First male zebra born at Vic zoo in years

·1-min read

A Victorian zoo has welcomed its first male zebra foal in four years, and the aptly-named youngster has wasted no time showing his stripes.

The long-legged colt is up and walking under the watchful gaze of mum Zaide after being born at Werribee Open Range Zoo on Sunday.

He has been named Zintlanu, which translates to the number five in South Africa and Zimbabwe's officially recognised Xhosa language, as the fifth baby born to Zaide and father Melako.

The 225-hectare zoo in Melbourne's outer west is currently experiencing a zebra baby boom, with four born at the site in the past year.

Keeper Lance Weldhagen says it has been equally exciting and interesting to monitor the zebra foals at different stages of development interacting with one another in the savannah enclosure.

"Zintlanu has found his feet very quickly. He has very long legs, is very strong and healthy, and is drinking from mum," he said in a statement on Friday.

It is hoped the colt will form part of a regional breeding program, which aims to maintain a genetically diverse herd that can support conservation of wild zebras.

Plains zebras are native to Africa and classified as near-threatened in the wild, with their estimated population of 250,000 in decline due to threats such as agricultural farming, hunting, war and climate change-influenced droughts.

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