Zoo visitors watch birth of endangered Grevy’s zebra foal

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The new arrival at Marwell Zoo.
The new arrival at Marwell Zoo. Picture by Gemma/Marwell Zoo

Visitors to Marwell Zoo in Britain were amazed to be able to watch the birth of an endangered Grevy’s zebra foal this week. 

First-time mother Ellen gave birth in just 30 minutes at Marwell’s Wild Explorers paddock opposite the Grade 1 listed hall on the Winchester property. Both mother and foal, whose name and gender are to be confirmed, are doing very well.

Keepers monitored the birth from a distance and answered questions from guests. Hoofstock Team Leader Tim Rowlands said they knew Ellen was due to foal so they had been keeping an eye on her and allowing her access to the paddock and the indoor area.

“Zebra normally like to do their own thing and take themselves away, so giving birth in the middle of the afternoon in front of a crowd of guests isn’t common. But she wasn’t concerned by the interest and it was a very smooth delivery with the healthy foal arriving in around half an hour,” Rowlands said.

“The foal is enjoying exploring, though is still staying close to its mother, who is the dominant female of the herd and is being very protective.”

The Grevy’s zebra is one of Africa’s rarest large mammals with fewer than 3000 individuals left in the wild. They are found in small and isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.

The latest arrival increases Marwell’s total number of Grevy’s zebra to six.

Grevvy's zebra mare Ellen and her new foal.
Grevy’s zebra mare Ellen and her new foal. © Jon Isaacs/Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo is owned and operated by conservation charity Marwell Wildlife and has been instrumental in helping to create a national conservation strategy for the species in Kenya. Marwell is one of the active members of the Grevy’s Zebra Technical Committee which guides and implements conservation action in the country.

It also manages the and the European Ex situ Programme (EEP) for Grevy’s zebra and encourages participants to support their conservation initiatives in Kenya.

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