Racine Zoo has welcomed the very first Hartmann’s mountain zebra to be born at the Wisconsin facility, with the new addition making his arrival on Christmas eve.
The colt came into the world at 7:42pm, born to parents Promise and Obi. He is part of the Hartmann’s mountain zebra Species Survival Plan, and zoo staff kept in close communication with staff at both San Diego Zoo and Disney’s Animal Kingdom throughout Promise’s pregnancy and the foal’s first few weeks. With fewer than 100 Hartmann’s mountain zebras in the US and listed as vulnerable in their native habitats in southern Africa, the foal is an important contribution to global conservation of this species.
“We are so excited for our first Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal, and cannot wait to introduce him to the public,” said Aszya Summers, Curator of Animal Care and Conservation Education at the Racine Zoo.
“We are grateful for a happy, healthy zebra family. This successful birth is a testament to the hard work of the entire team. From superb training that allowed for voluntary prenatal care through pregnancy, to making our zebra stalls baby-proofed and ready, to staff watching cameras through the night as our birth window drew closer, it took hard work from departments across the zoo to make this happen. I could not be more proud of the entire Zoo team.”
In order to ensure a safe and healthy birth, keepers watched mother Promise around the clock for weeks via night-vision cameras, recording her eating, sleeping, and all behaviors leading to the birth of the new foal. The Racine Zoo is happy to report a largely uneventful pregnancy, with the baby nursing and walking within hours of birth. They will be off exhibit until the spring, while they are bonding.
The zoo is running a silent auction where supporters can bid to name the new foal. The auction is open until Thursday, January 21 at 7:30pm CST, and the zoo will be hosting a livestream January 21 from 7pm to 7:30pm to talk about the baby!. The winner of the auction will be announced at the end of the stream, and funds raised will help support the zebra family.
The winner will work with the Racine Zoo to pick the perfect name.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras are a subspecies of the mountain zebra, which is one of three zebra species. Considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Hartmann’s mountain zebras live in dry mountain habitats of Namibia.
Unlike other zebra species, Hartmann’s mountain zebras live in small herds, have vertical stripes on their neck and torso and horizontal stripes on their backside, and have a small fold of skin under their chin (called a dewlap). With fewer than 25,000 individuals left in the wild, the biggest threat to this species’ survival is habitat loss and fragmentation as the result of livestock production and agriculture.
Obi came to Racine Zoo from Bruce Fairchild in Austin, Texas in mid-2016, and Promise was transferred from Disney Animal Kingdom in 2017, according to the international studbook for the species.