A LUCKY zebra is set to jet out on an extended holiday with a difference.
Twenty-month-old foal Tebogo, a resident at Blackpool Zoo, is set to take the trip to Landau Zoo, in Germany, as part of a programme designed at emulating the way a zebra of his age would live in the wild.
In their natural habitats of Angola and Namibia Hartmann’s Mountain zebras, which is Tebogo’s breed, leave their mother at around his age to join same sex groups until they are old enough to breed.
Tebogo will live with another male in Germany until the age of around five, when the European endangered species programme will place him with a female group in the hope he will breed.
Sofie Fawzy, Blackpool Zoo’s Senior Large Mammal Keeper, said: “Tebogo has a very boisterous and cheeky personality and it has been a pleasure to see such a lively young foal running around.
“Of course we knew the time would come when he would have to leave us to carry on his development as he would in the wild but we will all be very sad to see him go.
“I am immensely proud to be part of the team that broke a nine year absence of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra births in the UK last year and we have enjoyed every minute of watching him flourish here at Blackpool Zoo.
“We will certainly be keeping up to date with Tebogo as he grows up.”
Tebogo was one of only 26 foals to arrive across the world during 2011.
Since then there have been just two other foals born in the UK and the current number of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras in captivity in the UK is just 16.
Current studies indicate that this number could decline by more than 10 per cent in the next 25 years due to an increase in hunting and loss of natural habitat to agriculture.
Tanya Langenhorst, the international studbook keeper and European breeding programme co-ordinator, said: “The birth of this foal was hugely important and wonderful news for the breeding programme and Blackpool Zoo as it adds not only another foal, but two more proven breeders to the European population.
“I hope Tebogo will settle in very well in Germany and look forward to seeing him become an independent young male.”