Werribee Open Range Zoo has welcomed the birth of its first male zebra in four years.
Colt Zintlanu (pronounced Zint-lan-oo) — meaning number five in South Africa’s Xhosa language — is the fifth baby for mom Zaide and dad Melako.
Zintlanu was born on Sunday 9 January.
The arrival follows the birth of three other foals, born in the past 12 months during a zebra baby boom at the zoo.
Werribee Open Range Zoo savanna keeper Lance Weldhagen said it was an exciting time to see zebra foals interacting at different stages of development.
“It’s great to see the foals interact, develop life skills and grow together,” said Mr. Weldhagen.
“Zintlanu found his niche very quickly.
“He has very long legs, is very strong and healthy and drinks from mom.”
Amanda Embury, senior manager of animal welfare and life sciences at Zoos Victoria, said the birth of Zintlanu would provide an important future breeding male to support the near-threatened species.
“It is important for any successful breeding program that breeding pairs produce both male and female offspring,” said Ms Embury.
“Having male and female foals represents the typical group structure for wild zebras.”
“The birth of Zintlanu also provides more social opportunities for Werribee Open Range Zoo’s growing herd.”
Visitors to Werribee Open Range Zoo can watch Zintlanu and the other zebra foals roam the savanna on an all-day bus tour, which is included with admission.
Visitors also have a great chance to see Zintlanu during the zoo’s special after-hours wildlife experience, Sunset Safari.
Plains zebras are native to Africa and classified as near threatened in the wild.
Their population of 250,000 is shrinking, with major threats such as competition from agriculture, hunting, war and drought due to climate change.
The zebras at the Werribee Open Range Zoo are part of a regional breeding program to maintain a genetically diverse herd that can support the conservation of wild zebra populations.
Zoos Victoria members and zoo visitors must pre-book their tickets online at zoo.org.au
All cardholders aged 18 and over must provide proof of their complete COVID-19 vaccination and follow state government instructions.