A Grevy’s zebra foal has taken its first steps out in the field at Marwell Zoo, in Hampshire. Born on 26th of September to second-time mum Nafeesa, the new foal will not be named until health checks determine the gender.
Marwell is the only zoo in the UK where visitors can see all three species of zebra; plains zebra, mountain zebra and Grevy’s zebra, with the Grevy’s easily identifiable by their large round ‘mickey mouse’ style ears and thin, narrow stripes.
However, Grevy’s zebra is the most endangered of all three species, with fewer than 3,000 left in the wild where they are found in small, isolated areas in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Marwell’s Conservation Biologist, Tanya Langenhorst, says; “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.”
The Grevy’s zebra is currently facing an ongoing threat in the wild due to drought in Kenya. Marwell Wildlife, who own and operate Marwell Zoo, is fundraising to supply urgently needed supplementary hay in remote areas of Northern Kenya to help the Grevy’s population.
Tanya 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 is raising funds to buy bales of hay which they will transfer on lorries from Nairobi across rough terrain to the remote areas in Northern Kenya. A donation of ten pounds can buy five bales of hay, which is enough to feed up to ten Grevy’s zebra for four days. For more information and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/grevyszebra