Maneless zebras

There used to be plentiful amount of maneless zebras in northern East Africa, from Kenya to Sudan. But they have almost completely disappeared from that area, with scientists only aware of about 150 animals in Uganda's Kidepo Valley National Park. Currently there could be as many as 500 animals in Kidepo according to the latest estimates. Thanks to the Czech experts an additional population has been confirmed in the Pian Upe Nature Reserve as of 2019. The population of maneless zebras in human care was only established thanks to their early import to Dvůr Králové that is why Safari Park Dvůr Králové has also been involved in their conservation in the wild since 2019.

Safari Park Dvůr Králové representatives have been involved in expeditions to visit the sites of the last occurrences of the maneless zebra in Africa in 2019, 2020 and 2022, to help with their identification and population estimates. Safari Park DK works closely with Liberec Zoo on these expeditions and both zoos are planning further financial, material and scientific support. Both zoos have even signed a memorandum of cooperation on the joint rescue of maneless zebra, in 2021. In addition to all the efforts to protect the maneless zebra in its African homeland, the two gardens are also intensively focusing on stabilising the population in human care.

Currently, there are approximately 40 animals living in zoos, most of them in the Czech Republic. The first maneless zebras were brought to the world's zoos by Josef Vágner, the former director of the Safari Park Dvůr Králové, from his three legendary expeditions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then, over 160 cubs have been born in, some of which have established breeding facilities in other zoos. Therefore the population in human care is based on the offspring of the Safari Park DK breeding. However, over the years without an active coordination, breeding in other gardens has declined and fragmented. Only the joint activities of Czech and Slovak zoologists brought the well needed change.

The Safari Park and Zoo Liberec have been working on the systematic rescue of the maneless zebra together with other specialists for several years. Gradually, it has been possible to gather breeding animals scattered around Europe into promising herds and to establish new breeding groups. Thanks to the patient efforts and diplomacy of Czech and Slovak zoologists, 11 zebras have been moved to potential partners in recent years and breeding groups have been established at Pilsen Zoo, Prague Zoo, Košice Zoo and Bojnice Zoo. This gives a great hope for the future.

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