July 4, 2008

Birth of Grevy’s Zebra at Denver Zoo AIDS Species Survival

By Bill Scanlon

Elliot the Grevy's zebra took a stand for his endangered species, getting up on all four of his wobbly feet just an hour after he was born at the Denver Zoo.

Zoo officials are celebrating the June 27 birth, saying it is a triumph for the species survival plan.

There are fewer than 2,000 Grevy's zebras in the wild - they're found only in northern Kenya and southeastern Ethiopia, and their habitat is shrinking.

Grevy's zebras differ from other zebras by their longer legs, narrower stripes, white stripeless underbellies and large rounded ears, zoo spokeswoman Ana Bowie said.

Visitors clamored to see Elliot, his mother, Topaz - a first- time mom - and his father, Punda.

"He's adorable!" 11-year-old Sara Graves, of Fort Collins, said. "I think he is really cute and unproportional. His legs are way too long for his body."

Elliot is the result of a breeding recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which aims to ensure genetic diversity of endangered species. The Denver Zoo helped save Grevy's zebras in the wild by providing vaccine during an anthrax epidemic.

Originally published by Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News.

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