APRIL 14, 2011 -- There are a whole lot of stripes at the Saint Louis Zoo! Two Grevy's zebra foals born in recent months can now be seen in the Zoo's Red Rocks area with their mothers on mild days.
A little male, Asante, was born on Nov. 22 after a 13-month gestation. His parents are first-time mother, 7-year-old Laila, and father, 7-year-old Gao. The colt has been named Asante to honor the Zoo's partner working hard in the field to conserve Grevy's zebra in northern Kenya – the Grevy's Zebra Trust. Asante means "thank you" in Swahili.
Then on Jan. 14, a second foal, a female named Zuri was born to mother, Tiombe, and father, Gao. Zuri means "beautiful" in Swahili.
These significant births of a very endangered species are a result of global cooperation.
The Saint Louis Zoo's WildCare Institute supports conservation of the Grevy's zebra and other unique species in the Horn of Africa region. In the last 30 years, the number of wild Grevy's zebras has dropped sharply, from 15,000 to fewer than 2,200. Today the species is considered extinct in Somalia, but still exists in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia.
Researchers from the Saint Louis Zoo and Washington University are observing the zebra family as part of an ongoing behavior study which will provide valuable data for zoos and researchers in the wild.
The Grevy's zebra is native to the arid grasslands of Kenya and Ethiopia. It is the largest of all zebras, and its body stripes are the narrowest. Competition with livestock for food and water is the main reason for the decline in wild Grevy's zebra populations.
For more information, visit www.stlzoo.org.
Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo.