A zebra foal which was born on Valentine’s Day is set to meet visitors at Longleat over the Mother’s Day weekend. The tiny Grant’s zebra foal, which was born on February 14th after a year-long pregnancy, weighed just over 15kgs at birth. She is the second foal for proud mum Kimbia, who was also born at Longleat, and keepers are delighted with her progress so far.
Keeper Polly Yeo said: “It was a lovely surprise to have the foal actually arrive on Valentine’s Day. As a zebra pregnancy lasts 12 months the chances are she was also conceived on or close to February 14th which makes it even more special. Kimbia and her foal are pretty much inseparable at the moment as little Polly follows her everywhere,”
“We’re keeping them in a smaller enclosure within the East African Reserve while she gets introduced to the rest of the heard and fully integrated,” she added.
Zebra foals are born with a brownish tinge to their coat which is thought to assist them in camouflaging themselves against would-be predators. Since 2000 Longleat has been operating an alphabetical approach to naming their new arrivals.
As 2015 is the year for the letter ‘P’ has been named after her keeper Polly.
Grant’s zebra are a subspecies of plains zebra and there are thought to be approximately 300,000 left in the wild. At Longleat the 12-strong herd share their 60-acre East African enclosure with giraffes and ostriches.
This mirrors the situation in the wild where the combination of the giraffes height and eyesight and the zebras acute hearing offers mutual protection against predators.