Toronto

What's black and white and needs a name? The Toronto Zoo's new baby zebra

A baby zebra nicknamed "Baby Stripes" is the latest addition to the Toronto Zoo.

'He's a growing boy,' zookeeper says of rare Grevy's zebra born on Feb. 13

The zoo is considering four names for this little guy: J.J. or Jake Jr., T.J., Chewy, or Obi. (Submitted/Toronto Zoo)

A baby zebra nicknamed "Baby Stripes" is the latest addition to the Toronto Zoo.

The black and white male foal, a Grevy's zebra, was born on Feb. 13 in the early morning hours. Proud parents are Tori, an eight-year-old Grevy's zebra, and dad Jake, 11. 

"He's a pretty big kid," Kim Welfle, a keeper in the African savannah at the Toronto Zoo, said on Tuesday.

"He's eating a lot and I'm sure he's a growing boy."

The baby zebra weighed 47.8 kilograms on his second day of life. He has not been weighed since then because the zoo wants him to have uninterrupted time with his mother to develop a "strong bond."

'He's a very hungry kid'

Zebra stallions, however, can weigh up to 450 kilograms, or under 1,000 lbs.

Welfle said the baby zebra is mainly nursing but has been mouthing hay given to his mother and herbivore cube ration formulated at the zoo. 

"He's a very hungry kid," she said.

The zebra is Tori​'s third baby. She gave birth to Leia in January 2014 and Rey in July 2016. All three were sired by Jake.

Currently, the baby zebra is living in a barn at the zoo and will be introduced to the public later this year. 

"Right now, it's a little chilly. He's not going to be on exhibit quite yet, but when the weather warms up, he'll definitely be viewable to the public come spring," she said.

The baby zebra is spending time developing a 'strong bond' with his mother. Here they are together in a barn. (Submitted/Toronto Zoo)

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the species is considered endangered with a global population of only 2,800. 

On its Facebook page, the zoo invited members of the public to vote on names for the newborn.

Zookeepers have provided the following choices:

  • J.J., or Jake Jr., in honour of dad Jake. 
  • T.J., in honour of mom Tori and dad Jake.
  • Chewy, in keeping with the Star Wars theme of other family members, Luke, Leia, and Rey.
  • Or Obi, another Star Wars name.

Voting will close on Sunday, March 10 at 11:59 p.m. The most popular name will be announced on Tuesday, March 12.

Grevy's zebras are primarily found in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Over the past 30 years, their population has declined by about 70 per cent. Major threats facing Grevy's zebras are loss of grazing habitat, reduced access to available water sources, competition for resources, hunting and disease.

This baby zebra, right, was born at the Toronto Zoo on Feb. 13 in the early morning hours. (Submitted/Toronto Zoo)