A newborn Grevy’s zebra foal has taken its first steps out in the field here at Marwell Zoo
The foal was born on 26 September to second-time mum Nafeesa, and has now been confirmed as female. Keepers have named her Uma.
Marwell’s Conservation Biologist, Dr Tanya Langenhorst, says; “It’s so lovely to see the foal taking its very first foray out into the field and running around with mum and the other females.
“Often people don’t realise how rare this particular species of zebra is. There are fewer Grevy’s zebra left in the wild than black rhino, so we are incredibly lucky to see them here at Marwell.”
Marwell Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have all three species of zebra; Plains zebra, mountain zebra and Grevy’s zebra. Grevy’s are easily unidentifiable by their large round Mickey Mouse style ears and thin, narrow stripes. The foal currently has fluffy ears and brown stripes that will eventually turn black.
Grevy’s zebra is the most endangered of all three species, with fewer than 3,000 individuals left in the wild. They are found in small and isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Sadly, the species is facing an additional threat due to ongoing drought in Kenya.
However, Marwell Wildlife, which own and operate Marwell Zoo, has been fundraising to help save Grevy’s zebra in the wild by providing urgently needed supplementary hay.
Dr Langenhorst explains: “The rains have failed repeatedly, forage has disappeared in many areas and rivers are drying up. This means very long trips between grazing and water sources. Lactating females and foals are particularly at risk and affected by the prolonged drought as the mothers need to drink daily to provide milk, but the foals are not strong enough for the extra-long walks and can die of either starvation or from the strenuous trips.”
Marwell Wildlife has bought hay and transferred it on lorries from Nairobi across rough terrain to the remote areas in Northern Kenya that desperately need it.
Tanya continues; “People can help by donating and every pound helps! Ten pounds can buy five bales of hay, which is enough to feed up to ten Grevy’s zebra for four days.”