The Cape May County Zoo has a new addition — “Lydia,” an 18-month-old female Grant’s Zebra, according to a press release.
She came to the zoo from the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minn., and is joining the herd as a mate for “Ziggy,” the lone stallion at the zoo.
She will be the fourth female to join the herd, with “Gretta,” “Gracie” and “Zuri.”
Zebras do not form permanent herds, but rather loosely associated groups and are social animals, with smaller harems consisting of one stallion, a few mares and their offspring, the release states.
Grant’s Zebra are the smallest of the seven subspecies of African Plains Zebra. Habitat loss and civil war have reduced this species historical range and they are facing population declines. This subspecies represents the zebra form of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. In zoos, Grant’s Zebras live around 40 years, and in the wild up to 20 years.
In announcing the arrival of the Grant’s Zebra, Dr. Alex Ernst, associate zoo veterinarian, said, “Lydia’s arrival at the Cape May County Zoo is part of the Species Survival Program (SSP) and her breeding success will be a small, but crucial contribution to the future of her species.”
Lydia and the herd are located in the Savanna area of the zoo and can be viewed every day. The Savanna covers approximately 57 acres that is accessible by a raised boardwalk that takes visitors through a forest of native vegetation with watchable wildlife platforms and educational markers that identify and describe the animals and their behavior.
“Programs, like the Species Survival Program (SSP) that the Cape May County Zoo participates in, are designed to optimize genetics through breeding and help ensure that these species won’t be threatened with extinction,” Ernst added.
Grant’s Zebras can weigh between 485 and 700 pounds, with a shoulder height of 4 to 4 1/2 feet. The males on average are 10 percent larger than their female counterparts. Zebras have excellent eyesight and hearing and can run up to 40 mph. It is believed that they can see in color.
Cape May County Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the Cape May County Park and Zoo, said of the new addition, “We welcome the arrival of Lydia to our herd of zebras and look forward to her becoming part of the zoo family. The work our veterinarians and zoo staff do in the area of the Species Survival Program is remarkable.”
Hayes continued, “The impact they have made in the worldwide conservation efforts is a huge source of pride for the Board of Commissioners and the residents of Cape May County. Our zoo is an asset to the county as not only one of our best attractions, but as a resource for our children. This is just one of the programs the zoo is involved in.”
The Cape May County Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the winter. The Park is open daily from 7 a.m. until dusk. Masks are required and social distancing protocols must be followed for the safety of visitors, staff and the animals.