Zebra at Disney's Animal Kingdom Gives Birth to Healthy Baby Boy in Front of Park Guests
Walt Disney World, the most magical place on Earth, just got a bit more sparkle.
Dr. Mark Penning, the vice president of animals, science, and environment at Disney Parks, announced on the Disney Parks Blog that Animal Kingdom zebra Heidi recently gave birth to a baby boy.
Some lucky guests riding the Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris witnessed the Hartmann's mountain zebra give birth to her foal on May 17. The healthy newborn weighed 65 pounds at birth and was upon his hooves minutes after entering the world.
According to Disney Parks, Heidi quickly bonded with her baby boy and is keeping close to the currently unnamed foal so the newborn can nurse and nuzzle her with ease. Forming a strong maternal bond is especially important for zebras because "a young zebra will imprint on its mother's scent and memorize the unique markings on its mother's hind legs to tell her apart from others in the herd," Dr. Penning wrote.
In a few weeks, after the pair have had a good amount of alone time, Heidi and her son will join the Animal Kingdom's zebra herd, which includes Heidi's sister Asha.
This foal is the first zebra born at the Animal Kingdom this year. He is part of the Species Survival Plan program, which the Association of Zoos and Aquariums oversees. Disney's Animal Kingdom is home to three distinct types of zebra — Hartmann's mountain zebra, Grevy's zebra, and plains zebra.