We are thrilled to welcome our third zebra foal born at the Zoo! Nineteen-year-old Grévy’s zebra Zonka gave birth on May 26. Animal care staff conducted a neonatal exam on the little one and discovered that she is a female! At just three days old, the foal weighed in at 83 pounds.
Some initial health challenges kept us from sharing this news sooner, but the zebra foal is now doing well and nursing. “Zonka is a great mother and is very protective of the baby,” said Animal Curator Chelsea Herman. Our animal care team will continue to closely monitor the foal to ensure her wellbeing.
We suspected that Zonka was pregnant based on fetal movements and weight gain. Over the past several months, our animal care staff have been keeping a close eye on her, looking for any indications that her baby was soon arriving.
You may remember that in the summer of 2022, we welcomed our first-ever zebra foals: a boy born to mom Lauren in June and another boy born to mom Iggy in July. Jerzy and Ziggy, the foals, are now around a year old and spend their time between our Expedition Africa Veldt and train yard.
Zonka and her foal will remain behind the scenes as they bond. Grévy’s zebras in their natural range typically separate themselves from their herd after giving birth, and we are mimicking that as closely as possible by allowing Zonka to have bonding time.
We are so thrilled about welcoming another member of this species as Grévy’s zebras are endangered due to habitat loss, human hunting and competition for resources with domestic hoofstock. The foal’s sire, 10-year-old Bakari, arrived at the Zoo back 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.
We will continue to keep you posted on the baby’s progress and let you know when you can see Zonka and her foal in Expedition Africa. Until then, we hope you enjoy some photos of the baby behind the scenes from our animal care staff!
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