Two endangered zebras make public debut at St. Louis Zoo

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 2:27 PM

By Bruce Olson

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Two zebra newborns made their first public appearance on Thursday at the St. Louis Zoo, new additions to the endangered population of the biggest zebras in the world.

The two foals were born over the winter at the historic zoo, which has seen the births of 30 zebra foals during the last five decades. They were born in November and January from different mothers and the same father.

The species, the Grevy's Zebra, once roamed the grassy savannas of Africa, numbering 15,000 in the 1970s. The zoo said the population had dwindled to today's total of 2,200, landing the species on the endangered list due to competition with livestock over food and water.

The animals weigh 1,000 pounds when fully grown, have large heads and are the largest of the zebra species. They now survive in Kenya and Ethiopia as well as zoos around the world.

The newborns will be on display at the zoo's Red Rock exhibit whenever weather permits.

(Reporting and writing by Bruce Olson; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)