2 Plains Zebras Debut at Lincoln Park Zoo

(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

Two young male zebras born in Florida have made their way north to Chicago this summer.

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Last week, Lincoln Park Zoo introduced the zebras to their outside space in the recently renovated Kovler African Savanna, which is modeled after the grassland savanna ecosystems of Africa.

The zebras, both 3 years old, are for the time being surrounded by fencing but will gradually be given more room to roam as they transition between their indoor and outdoor living areas, according to the zoo. Staff are able to use the temporary partitions in the outdoor space to manage the transition process.

“Once we make sure they know their way back into the building after coming out, we remove those barriers,” said Zoological Manager Laszlo Szilagyi in a post on the zoo’s website.

Partitions will also be used to introduce the zebras to their giraffe neighbors, allowing both animals to view each other through and over fencing as they ease into their shared habitat.

“These males lived with giraffes at their former home, too, so that won’t be a surprise to them,” Szilagyi said.

The zebras, which were born at Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach, Florida, belong to one of three zebra species: plains zebras, also known as common zebras. Plains zebras have a stable wild population in varied habitats from Ethiopia to South Africa, including in Tanzania, where Lincoln Park Zoo supports conservation efforts in the Serengeti region, the zoo said.

(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

Plains zebras live in highly social groups. Each harem is led by a stallion and alpha mare, but bachelor groups of zebras are also common in the wild, according to the zoo. Plains zebras prefer open grasslands and are migratory, with smaller groups forming larger herds that follow the rains, along with wildebeest and other migratory species.

In addition to at the Kovler African Savanna, the two new zebras can also be seen at the zoo’s Camel & Zebra Area, where members of another zebra species, Grevy’s zebras, also reside.

Grevy’s zebras are an endangered species and are large and stocky, compared to the smaller and more slender plains zebras, which are also distinguished by their black muzzles.

The new zebras will reach full maturity within about six months.

“They are still growing, but they do seem smaller if you’re used to viewing the zoo’s Grevy’s zebras,” Szilagyi said.

Contact Alex Ruppenthal: @arupp [email protected] | (773) 509-5623

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