DES MOINES, Iowa – After eight years, the Blank Park Zoo has brought back zebras for visitors to enjoy.
According to the Blank Park Zoo the zebras left in 2011 so new barns could be constructed.
Blank Park Zoo Large Mammal Keeper Bekka Laverenz said the current zebras are native to the southwest part of Africa.
“Their hooves are made for climbing on more rocky terrain. They are more pointed and the hooves grow more faster to keep up with that wear and tear,” Laverenz said.
Leverenz said they are Hartmann Mountain Zebras.
Their names are Duke and Duchess. They are part of the species survival program at the zoo.
“We’re hoping to maybe one day in the future have a little zebra baby,” Laverenz said.
There are around 33,000 zebras in the wild right now. The animal is on the vulnerable list, meaning they are not endangered but people are keeping an eye on numbers to continue to grow the population.
Des Moines Resident Ashley Erickson said she loves, “Their stripes and I love their eyelashes.”
Blank Park Zoo visitor Sara Cline said she and her son Liam have been to the zoo three times to see the zebras this summer. “They’re new. They’re exciting. I don’t know…everyone loves the zebras.”
You can tell the difference between Duke and Duchess by looking at their manes and stripes on their neck.
“Duchess she has her stripes on her neck kind of make a perfect necklace and her mane is also pretty straight. It kind of stands up nicely. Duke, his stripes on his neck are a little bit more jagged and his mane flops over a little bit,” Laverenz said.
The zebras are currently on display Tuesday, Thursday Saturday, and Sunday.
The zebras are currently being introduced to a pair of ostriches in the hopes they can share the same enclosure. Once the animals are comfortable with each other they will be on display at the same time.