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12 / 06 / 2020
Baby Zebra born at Wild Place Project

A baby zebra has been born at Wild Place Project helping to safeguard the future of this near threatened species.
 
The little foal, called Vera, arrived just after midnight on Sunday (June 7) and is the first baby zebra to be born here.
 
It is a huge boost for our staff since closing on March 20 and we are now preparing to welcome visitors back.
 
Staff are working hard behind the scenes finalising weeks of work to implement a host of new measures, including essential buying of tickets online in advance for timed entry slots, to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.
 
Our animal manager Will Walker said: “Every birth is special but this one is particularly special during this difficult time.
 
“She is a lovely foal and we are looking forward to our imminent reopening when people can come and see her.”
 
Vera, who stands about a metre tall, has been named after Dame Vera Lynn and her memorable Second World War song “We’ll Meet Again” which the Queen referred to at the end of her recent lockdown broadcast.
 
The foal’s stripes are currently brown and her fur is much fuzzier than her parents’ but it will darken in time. Mum Florence, who is 10, is being very attentive, along with five-year-old dad, Peter.
 
Will said both Florence and Vera were doing very well indeed. He said: “Vera began suckling very soon after she was born and was walking around within a matter of minutes. Florence is being a good mum so all the signs are very encouraging.”
 
Vera is a plains zebra which are classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Their numbers are in decline in their native Africa due to hunting and loss of habitat.
 
Will said: “Her birth will hopefully help to raise awareness of the future of this near threatened species as their population in the wild continues to fall.”
 
The three zebra live in Wild Place Project’s Benoue National Park exhibit alongside three giraffe, red river hogs and eland.

The exhibit links to an ongoing field conservation project in Cameroon to save one of the few remaining populations of Central African Kordofan giraffe left in the wild. Experts from Bristol Zoological Society, the charity that owns and runs Wild Place Project and its sister attraction Bristol Zoo Gardens, have been undertaking a critical research programme to map the habitat and conduct a population census of some of the remaining Kordofan giraffe in the wild using drone technology.
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