Two Grevy’s Zebra Births at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Add to Endangered Population

A day-old male Grevy’s zebra stretched his legs and ran next to his mother this morning at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The newborn foal, born yesterday, is one of two youngsters in the Grevy’s zebra herd at the Safari Park. The other foal, also a male, is just over a week old and was born on Feb. 26. The two foals are already running throughout the grassy habitat and staying close to the rest of the herd at the Safari Park.

“Once they hit the ground, within a short period of time they are ready to run,” said Jeff Gross, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Their main form of staying alive (in the wild) is actually being able to keep up with the herd, so the importance of being able to move about, move quickly, and stay close to mother who is very protective is very important.”

Bai Yun and Gao Gao are a successful breeding pair. They have produced five offspring together.

Able to stand and walk very soon after birth, a one-week-old zebra foal stays close to its mother.

A zebra foal can tell his mother apart from other zebras in the herd and knows to stay close to her by memorizing her unique stripe pattern. The memorization happens just after a zebra is born and is called imprinting. Grevy’s zebras have the skinniest stripes of any zebra species; the stripes run all the way down their back to a white belly.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has had 86 Grevy’s zebra births. Each birth at the Safari Park is significant, since the wild Grevy’s zebra population has been ravaged by anthrax outbreaks, dropping its ranks to an estimated wild population of 2,250. San Diego Zoo Global is a member of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, an independent wildlife conservation organization in Kenya, and its researchers are working with other conservation groups to help preserve the population.

Guests visiting the Safari Park can see the two youngsters, as well as the rest of the Grevy’s zebra herd, from the Africa Tram ride, a guided tram tour that takes guests around the Safari Park’s African field exhibits and gives guests a chance to connect with wildlife on a closer level.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.  The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide.  The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on March 6, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.