Guests can now see Youka and Zalika, the female Grevy’s zebra foals born in April and May at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, at the park’s Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Youka, Laylee’s foal, was born April 26th, and Zalika, Zuri’s foal, was born May 1st. The foals carry the same stripe pattern as their respective mothers; zebra stripes are passed down from generation to generation.
Scott Terrell, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Director of Animal & Science Operations, remarked on the Disney Parks Blog that “Zuri hovers more over her foal Zalika, sticking close and keeping a watchful eye on her. Laylee has always been very curious and outgoing, and it seems her foal Youka is as well.”
The foals were born in accordance with the Species Survival Plan, a program devised by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums “to ensure a diverse, healthy population of threatened and endangered species,” according to Terrell. Grevy’s zebras are an endangered species, native to Kenya and Ethiopia. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, their population has declined 50% in the last 30 years, with approximately 2,000 mature Grevy’s zebras left in the wild.
Disney has supported the care and protection of Grevy’s zebras through the Imperiled Species Conservation Project (ISCP), which allows Disney cast members to support efforts to conserve species around the world. Recently, Disney sent two of their zebra keepers to the Great Grevy’s Rally, a population survey in Kenya, to participate in documenting of the total number of Grevy’s zebras in the wild. Later this year, Disney will send several cast members around the world to provide support for endangered species including painted dogs, dolphins, gorillas, Guam rails and kingfishers, rhinos, sharks and vultures.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail can be found in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, near Kilimanjaro Safaris. More information about Disney’s efforts to preserve the population of endangered species in the wild can be found at DisneyAnimals.com.