Werribee Open Range Zoo has welcomed the birth of its first male zebra within four years.
Colt Zintlanu (pronounced Zint-lan-oo) – meaning number five in the Xhosa language of South Africa – is the fifth baby for mother Zaide and father Melako.
Zintlanu was born on Sunday, January 9.
The arrival follows the births of three other foals, who were born during a zebra baby boom at the zoo over the past 12 months.
Werribee Open Range Zoo savannah keeper Lance Weldhagen said it was an exciting time to see zebra foals during differing stages of development interacting with one another.
“It’s wonderful to see the foals engaging with each other, developing life skills and growing together,” Mr Weldhagen said.
“Zintlanu has found his feet very quickly.
“He has very long legs, is very strong and healthy, and is drinking from mum.”
Zoos Victoria animal welfare and life sciences senior manager, Amanda Embury, said the birth of Zintlanu would provides an important future breeding male to support the near-threatened species.
“For any successful breeding program, it’s important that breeding pairs produce both male and female offspring,” Ms Embury said.
“Having male and female foals represents typical group structure for wild zebra.”
“Zintlanu’s birth also provides increased social opportunities for Werribee Open Range Zoo’s growing herd.”
Visitors to Werribee Open Range Zoo are able to see Zintlanu and the other zebra foals roaming the savannah while on a bus tour, which runs throughout the day and is included in entry.
Visitors also have a wonderful opportunity 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 in decline, with major threats including competing with agriculture, hunting, war and droughts caused by climate change.
The zebras at Werribee Open Range Zoo form part of a regional breeding program to maintain a genetically diverse herd that can support conservation of wild zebra populations.
Zoos Victoria members and zoo visitors must pre-book their tickets online at zoo.org.au
All ticketholders 18 years and older are required to provide proof of their full COVID-19 vaccination and follow state government directions.