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Our newest “mischief maker”

September 4, 2023

A grevy's zebra foal with its mother just one day old at Marwell Zoo

Our herd of Endangered Grevy’s zebra has welcomed a new addition in the form of a gorgeous new foal!

The new arrival, born to mother Ellen and father Angus, arrived early in the morning of Tuesday 29 August. Keepers turned up for work on Tuesday morning to find the new arrival still wet, having very recently been born.

Guests on Tuesday were amongst the first to see the Endangered foal getting to grips with walking, frolicking and testing its limbs in the zoo’s Wild Explorers area.

In the wild, Grevy’s zebras are found in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia where it is thought there are fewer than 3,000 still in existence. The number of Grevy’s zebra in the wild is currently reported to be stable thanks to changing attitudes towards these animals in their local populations.

Ellen and her foal are part of the European ex situ Programme (EEP) which aims to ensure a healthy population of Grevy’s zebra in captivity whilst maintaining genetic diversity. Marwell Wildlife holds the international studbook for both Grevy’s and Hartmann’s mountain zebra.

A grevy's zebra foal frolicking at just one day old at Marwell Zoo

Tanya Langenhorst, Conservation Biologist at Marwell Wildlife, said: “Currently the European ex situ Programme (EEP) for the Grevy’s zebra has very low numbers of zebra. The birth of any Grevy’s zebra foal is therefore very much needed and welcome.

“We also work in the field to conserve the Grevy’s zebra in the remote north of Kenya. We have a network of 24 scouts who patrol the area daily, record all sightings of wildlife and set camera traps to monitor the movement and behaviour of the species.

“As EEP coordinator, it is my role to link the zoo work with the field work and keep both sides informed. Our work in Kenya is financially supported by other European holders of Grevy’s zebra as part of the EEP.”

Habitat loss, extended periods of drought and poaching have all contributed to declines in the number of these animals living in the wild.

A grevy's zebra foal suckling at just one day old at Marwell Zoo

Grevy’s zebra are pregnant for 13 months and foals are able to stand within an hour, walking, trotting and exploring their surroundings soon afterwards. There are three zebra species (Grevy’s, plains and Hartmann’s) and Grevy’s zebra are the largest.  Marwell is the only zoo in the UK to house all three Zebra species.

Lisa Keywood, Animal keeper, Hoofstock, said: “Born to mum Ellen and dad Angus, the foal is a great new addition to the Grevy’s herd. It’s a huge success for the overall Grevy’s zebra population in captivity and the conservation of the species.

“They are already proving to be quite a mischief maker, and we are all really excited to see it grow into those huge ears!”