Werribee Open Range Zoo has welcomed the birth of its first male zebra in four years.
Colt Zintlanu (pronounced Zint-lan-oo) – which means number five in the Xhosa language of South Africa – is the fifth baby born to mother Zaide and father Melako.
Zintlanu was born on Sunday, January 9.
The arrival follows the birth of three more foals, born during a zebra baby boom at the zoo over the past 12 months.
Lance Weldhagen, savanna keeper at Werribee Open Range Zoo, said it was an exciting time to see zebra foals at different stages of development interact with each other.
“It’s wonderful to see the colts engaging with each other, developing life skills and growing together,” Weldhagen said.
“Zintlanu found his bearings very quickly.
“He has very long legs, is very strong and healthy, and drinks from mum.”
Amanda Embury, senior director of animal welfare and life sciences at Zoos Victoria, said the birth of Zintlanu would provide an important future breeding male to support near-threatened species.
“For any successful breeding program it is important that breeding pairs produce both male and female offspring,” Ms Embury said.
“Having male and female foals represents a typical group structure for wild zebras.”
“The birth of Zintlanu also provides increased social opportunities for the growing herd at Werribee Open Range Zoo.”
Visitors to the Werribee Open Range Zoo can see Zintlanu and the other zebra foals roaming the savannah on a bus tour, which lasts all day and is included with admission.
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 competition with agriculture, hunting, war and droughts caused by climate change.
The zebras at 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 should pre-book their tickets online at zoo.org.au
All ticket holders 18 and older must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and follow state government instructions.