Editor’s Note: We now think another one of our Grévy’s zebra mares, Lauren, is pregnant! We believe she may give birth in summer 2022.
As we celebrate International Zebra Day on January 31, we are excited to share that our dazzle, or group of Grévy’s zebra, may get a bit more dazzling in the next few months.
Our animal care staff believe one of our mares, 11-year-old Iggy, is pregnant! Over the last few months, we’ve seen her weight increase – and we’ve spotted some fetal movement as well. This is the first zebra birth at our Zoo, so to say we’re excited may be an understatement.
Based on her previous breeding behaviors with our 9-year-old stallion Bakari, Iggy could give birth anytime between February and June. Grévy’s zebras have a gestation period of 13 months!
Iggy’s animal care team will watch her for any signs that labor might be near, some of which include a steady trend in weight gain, teat development and behavioral changes. They’ll see if Iggy becomes less active, separates herself from the herd or doesn’t want other zebras near her.
Iggy and 18-year-old Zonka were the first Grévy’s zebra at our Zoo, arriving in 2015. Eight-year-old Lauren followed a year later, while Bakari arrived in 2020 as a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation. SSPs manage the populations of animals within AZA-accredited zoos to ensure healthy, genetically diverse groups – especially important for the endangered Grévy’s zebra.
Our zebra spend their days in different Expedition Africa habitats, calmly eating their usual meal of coastal hay, near our giraffe, ankole-watusi, impala, dromedary camels and other species. One of our keepers even saw our ankole-watusi named Boss Hog lick Zonka’s ear!
This ability to use different spaces allows our zebras to stay with each other or take a break from others when needed. Since becoming pregnant, Iggy’s confidence and independence appear to have increased. She and Zonka used to be inseparable, but now Iggy seems comfortable being on her own.
While our herd lives comfortably in our Zoo, Grévy’s zebras in their natural range are not doing well. This species is endangered due to habitat loss, human hunting and competition for resources with domestic hoofstock. These issues may be exacerbated by this species being found only in small pockets of Kenya and Ethiopia, restricting it to a much narrower range than the more abundant and commonly known plains zebra.
You can help Grévy’s zebras by contributing to conservation organizations like Grévy’s Zebra Trust, which the Zoo has supported in the past.
Not Sure Who You’re Spotting?
The best way to identify our zebra mares is by their stripes, which are unique to every zebra:
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.