Baby zebra born at small Manitoba petting zoo
A petting zoo in western Manitoba is celebrating the birth of a baby zebra.
The foal was born last week at Westwood Ranch, a small petting zoo near the community of Kola.
Owner Mark Humphries brought in three zebras — a stallion and two mares — from a British Columbia petting zoo that was closing down in February.
One of the mares was pregnant and Humphries thought it was due to give birth around July 1 but it was "hanging on and hanging on. We could see him kicking in there but it didn't want to come out."
They kept checking on the mare and then one day, the baby was there and walking around.
Humphries said it's not that difficult to care for a newborn zebra because its "mom does most of the work, all we've got to do is make sure he's safe."
He said the mom was a little clumsy at first "but she's got the hang of the job now."
And Humphries isn't entirely new to the job. He had a zoo, with zebras, in the United Kingdom before he moved to Canada.
He said they're a bit trickier than a horse — smarter and quicker, and they can kick in an instant — but the care is much the same.
The foal is being kept inside for the time being but will soon be going out, Humphries said, but noted it can already be viewed by visitors.
There have been lots of visitors curious to see the little guy, he said, adding the feeling seems to be mutual. The foal has been going up to the glass to look at visitors, too.
"He knows, I think, just how cute he is. He comes to the fence and lets everybody know it, every day," said Humphries. "He's a bundle of fun."
Humphries started his business as a garden centre and greenhouse about three years ago. He later expanded to include a petting zoo with common farm animals.
This past winter he added exotic animals, including llamas, lemurs, wallaroos, emus, ostriches and peacocks.