A rare Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal has been born in Britain, with the new colt the only one of his species born in the UK this year.
The youngster was born on the morning of Friday, December 11, at Blackpool Zoo, to Helene, and brings the number of the rare species at the zoo to three, along with resident sire, Fernando.
The colt – who is is yet to be named – is the third Hartmann’s mountain zebra to be born at Blackpool Zoo in the past five years. In 2011 Helene foaled Tebogo, who was the first Hartmann’s to be born anywhere in the UK for nine years.
A colt named Benni was born in 2012 at Blackpool, to Bette and Fernando. Another Hartmann’s foal, a filly, was born in 2013 at Britain’s Marwell Wildlife Park. Sadly, another foal was lost at Britain’s Paignton Zoo Environmental Park near Torquay late last year.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras (Equus zebra hartmannae) are listed as vulnerable, meaning they are at high risk of extinction in the wild as their total population is under 9000.
They are a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra), and range from 10 to 14 hands in height. They are also the only equine to have a dewlap. They are native to Namibia and most commonly found in the extremely harsh environmental conditions of the Kunene Region in the North West.
Adam Kenyon, Section Head of Large Mammals at Blackpool, said: “We are ecstatic to welcome this beautiful new foal to our collection. Due to their low numbers every birth is worth celebrating and we have been waiting with baited breath for 11 months. He is certainly a very welcome early Christmas present and is the perfect way to end another great year!”
Native to Namibia the zebras are usually found in small groups and are agile climbers so inhabit steep mountainous country where they are able to live in harsh conditions.
Current studies show that the number of Hartmann’s mountain zebras in the wild could decline by more than 10 per cent in the next 25 years due to an increase in hunting and loss of natural habitat.
• Meanwhile, India’s bad run with zebras has continued with a third death.
The latest death came of a zebra mare at Mysuru zoo at the weekend. Erina, who was bought from a German zoo in 1988, had lived for 27 years in captivity. Her death leaves two Grant’s zebras at Mysuru, both of whom came from Tel Aviv Zoo.
Late in November Lucknow’s Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Gardens lost two zebras a week apart, with the cause found to be intestinal stones.
And in other developments, Kanpur Zoo’s zebra is being moved to Junagarh Zoo, along with a hyena and a rhinoceros. The zebra was the only of its species remaining in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Junagarh Zoo had recently sent a pair of lions to Kanpur, but these were being sent on to Etawah Safari.