Skip to Content

Wildlife rescuers wear stripes to become ‘mother’ for orphaned baby zebra

As the whole world gets overwhelmed by the news regarding coronavirus, this story of a baby zebra foal in Kenya is definitely a breath of fresh air to everyone.

Recently, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust shared a post about a little zebra they rescued, which they named Diria. To gain the trust of the baby zebra, the rescuers wore a suit with zebra stripes, mimicking the look of the animal’s mother.

The baby zebra just went through a difficult time at a ranch bordering Tsavo East National Park where he was chased by lions along with his mother. Sadly, the lions killed the mother, making the little zebra run fast as it could to find a shelter.

Little Diria was lucky to be found by a group of herdsman and they allowed him to stay with their goats. Here, the baby zebra was given milk until it was brought to an animal rescue organization, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Because Diria was only an infant, he needed a lot of care and nurturing from his mother. This is why the animal shelter workers were giving him lots of milk and making sure he was well taken care of.

The wildlife rescuers at the animal shelter also had to be creative when taking care of Little Diria. Since baby zebras need to recognize their mother to survive, the rescuers came up with an amazing idea.

They started wearing a suit with zebra print when feeding and taking care of Diria so he would see them as his mom. This is also to prevent the baby foal from imprinting only one person. Apparently, Diria can’t be hand-raised by only one individual.

Amie, a representative from Sheldrick Wildlife Trust explained how baby zebras are able to recognize their mother.

“To learn its mother’s stripes, a mother zebra will often separate herself and her baby from the herd so that the baby can imprint–essentially recognise and follow her coat, smell, and call. Once the calf can identify its mother, the duo will return to the herd,” she said.

Amie also mentioned how the animal shelter uses proven and innovative solutions to prevent common wildlife problems such as habitat destruction, wildlife poaching and drought.

The amazing idea of wearing stripe suits helped the workers a lot while looking after Diria. The baby zebra foal quickly developed bond among the carers. He is very affectionate and comfortable around them. In return, the carers shower him with love and attention and feed him generously.

Vulnerable wild animals like Diria also need help and the animal shelter would appreciate donations to continue their mission of saving animals and giving them a better shelter.

“We know that during these uncertain times, it can be really difficult to consider donating to charity and conservation given the virus that is dominating the news right now.

But our mission is to continue to protect and preserve wildlife in Kenya and in practice, that means caring for individuals like Diria, which is wholly funded by donations,” Amie said.

They understand if anyone can’t donate but they would be glad if people can follow them on social media as they continue to share success stories and amazing accounts of the animals in the shelter.

Here is a video from the sanctuary as a caretaker feeds the zebra foal.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.