It’s all black and white at Florida’s Lowry Park Zoo, as the Tampa park welcomes its second rare-breed zebra foal in two months.
The arrival of a Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra filly on January 15 follows the birth of a Grevy’s Zebra filly on November 23.
The latest foal is the first of her species to be born at the zoo.
“We are delighted with this successful birth,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, Chief Zoological Officer, Senior Vice President, and Zoo Director.
“With this foal, the zoo has now contributed to the managed population of both zebra species in our conservation programs.”
The Grevy’s zebra fill born in November has been named Penda, and is out of first-time mother Penzima. Penda was born on exhibit with zoo visitors nearby, just like her mum, who was born on St Patrick’s Day in 2010.
Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Equid Taxon Advisory Group which includes the three main species of zebra (Grevy’s, mountain and plains), designed to support conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction.
The zoo is home to three Hartmann’s mountain zebra: mare “Roxie,” sire “Rex” and the newborn, a female. In keeping with a natural herd structure, mother and baby joined the male on exhibit within a few days, and were reunited shortly thereafter with the bachelor herd of giraffes that share their African habitat.
Native to Namibia in Southern Africa, Hartmann’s mountain zebra are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with about 9000 mature individuals in the population.
In Namibia, hunting and competition for resources (water) from farming (livestock) are the greatest threats to the Hartmann’s mountain species.
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 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.
Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent charity.