From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Dr. Mark Penning
Although Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, Disney’s Animal Care team is continuing to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s black and white and cute all over. A Hartmann’s Zebra foal was born early Saturday morning (Mar. 21) to first-time-mom, Heidi… and we’re pleased to share the baby is a girl!
The foal, who has yet to be named, is about 65 pounds, and is quite strong – she was standing within 30 minutes of birth. Already very active and curious, this little lady is much like her mother and has very long legs.
Check out this video captured by one of our animal keepers to see a few moments of sweet mother-daughter time.
Heidi is showing she’s a natural at parenting skills as she stays close to her baby to bond with her and nurse. Bonding is especially important, as a young zebra will imprint on its mother’s scent and memorize the unique markings on its mother’s hind legs to tell her apart from the rest of the herd. In a few weeks, after the pair develop a strong bond, they will be introduced to the Kilimanjaro Safaris savannah.
The foal was born as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals. Her arrival marks the third zebra birth at Walt Disney World this year.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras are found in sub-Saharan Africa and are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and hunting. To learn more about zebras and other species we are working to protect, visit DisneyAnimals.com and follow me on Instagram: @DrMarkAtDisney.
With so many families at home together right now, we look forward to sharing more stories and insights about our animals and amazing cast who are caring for them. Keep an eye out for #bettertogether learning opportunities soon.