April 14, 2011 / 7:09 PM / 8 years ago

Endangered zebras make public debut at U.S. zoo

Florence (L), a Grevy's zebra foal, stands next to her mother Emily, during a photocall to announce her successful birth in July at Edinburgh zoo, Scotland September 4, 2008. REUTERS/David Moir

ST. LOUIS, April 14 (Reuters Life) - Two newborn zebras made their first public appearance on Thursday at the St. Louis Zoo, new additions to an endangered population.

The two foals were born over the winter at the historic zoo, which has seen the births of 30 zebra foals during the last five decades. They were born in November and January from different mothers and the same father.

The species, the Grevy’s Zebra, once roamed the grassy savannas of Africa, numbering 15,000 in the 1970s. The zoo said the population had dwindled to 2,200, landing the species on the endangered list due to competition with livestock over food and water.

The animals weigh 1,000 pounds (454 kgs) when fully grown, have large heads and are the largest of the zebra species. They now survive in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as zoos around the world.

Reporting and writing by Bruce Olson; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune

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