Emulating their success in 2015, keepers at Banham are celebrating the birth of another Grevy’s zebra foal, one of the world’s most endangered species of equid.
Last year staff at the zoo were delighted when two foals were born in July and were thrilled to discover earlier this year that one of the mares had conceived again, resulting in a birth of a male foal in late September.
The foal has yet to be named but mum, Rosarie, is keeping a watchful eye over him as he settles into life in the herd at Banham. The zoo now has five zebra and one of the foals born in 2015 will be leaving in early 2017 to continue the work of the breeding programme in another EAZA[i] zoo.
Grevy’s zebra are classified as an endangered species by the IUCN[ii] and are the most threatened of all the zebra species due to their declining population[iii]. The species has undergone one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal and the zoo has supported conservation efforts in Africa for many years now, donating a total of £21,000 over the last 11 years.
They are listed on CITES[iv] Appendix I, this status is given to the world’s most vulnerable species and helps assist in the fight against illegal trade in live animals or their body parts and skins. There are estimated to be less than 750 mature Grevy’s zebra left in the wild today[v].
The species is managed within zoos through an international breeding programme, helping to maintain a healthy, viable ex-situ population. It is hoped that the active conservation efforts that the zoo has been supporting over the years will tackle the in-situ decline. However the management of the zoo population creates a ‘safety net’, with the potential for either captive bred animals or their genetic material being used to support the species in its native habitat should the species become critically endangered or extinct in the wild.
[i] European Association of Zoos and Aquaria
[ii] International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Data List
[iii] International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Data List
[iv] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
[v] International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Data List