British zoo welcomes rare equine babies


Marwell Zoo in Britain has welcomed two newborn endangered equines in recent weeks with the arrival of a Hartmann’s mountain zebra colt and a Przewalski’s horse foal.

The Przewalski’s horse was born on May 30 to Tsetseg. The sex of the foal is not yet known. The Przewalski’s horse is among the most endangered of species on the IUCN Red List. From 1969 to 2008, Przewalski’s horses were extinct in the wild. Several successful reintroductions in the 1990s in Mongolia and China has meant they are now classed as ‘endangered’.

Marwell participated in early reintroduction planning processes, provided animals for reintroduction in Mongolia and Hungary and for grazing management projects in European nature reserves.

Tsetseg and her foal are in a paddock at Marwell opposite the okapi playground.

A Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal has been born to Marula, and zookeepers report the colt is thriving.

The Hartmann’s mountain zebra is listed as Vulnerable to Extinction as they are at risk of drought wiping out large numbers in the wild. Marwell, which manages the International Studbook for the species, is one of the few UK zoos to successfully breed them.

Marula and her newborn Hartmann's Mountain zebra colt foal.
Marula and her newborn Hartmann’s Mountain zebra colt foal. © Marwell Zoo.

The European zoo population is only small (110 animals) and the aim is to increase it considerably. Therefore every foal counts. In addition, the Hartmann’s zebras at Marwell are also genetically very important to the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) making this foal particularly valuable.

The Hartmann’s herd is in the Valley Field behind Café Graze.

The zoo has also welcomed a second female scimitar-horned oryx calf. The newborn is now enjoying exploring the Wild Explorers paddock together with our white rhinos, Grevy’s zebra and ostrich. Born to mother Amy and father Tenzi, keepers say the calf is strong and healthy.

The once abundant scimitar-horned oryx was assessed as ‘extinct in the wild’ by the IUCN in 2000 and the species is reliant on captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for its continued survival. Marwell manages the International Studbook for scimitar-horned oryx and has been instrumental in creating international conservation strategies for the species for more than 35 years.

In recent weeks, Marwell has also welcomed two crested wood partridge chicks and a striking turquoise tanager chick in its Tropical House. Marwell’s three adult turquoise tanagers, who arrived from Wuppertal Zoo, Germany in November, are the only examples of their species on display in a UK zoo and this breeding is the first to be achieved in a UK zoo in the last 30 years.

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