Park News

Cotswold Wildlife Park celebrates the birth of its fiftieth Zebra foal and the only birth of its kind in the UK this year

December 2023

Cotswold Wildlife Park has welcomed a rather significant addition to the Chapman’s Zebra family. The birth marks a milestone in the Park’s history. Not only is the newborn the tenth breeding success for parents Stella and Spongebob, but she is also the fiftieth Chapman’s Zebra to be born at Cotswold Wildlife Park – a remarkable achievement and testament to the Park’s commitment to its breeding programme.

50th Zebra Foal (Photo credit: Philip Joyce)

In addition to this wonderful news, Cotswold Wildlife Park is the only zoological collection in the UK to successfully breed this iconic African species this year. The adorable foal has been named Flora by her keepers. Visitors can see the youngster alongside her family in the Zebra enclosure opposite the large Rhino paddock.

Flora the 50th foal with mum Stella (credit Education & Conservation Officer Beth)

Cotswold Wildlife Park has been home to these legendary African mammals since 1972. Early archive records state that the first pair of Grevy’s Zebras (pictured below left) were purchased from Copenhagen Zoo in 1971. The friendly male was “exceedingly trusting for a stallion Zebra”. The pair went on show to the public for the first time in March 1972 and made the national press when a photographer captured an incredible action shot of one of the new Grevy’s Zebras fearlessly chasing a White Rhino around the paddock (pictured below right). The first Chapman’s Zebra (Equus quagga chapmani) arrived at the Burford collection in 1978, eight years after the Park first opened to the public in 1970. They have been an integral part of the collection for over fifty years now and even replaced the Park’s original Red Panda logo in the 1980s and has remained its logo ever since.

First Grevy's Zebra pair at the Park (from 1971 official newsletter). Archive photo of a fearless Grevy's Zebra chasing one of the Park's original White Rhinos

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said: “Repeating successes can be tricky when breeding animals, so to have reached the milestone of fifty foals since we opened is a real triumph for all the dedicated keepers, past and present, who have cared for our Zebras over the years at the Park”.

The energetic foal has been attracting the attention of visitors with her incredible speed galloping around the paddock. Speed is vital for survival as they need to outpace predators such as Lions and Hyenas in the wild. Zebras can reach speeds exceeding 35 miles per hour when running across the African plains. Foals are up on their feet soon after birth and can run with the herd within a few hours of being born.

Zebra foal running (credit Rebecca Louise)

In 2023, in addition to producing the UK’s only Chapman’s Zebra foal, Cotswold Wildlife Park became the only zoological collection in the UK to breed the critically endangered Greater Bamboo Lemur. It was also the only collection in the world to breed Mexican Leaf Frogs and became the second zoological collection in history to have achieved success breeding these rare amphibians. Lastly, the Park celebrated another first in August – the birth of two White Rhinos in the space of just one week. Cotswold Wildlife Park has now bred an impressive eleven Rhino calves in eleven years.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens