UTICA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Zecora the Hartmann’s mountain zebra gave birth to a baby girl on July 30 at Utica Zoo. The delivery of the foal seemingly went off without a hitch and the mother and baby appear to be in good health.
Utica Zoo’s Deputy Director of Life Sciences Jay Pratte, “The birth of a baby zebra is always significant, more due to the rarity of this subspecies in accredited North American zoos,” said Utica Zoo’s Deputy Director of Life Sciences Jay Pratte. “Zecora has been a staff favorite since her arrival last year, and her caregivers could not be more excited about this event. Everyone has fallen in love with our new little girl. Once we are confident that the foal is strong and stable enough to navigate the large zebra habitat, we will be happy to share her with everyone.”
Zecora and her daughter, who is not yet named, are not currently visible to visitors of the zoo. Gestation for zebras is 12 months; veterinarian teams were closely watching Zecora’s behavioral development over the past month. Her breeding was suspected to occur with a male zebra at her previous zoo.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras (Equus zebra hartmannae) are found in far south-western Angola and western Namibia in Africa. Their average lifespan is 20 years or more with the oldest mountain zebra under human care being documented at 29 years old, says the Utica Zoo.
The species is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Distinct numbers are not known in the wild, but there are currently only 75 Hartmann’s mountain zebras housed under human care in the United States, according to the IUCN.
In anticipation of Zecora’s arrival in 2021, a new barn and outside yards were built with enrichment, training areas and space for a growing herd. Additional renovations are planned for Rundue, the Hartmann’s mountain stallion who has a separate barn nearby at Utica Zoo’s African Ridge which also houses lions, hyenas and ostrichs.