Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the arrival of a female Grevy’s Zebra on June 18, 2016. Zoo Employees found the baby foal standing next to her mother, 9-year-old Adia. This is Adia’s third foal and the first for Webster, the 5-year-old father. “We’re thrilled to welcome this new foal to Lincoln Park Zoo,” says curator Diane Mulkerin. “Like all the animals in our care, zebras play an important role in educating our guests about wildlife.” The zoo isolated the mother and daughter in a separate yard to allow for bonding time: they were still visible to zoo patrons visiting the antelope and zebra area. This was the first zebra birth at the Lincoln Park Zoo since 2012, when Adia gave birth to a male foal named Kito.
The Grevy’s zebra can be distinguished from other zebras by their lack of stripes on their underbelly and rear. They are also the largest of the zebras. They can weigh up to 900 pounds and can stand up to 5 feet tall. Grevy’s zebras don’t live in permanent herds, but do form temporary groups. The gestation period of the Grevy’s zebra is about 13 months. Foals can stand within minutes of birth and run short distances within an hour.
The zoo’s breeding program is a part of the Grevy’s Species Survival Plan in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to save vulnerable animals from extinction. Grevy’s Zebras are the most threatened and uncommon of the three species of zebra on the planet. It is important to connect people with these animals so that they will care about their welfare and want to make a commitment to protecting them. “Research tells us that fostering an emotional connection between humans and animals is key to creating a real commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Dana Murphy, the zoo’s vice president of education and community engagement in a press release.
Since the 1970s the Grevy’s Zebra population has greatly declined from about 15,000 to only 2,000. To put this in perspective there are estimated to be 750,000 planes zebra and 25,000 mountain zebra living in the wild. There are only two places in the world that you can see Grevy’s zebra in the wild: Kenya and Ethiopia. This is why it is imperative that we protect them in human care and support the populations with breeding programs. Support of zoos and aquariums help conservation projects to ensure that these animals won’t perish from the earth.