Rare foal’s birth a boost for locked down British zoo

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A filly foal has been born into the herd of Przewalski’s horses resident at Britain’s largest zoo, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire.

The foal, born to Charlotte on April 13, is by Nikki. The species, native to the steppes of central Asia, is endangered.

Charlotte was initially very protective of her new youngster and kept her hidden away, out of view of zookeepers who were eager to get a proper look at the new arrival.

The Przewalski’s horse is known in Mongolia as Tahki, meaning spirit. Once classified as extinct in the wild, the species was reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia, thanks to conservation breeding efforts by organisations including ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

“The birth of a Przewalski’s foal is a real cause for celebration – they’re considered to be the last remaining truly wild horse in the world, and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is proud to be part of their conservation success story,” said ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Team leader Mark Holden.

A Przewalski’s horse filly foal has been born at Whipsnade Zoo in Britain. She was born to Charlotte on April 13.
The Przewalski’s horse filly foal was born to Charlotte on April 13 at Whipsnade Zoo in Britain. © Whipsnade Zoo

“This is the first female we’ve had born in a little while at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, as the last three foals were boys, so we’re hoping to ask our colleagues in Mongolia to help us choose a name!”

Zookeepers say that now mum has loosened her watch on the youngster, she can often be seen racing around the paddock.

“It’s really sad that we can’t share our excitement with visitors right now, but the birth of this endangered foal is another example of the incredibly important work we do; and why we need support,” Holden said.

“If you can, please help us by visiting our website – every donation helps.”

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