Summer is in full swing at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and with it comes the births of plains zebra foal, twin urial lambs and a ring-tailed lemur youngster.
The babies and their mothers are all in good health. The female plains zebra foal is about a week old and is in the enclosure with is mother, father and two other females.
Plains zebras are regarded as the most common and geographically widespread of all the zebra species. Its range stretches from southern Ethiopia, through East Africa to as far south as Angola and eastern South Africa.
At present its conservation status by the IUCN is listed as one of Least Concern; however, it is being threatened by hunting for its meat and hide. It also competes with livestock for grazing area due to encroachment by farming on much of its natural habitat.
Did you know? A group of zebras is known as a ‘dazzle’?
Twin urial lambs were born two weeks ago. Urials are a subspecies of the wild sheep and are found in central Asia. What makes these sheep remarkable is that the males’ horns can reach a massive 1-metre in length. The horns curl outwards from the top of the sheep’s head turning inwards to end somewhere behind the head.
Urials are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to their decline through hunting, hybridisation and habitat deterioration.
The NZG houses three male and five female urials. The twins are a male and female respectively.The NZG is also thrilled to welcome a ring-tailed lemur baby that was born at the beginning of the month. These primates are listed as Endangered by the IUCN’s red List of Threatened Species due to habitat destruction as well as indiscriminate hunting. They are found in the dry forests and bush of southern and southwestern Madagascar.
The pup, as lemur babies are called, is carried by its mother on her back from birth and will start foraging at the tender age of two weeks and will be nursed by its mom for up to two years of age.