IT’S less than a month since Taronga Western Plains Zoo welcomed a zebra foal into the herd and now another has joined the ranks.
Named Zina, which means free spirit in Swahili, the little lady is fitting in nicely with the rest of the herd.
Keeper Carolene Magner said Zina was very strong and robust and would remain fluffy until she weaned off her mother’s milk.
Khari was born a month ago, but already Zina is about the same size.
However, Khari has more brown in her coat, a throwback to her father’s genetics, Ms Magner said.
As the two get older they’ll start to interact more.
“Initially when the foals are born they stay very close to mum because they need to be recognised by smell and by their stripes,” Ms Magner said.
“As they get a lot stronger they tend to stray a little bit farther away.”
The mother of the newest foal Zina is the sister of Khari’s mother, so it was nice to see the family unit develop, the keeper said.
Khari – meaning ‘like a king’ in Swahili – was the first offspring for mum Neema, who was also born at the zoo.
The zebra heard is currently at nine, but Ms Magner said there were another two on the way.
“We’ll have four little ones by summer for sure,” she said.
The zoo generally kept the females, Ms Magner said, but the fate on the males would depend on where they were needed for breeding.
And despite only being new, the zebra duo are already a big hit.
“Because we had school holidays recently the kids have been really excited about the little babies,” Ms Magner said.
“They're a hit. It doesn't matter what it is, everyone loves new life.”
Both mothers and the foals were doing really well, the keeper said.
There’s been a baby boom at Taronga Western Plains Zoo lately.
Earlier in the year there were four giraffes born.
At the time keeper Simone Low said the four calves were a testament to the zoo's breeding program.
“Four births in the one year, so close together, it just shows how comfortable and relaxed the giraffe are. And it's bringing crowds in which help us educate people," Ms Lowe said.
There has also been a greater one-horned rhino, a Przewalski's Horse and nine African wild dog pups.