Zoo Knoxville welcomes endangered baby mountain zebra for holidays

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A rare mountain zebra is bringing glad tidings to Tennessee this Christmas season.

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Zoo Knoxville announced in a news release that the foal is the first mountain zebra to be born at the zoo.

The foal, part of an endangered species, was born to Lydia and Die Toekoms and is nursing and healthy, WATE reported.  The foal’s gender is yet to be determined, as zoo staff members are giving Lydia and the baby time to bond.

Zoo Knoxville had a happy surprise for the holidays-the birth of an endangered mountain zebra! The foal was born to...

Posted by Zoo Knoxville on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The foal’s gender is yet to be determined, zoo officials said, as staff members are giving the baby and its mother time to bond, the television station reported.

Zoo Knoxville is one of only 18 zoos nationwide whose staffs work with this species, which is native to southwest Africa, WBIR reported.

Due to habitat loss from farming and livestock production, officials believe only about 8,300 of the zebras remain in the wild, the television station reported.

“This birth is a goal we have been working and planning toward for several years,” Zoo Knoxville curator Petty Grieve stated in the news release. “It is our job to help ensure the survival of this species and it is exciting to see the impact our herd will have for the future.”