Abbey, a 14-year-old Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gave birth to a female foal Monday. This is the second foal for Abbey and the first for 11-year-old father Zack.
This is a significant birth for the species as Hartmann’s mountain zebras are threatened in the wild and there are less than 60 captive individuals in the North American Species Survival Plan (SSP). “The foal appears very healthy and Abbey is an excellent, experienced mother,” says Virginia Zoo veterinarian Dr. Amanda Guthrie. “We are optimistic that this youngster will thrive and be an important member of the Hartmann’s mountain zebra SSP population.”
Female zebras produce a single foal every one to three years, after a gestation of approximately one year. Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern and after giving birth the mother will position herself between her foal and the rest of the herd so that the foal will imprint upon her stripe pattern. The foal will stay with its mother for a little over a year before being weaned.
Abbey and the foal are being given plenty of time to bond behind the scenes before being introduced to the rest of the herd. Stay tuned for updates on the foal’s public debut.
About Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra
As their name implies, Hartmann’s mountain zebras are generally found on slopes and plateaus in mountainous areas. A fairly large-sized member of the horse family, they feature bold black stripes all over a narrow body and fast-growing hooves. The legs are striped to the hooves, and the belly is white. The widest stripes are seen on the upper hind legs. This species has suffered massive declines over the past century as a result of excessive hunting for its skin and loss of habitat to agriculture.
About the Virginia Zoo
The Virginia Zoo is home to more than 500 animals representing more than 100 different species. Founded in 1900 and residing on 53 landscaped acres in Lafayette, the Virginia Zoo has demonstrated a commitment to education and conservation for more than a century. The Virginia Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Visit www.virginiazoo.org or call 757-441-2374 for more information.