Marwell Zoo in Britain has welcomed two rare equine babies in recent days, with the arrival of Somali wild ass and two Hartmann’s mountain zebra foals.
The Somali wild ass foal was born on August 4 to parents Jahzahra and Lars. Keepers report the youngster is very strong and active.
There are estimated to be fewer than 700 Somali wild asses in the wild. The critically endangered species hails from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia on the eastern Horn of Africa. The species is hunted by humans for food, and also faces competition from livestock. In both Eritrea and Ethiopia, research and conservation programs have been critical for sustaining African wild ass populations by involving local sheep and cattle farmers in their conservation.
The legs of the Somali wild ass are striped, resembling those of its relative, the zebra.
The first Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal was born on August 10 to Dorotka and Davu, and the second on August 13, to Dayimani and Davu. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra is vulnerable and Marwell is one of the few British zoos to breed the species.
Hartmann’s mountain zebra are found in Namibia and South Africa, living on slopes and plateaus in mountainous habitats.
They are a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra), and range from 10 to 14 hands in height. They are unusual in that they are the only equine with a dewlap.
Marwell Zoo is also home to several Grevy’s zebra, the largest living wild equid and the most threatened of the three species of zebra.