Zoo to establish breeding program as part of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Species Survival Plan.
Three endangered Hartmann’s mountain zebra arrived at Zoo Knoxville on Friday, April 20, 2018. The zoo plans to establish a breeding program as part of a collaborative effort of accredited zoos to save them from extinction.
The zoo’s herd is made up a stallion and two mares, all under the age of 3 years old. The zebra have some maturing to do before they are ready to breed, but the zoo anticipates having foals on the way in 2019. The gestation period for zebra is 12 months.
Mountain zebra are classified as “threatened”, and only 8,300 wild zebra remain in Africa. Their numbers are declining due to livestock production and farming activities such as fencing that prevent access to water. In their native Namibia, there is commercial trade in Hartmann’s mountain zebra skins. Mountain zebra are reportedly being harvested at a rate of about 2,000-3,000 per year, which may exceed their rate of population growth.
Zoo Knoxville is one of only 14 zoos working with this species as part of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). There are approximately 60 mountain zebra in the care of U.S. zoos.
“We have a finite amount of space, so we carefully consider the animals we care for and prioritize based on which species are in the greatest need of our help. The arrival of this mountain zebra herd begins a new chapter in the work Zoo Knoxville is doing to save animals and we are excited to tell their story,” said Phil Colclough, director of animal care, conservation and education.
The zoo’s new zebra will be on public view in the near future after an acclimation period to their new home and routines. Their public debut will be announced on Zoo Knoxville’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media feeds.
Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit zooknoxville.org.