Kenya. To handle an orphan zebra, caregivers put on a particular jacket


A shepherd and his herd of goats rescued an orphan zebra calf in Kenya. Thanks to the rescue, love and care the zebra calf received from an animal rights group, he has a great chance of returning to the wild one day.

This zebra is called Diria, he arrived at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya shortly after being rescued from a lion attack. The lions killed his mother, and when the orphaned zebra instinctively ran in the opposite direction, he found himself in a herd of goats. The herder took the orphaned animal to the Kenya Wildlife Service, who then handed it over to the organization’s rehabilitation unit.

After Diria’s arrival, the caregivers took care of him like a mother would with her little one. “Zebra calves need to be able to recognize their mother from birth to survive,” explained Rob Brandford, director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The mother zebra is often separated from the herd with her baby so that it learns to recognize its mother’s coat, scent and call. Once the zebra can identify its mother, the pair return to their herd.

Without Diria’s mother, the keepers had to take care of the zebra calf. « In the wild, zebra calves are reared only by their mothers, but in our reintegration unit, it’s not practical for someone to raise Diria if they have to take their annual vacation, » says Brandford.

“To prevent this fragile newborn from ‘imprinting’ on just one person, our caregivers are wearing a specially designed jacket that Diria will recognize as his ‘mother’, no matter who is wearing it. Thus, a team of healers can provide Diria with the care he needs 24/7 to give him the best chance of survival.”

“The keepers regularly feed him milk and at night Diria sleeps in an enclosure to protect him from predators. When he is older, it is hoped that Diria will be able to return to the wild, and that he will reintegrate with the herds of wild zebras that live alongside the Reintegration Unit. »

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