ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - What's black and white and making her public debut?
A female Grevy zebra foal named Makena.
'We always love babies here at the zoo,' says Kim Downey, a Keeper of Antelopes at the St. Louis Zoo. 'It's one of the great aspects of being a zookeeper.'
Born June 22nd, today was her first day in front of the public.
But her birth wasn't a surprise; it was part of the zoo's association with the species survival plan.
'Grevy zebras are critically endangered in the wild,' says Downey. 'They come from portions of Kenya and Ethiopia and over the last 30 years or so they've declined from about 15-thousand zebras to just under two thousand.'
Makena is the only one making herself known on the St. Louis scene.
There is a new Nyala named Monsoon and an Addax named Elsa and another named Heath.
'It's about 13 months and then they give birth to one baby typically,' says Downey. 'The babies can range about 80 to 125 pounds. Makena was 120 pounds when we did her baby check.'
But the zookeepers here aren't the only ones checking up on Makena.
Researchers from Washington University are also keeping tabs on her stripes.
'We have researchers that observe the behavior of our zebras so they can use that information they gained to help conservation work here in zoos and in the wild as well,' says Downey.
There are no grey areas when it comes to the Grevy zebra's black and white stripes.
'Actually it's a great camouflage,' says Downey. 'So as they're standing still in the grasslands the stripes actually break up their pattern so it's harder for a potential predator to spot them.'
Stripes not spots will set this little zebra apart when you stop by the red rocks area at the zoo.
More summer babies at the Zoo include:
- A female lesser kudu named Esther. She was born on June 28th
- A female lowland nyala named Monsoon born June 10th
- A female addax named Elsa
- A male addax named Heath
- Two red kangaroo joeys -- they were born in December 2013 and were the size of lima beans.