It’s a double celebration at Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick, with the birth of two new zebra foals.
New mum Zena the Grant’s Zebra gave birth to the latest leggy addition this Monday (17 June), just weeks after half-sister Zara also welcomed a daughter – or ‘filly’ – to the Park’s small herd.
Both youngsters were quick to earn their stripes…. They could stand within 20 minutes of being born and could run within the hour – essential traits for escaping lions, cheetahs and hyenas in the wild.
Their distinctive stripes will gradually get darker as they grow older; this means individual zebras can create a confusing ‘maze’ of stripes to warn off potential predators when they gather together in herds.
The pair can now be spotted gambolling around the zebra paddock at the Lake District Wildlife Park, with visitors able to see them grazing from a specially made viewing platform.
Staff have also launched a competition to name the young female on their Facebook page and will be hoping to name the second new addition when they have confirmed its gender in the coming weeks.
Cover Keeper Hannah Loughmane says, “The gestation period for Grant’s Zebras is almost one year, so it’s been a long – but worthwhile – wait. Watching the two new foals exploring their surroundings is a real thrill for me and it’s fantastic to welcome them both in such a short space of time. Zebras are some of the most distinctive residents here at the Park and we know they will be very popular with visitors.”
In the wild, Grant’s Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi) live on wide open plains and inhabit the grasslands and savannahs of eastern and southern Africa. Classified as ‘near threatened’, they live in small herds led by a single male who measure up to 2.5 metres tall and can weigh in at around 385kg once fully grown.