Grevy’s Zebra Foal Dies at Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo is mourning the loss of the Grevy’s zebra foal born on July 4th.

A preliminary exam showed the foal most likely died from a spinal injury. “Yesterday, during morning animal health checks, the young zebra was found lying next to his mother. At this point initial radiographs show a fracture in his cervical spine, however we are uncertain of the nature of the injury or how he sustained it,” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoological Operations. “Zebras as a species can become easily startled and, sadly, young zebras have a high mortality rate.”

“The foal was born to first-time mom Anna, who was attentive to him day and night,” Tygielski said. Staff observed Anna and the youngster on Sunday exhibiting normal behaviors including the foal running and jumping as he explored his surroundings. There was no unusual behavior seen in either staff observations or camera recordings.

“In a very short time, he won everyone’s heart with his spirited energy. The animal care team is taking the unexpected loss very hard. The last two months of Anna’s pregnancy, the team monitored her around the clock and post-pregnancy worked to provide a calm, quiet environment for mom and foal,” Tygielski said. “A full necropsy will be performed to learn as much as we can and whether the foal had any underlying conditions.”

The zebra care team is keeping a close eye on Anna following her loss. At this time she is spending more time interacting with her keepers and will transition to spending days with her companion Ben, a male zebra, soon.

The Zoo has had a challenging summer with a prolonged closure due to COVID-19 precautions and the recent deaths of two of its beloved and elderly animals. “We are so grateful to the community for their support and encouragement during this difficult time,” said Nancy Kluge, Reid Park Zoo President and CEO. “My heart goes out to our staff and especially our animal care professionals who give their all each day to ensure that every animal at Reid Park Zoo receives quality, loving, and uninterrupted care.”

Grevy’s zebra are endangered with fewer than 2,000 of the species remaining in the wild. Reid Park Zoo participates in Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan, a partnership organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to promote genetic diversity in the zoo populations and to protect against depletion of the wild population and its habitat.