Chicago earns its stripes in rare zebra breeding

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Lincoln Park Zoo's new Grevy's Zebra filly foal.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Grevy’s Zebra filly foal.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo has welcomed the latest Grevy’s zebra foal into the world with the arrival of a filly around June 18.

The foal was found with her mother, Adia, by Animal Care staff who had arrived at the zoo’s Antelope & Zebra Area at about 7am on Saturday.

The birth came about thanks to a recommendation from the Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan, a shared management effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“It was a bit of a surprise, but we’re delighted,” says Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Like all the animals in our care, zebras play an important role in educating our guests about wildlife. And, of course, the foal is incredibly cute.”

The foal was born about June 18 to first-time dad Webster, and mum Adia.
The foal was born about June 18 to first-time dad Webster, and mum Adia.

This is the first offspring for 5-year-old dad Webster — well-timed for Father’s Day on June 19 — and the third for 9-year-old Adia.

Her previous foal, a colt named Kito born in 2012, resides in an adjacent yard.

Females can breed year-round and give birth to a single foal after a gestation period lasting more than a year.

The newborn foal is not yet named. Her stripes (which are shaped like chevrons in this zebra subspecies) are reddish-brown and will gradually turn black. She will continue to nurse for about 275 days and achieve sexual maturity at about three years of age.

Lincoln Park Zoo's new Grevy's Zebra filly foal.
Grevy’s Zebra are the largest of the three zebra species.

Grevy’s zebras – named by a French naturalist after the fourth president of France – are the largest of the three zebra species. They are also the world’s largest wild equine, inhabiting semi-arid grasslands in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Their wild population has decreased due to hunting and, in more recent years, habitat loss due to drought and encroachment by livestock farms.

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