is 17 years old and came from White Oak Conservation Center in Northern Florida.
The foal weighed in at 104 pounds and his birth followed a 13-month gestation.
The zoo is hosting contest to choose a name for the colt, with entries needing to be in by November 5.
While Grevy’s zebras are white with black stripes, at birth a foal is born with reddish-brown stripes that may turn black by one year. However, some animals tend to always have a brown tinge. The striped pattern, which is like a fingerprint and is unique for each individual, helps the zebra blend in with a background of grasses and shrubs, making it nearly invisible to predators.
Currently, fewer than 200 Grevy’s zebras live in fewer than 50 accredited North American zoos.
Grevy’s zebras, which are the largest of all wild equids, are listed as endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The species is now found only in its native habitat of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia and is considered to be extinct in Somalia. Researchers estimate that the Grevy’s zebra population has declined by more than 50 percent over the past two decades, with only about 2000 remaining in the wild.
Major threats to the species include reduction of and competition for water sources; habitat degradation and loss due to overgrazing; and hunting. Most Grevy’s zebras live outside of national parks on communal lands, making community participation in their conservation critical.
Images below © Ron Magill/Zoo Miami