Brevard Zoo celebrates arrival of newborn endangered zebras

Zebra foals born June 1, 30

(Courtesy) "Iggy’s baby is doing well!" (Brevard Zoo)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Animal care staff at Brevard Zoo excitedly shared news Friday that a second of their endangered Grévy’s zebras had given birth to a foal.

The latest new mother, 11-year-old Iggy, delivered in the early hours of June 30, the zoo said.

About a month prior on June 1, animal care staff said their 8-year-old zebra Lauren gave birth to Brevard Zoo’s first-ever baby zebra, another foal, according to an earlier news release.

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Both news releases describe how the mothers and their foals are spending time behind the scenes in order to bond, mimicking the behavior of wild Grévy’s zebras which typically separate from the herd with their own offspring. The yet unnamed baby boys appear healthy, both weighing between 80-90 pounds and covered head to hoof in the species’ characteristic narrow stripes.

(Courtesy) Iggy's foal. (Brevard Zoo)

Grévy’s zebra is an endangered species due to hunting, habitat loss and competition for resources from domesticated livestock, the zoo said. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the species has undergone a more than 50% population decline in its last three generations, decreasing from an estimated 5,800 wild Grévy’s zebras in the 1980s to about 2,800 now.

While animal care staff said they considered all zoo births important, the arrival of these foals has reportedly made zookeepers “especially excited” due to the species’ worrisome conservation status.

The foals were conceived as part of a Species Survival Plan breeding program for zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In this case, both were sired by a 9-year-old Grévy’s zebra named Bakari who arrived at Brevard Zoo in 2020, animal care staff said.

The zoo promised to keep interested parties updated on the critters, who will eventually be viewable with their mothers in Expedition Africa.

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Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.