Numbers of the threatened Hartmann’s mountain zebra in captivity are slowly growing, with the births of two foals in recent weeks, in the US and Britain.
Marwell Zoo in Hampshire welcomed a foal from first-time mum Dorotka, who gave birth in the early hours of October 21, nine days after an endangered Grevy’s zebra foal named Tucana was born.
The last successful breeding of this vulnerable species at the zoo was in August 1997, so the foal is very special and increases the Hartmann’s mountain zebra group at the zoo to four. The zoo lost a foal in 2014.
Marwell manages the International Studbook and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for the Hartmann’s mountain zebra, which are mainly found in Namibia, but also Angola and South Africa.
Marwell Wildlife Conservation Biologist Tanya Langenhorst said it had been a long stretch at Marwell without Hartmann’s zebra foals, so the latest arrival was “a much welcome addition”.
Dorotka came to Marwell from Zoo Usti in the Czech Republic and is genetically very important.
Third Hartmann’s filly for Hogle Zoo
A filly Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal named Clementine was born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, on October 23, to parents Zoey and Ziggy. She is a full sister to Poppy, who was born in April, 2017.
Clementine, who was named by a donor, joins baby Zibby, who was born in June to Ziggy and Ziva.
“Ziggy, father to all three babies is doing well and watches with mild curiosity from afar,” the zoo said.
“Clementine has no fear,” said Melissa Farr, lead keeper at African Savanna. “The other foals stayed pretty close to the barn on their first day on Savanna. But Clementine ran all the way to the west end, right near the lions. She’s so brave and loves to explore.”
Hogle Zoo has had Hartmann’s mountain zebras since 2014.
The wild Hartmann’s mountain zebra population suffered a dramatic loss in the early 1980s after to extreme droughts. While the species has recovered to more than 30,000 individuals since then, an event similar to the one in the 1980s is increasingly likely under climate change. This could wipe out more than 30 per cent of the wild population, making the zoo populations an important back-up for the conservation of the species.