From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Dr. Mark Penning
Guests riding Kilimanjaro Safaris today got to see the miracle of birth and the magic of nature in stunning reality. Some lucky guests got to see the birth of a Hartmann’s zebra foal that was born on the savanna this morning. Estimated to weigh about 65 pounds, the healthy baby boy has long legs and was standing and nuzzling with mom within minutes of birth.
Mom Heidi is a parenting pro – staying close to her baby to bond and nurse. Bonding is especially important, as a young zebra will imprint on its mother’s scent and memorize the unique markings on its mother’s hind legs to tell her apart from others in the herd. In the coming weeks, the pair will rejoin sister Asha and the rest of the herd on the savanna.
The foal was born as part of the Species Survival Plan program, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of hundreds of animal species.
Today’s joyful arrival marks the first zebra birth at Walt Disney World this year. The resort is home to three distinct types of zebra: Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Grevy’s zebra and plains zebra. Though zebra may all be defined by their stripes, there are distinct stripe patterns that define each type. Hartmann’s mountain and Grevy’s zebras have stripes that stop right at the edge of their bellies, while stripes on common zebras wrap around the whole body. You can tell a Grevy’s zebra from a Hartmann’s mountain zebra by looking at their ears. They are larger on the Grevy’s zebra.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras are found in sub-Saharan Africa and are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and hunting. To learn more about zebras and other species we are working to protect, visit DisneyAnimals.com and follow me and my amazing team on Instagram: @DrMarkAtDisney.
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