Rare Hartmann’s zebra foals born at two US zoos

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Louisville Zoo has welcomed a Hartmann’s mountain zebra filly foal to its herd. © Louisville Zoo
Louisville Zoo has welcomed a Hartmann’s mountain zebra filly foal to its herd. © Louisville Zoo

A filly Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal has been born at Louisville Zoo in the US, part of a mini baby boom at the Kentucky facility.

Six-year-old mare Azisi had the filly just before midnight on Thursday, May 12.

At her first check-up, the filly weighed 32kg (71 lb) and was deemed strong and healthy. Both are doing well, and are with the rest of the zebra herd in the zoo’s Africa zone.

A name will be chosen for the filly soon, zoo officials said.

In early May, the zoo celebrated the first harbor seal birth in its history, and a calf from Masai giraffe Kianga is expected soon.

“We are ecstatic to have so much to celebrate this spring. These new offspring will be wonderful ambassadors to tell the stories of their species,” said Louisville Zoo Director Dan Maloney.

“We look forward to watching this new filly grow with our community and sharing news about our pending giraffe birth.”

Hannah and her new son, Dakota, at Blank Park Zoo.
Hannah and her new son, Dakota, at Blank Park Zoo. © Mikayla D/Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo in Iowa has also announced the birth of a Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal, born on March 11. Now named Dakota, the colt was 31kg (68lb) at birth. Dakota is by Duke and out of Hannah.

Zookeepers describe Dakota as spunky, and incredibly curious “and is often seen exploring independently without mom”.

He is the first of his species to be born at the zoo, with Duke, his sire, arriving at Blank Park Zoo in 2019, along with a mare named Duchess.

Hartmann’s mountain zebras are found in dry, stony mountains and semideserts of southwest Africa and western Angola. No two zebras have identical stripe patterns. This makes it easier for members of a herd to recognize each other but harder for their main predator, the lion, to single one out. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has them listed as vulnerable, with about 35,000 mature individuals remaining.

They are grazers and live in herds comprised of an adult male, three female and their offspring. Populations are threatened by habitat loss, hunting and drought.

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