Zoo welcomes new baby in Queensland first
BABY fever has gripped the Darling Downs Zoo this Spring, with one little guy in particular causing quite the stir.
One of the zoo's zebras went into labour on Monday night and delivered Queensland's first zebra foal by sunrise on Tuesday morning.
Zoo director Stephanie Robinson said staff were thrilled to see both baby and mum Zara doing well, and expected the newcomer would join the herd within a couple of days.
"Mum's being perfect, you couldn't ask for a better mum," she said.
"She's doing everything that's asked of her (and) protecting bubby from all the others.
"She protects him initially for the first few days so she gets to know the bub, bub gets to know her and they try to stay away from the family for a few days."
Zara's baby is yet unnamed as zookeepers are still to determine its sex but Ms Robinson is reasonably confident it's a boy.
He'll remained unnamed until they can figure out his personality and come up with a fitting title.
Ms Robinson added the zoo was expecting another baby soon, with zebra Savannah due to give birth at any moment.
"We can't believe she hasn't dropped," she said.
"We've been going 'It's any day now' for months with (Savannah) and then Zara went and dropped hers first.
"But the pregnancies of zebras, of all equines, is not something you can predict the length of, so (pregnancies) could be anywhere between 11 and 15 months."
By Wednesday, the baby was dutifully following his mum around the zoo's enclosure at Pilton, wobbling slightly on spindly legs as he went through the motions of walking, running and scratching himself.
Ms Robinson said things move fast for the little zebras.
"Bubby's up and about within one to two hours," she said.
"The foal needs to be able to join the herd with mum so it's all very quick."
The timing of his arrival has been impeccable with Queensland families heading into their second week of school holidays.
Ms Robinson said she expected the zoo's visitors to be every bit as delighted as their staff were.
"Any baby is gorgeous so you can expect that everyone's going to be going 'Oh yay!', just like all of us," she said.
"Babies are always exciting."
The zoo has also welcomed three other babies this Spring; a wombat, a camel and an antelope.