Filly’s arrival at Devon zoo boosts rare zebra numbers in Britain

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Taru and her new filly foal.
Taru and her new filly foal. © Paignton Zoo

A Hartmann’s mountain zebra filly foal has been born at Britain’s Paignton Zoo in Devon.

The filly was born to Taru, a 19-year-old mare, and first-time dad, Jabali, a five-year-old who arrived at Paignton Zoo from Blackpool Zoo in December 2019. Taru was also born at Paignton.

Jabali was born in 2015 to Helene and Fernando, the most established Hartmann’s mountain zebra breeding pair in Britain. He has several full siblings, including Wakanda, who in 2018 was the first Hartmann’s filly to be born in Britain in 16 years.

Lisa Britton, Paignton Zoo’s Curator of Mammals said the filly’s arrival on June 18 was great news. “The Hartmann’s zebra is classed as vulnerable because its population is susceptible to decreasing, so this is a great achievement not only for Paignton Zoo, but for the species as a whole.”

A single foal is born after a gestation period of 364 to 391 days. The foal will remain with the mum and have a very close bond, she will be fully weaned by 10 months of age.

Hartmann’s mountain zebra, found in Namibia, are classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Humans are the biggest threat to zebra populations; hunting and habitat destruction are to blame for their decline.

Zebras are also threatened by droughts and other extreme weather conditions, loss of genetic diversity caused by inbreeding due to a small subpopulation, and competition with livestock for food.

Taru and her filly foal by Jabali.
Taru and her filly foal by Jabali. © Paignton Zoo

There is a European Endangered species Programme (EEP) for this zebra with 100 individuals in European collections.

Paignton Zoo is part of Wild Planet Trust. They are both registered charities striving to conserve species and habitats, and to inspire and empower people to help in the fight to protect wildlife.

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