LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 1, 2013 – Sporting black and white stripes, there’s a new addition to the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. In October, the team welcomed a rare, baby Hartmann’s Mountain zebra.
The filly and her mother are bonding well and doing fine after the yearlong gestation. Disney’s animal care team, including veterinarians carefully monitored the mother throughout her pregnancy.
Typically found in mountainous regions of southwestern Africa, the species is characterized by a striking pattern of narrow vertical stripes covering its head and body. The species is considered endangered, with only 50 Hartmann’s mountain zebras in the United States and an estimated 7,000 throughout the world.
Disney’s Animal Programs team is actively involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for this critical species. The team is proud to have a successful birth of a rare species.
The Hartmann’s mountain zebra is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species, which determines the risk of extinction to animals. The zebra’s endangerment continues due to experience of loss of habitat in their native Africa.
Just a few fun facts about zebras:
- With three species of zebra, they can be distinguished by their stripes: plains zebras have wider stripes that wrap around their bellies. The Hartmann’s Mountain zebras have thinner stripes that don’t extend around the belly.
- No two individual zebras look exactly alike.
- Most scientists believe that the zebra’s stripes may serve to break up the outline of the zebra’s body in the herd and provide some camouflage when the zebra is standing in tall grass.
- The Hartmann’s Mountain zebra can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to eight and a half feet.
- Mountain zebras eat mostly grass, bark, leaves and tree and shrub shoots. Though they prefer mountainous regions for their habitat, they are known to move to lower elevations to graze in cold weather and seek shelter in caves or wooded areas.