Plzeň, West Bohemia, Aug 3 (CTK) – The Plzeň Zoo has started to breed the maneless zebra, thereby joining the world efforts to save the most endangered zebra subspecies, of which only 300 currently survive in the savannahs of northern and northeast Uganda, zoo spokesman Martin Vobruba told CTK Monday.
In captivity, about 34 specimens live in just 11 zoos across the world, he said.
Maneless zebra breeding started in Europe in the first half of the 1970s when this species was brought to Europe from Africa by Czechoslovak expeditions led by the east Bohemian Dvur Kralove Zoo director Josef Vagner.
At present, its population stagnates and is threatened with gradual shrinking. “It is high time for us to do more for these animals,” Vobruba said.
He said Czech and Slovak experts cooperate in an effort to reverse the maneless zebra population decline. They want most of the specimens in captivity to be placed in Czech or Slovak zoos.
“Already now, Czechia is the world stronghold of these zebras. Maneless zebra herds comprising the offspring of the Dvůr Králové zoo’s original herd can also be seen in the zoos of Prague, Liberec (north Bohemia), and Kosice (east Slovakia) now,” Vobruba said.
He said the Plzeň zoo acquired the first two mares and a stallion in late July. They replaced the previous long-lasting and successful local breeding of Champan’s zebras, which have given birth to over 70 offspring in the zoo since 1974. The zoo recently transferred its last five Chapman’s zebras to other zoos in Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland.
The maneless zebra derives its name from its reduced mane, which almost every one of the species loses at the age of two to three.