Disney’s Animal Kingdom Announces Two Brand New Additions
Disney’s Animal Kingdom announces two brand new additions to the cast of animals to their fold with the addition of a brand new baby zebra and new baby porcupine over the past few days. reminding us all that even during the most difficult of times, life still goes on. Although Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, Disney’s Animal Care team is continuing to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Let’s take an up-close and personal look at Disney’s Animal Kingdom two brand new additions. The first one is black and white and cute all over. A Hartmann’s Zebra foal was born early Saturday morning to first-time-mom, Heidi… and we’re pleased to share the baby is a girl!
The foal, who has yet to be named, is about 65 pounds, and is quite strong – she was standing within 30 minutes of birth. Already very active and curious, this little lady is much like her mother and has very long legs. Check out this video captured by one of the animal keepers to see a few moments of sweet mother-daughter time.
Heidi is showing she’s a natural at parenting skills as she stays close to her baby to bond with her and nurse. Bonding is especially important, as a young zebra will imprint on its mother’s scent and memorize the unique markings on its mother’s hind legs to tell her apart from the rest of the herd. In a few weeks, after the pair develop a strong bond, they will be introduced to the Kilimanjaro Safaris savannah.
The foal was born as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals. Her arrival marks the third zebra birth at Walt Disney World this year. Hartmann’s mountain zebras are found in sub-Saharan Africa and are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and hunting.
And in other baby news, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is also welcoming a brand new Baby Porcupine as the animal care team continues to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine.
The baby, known as a porcupette, was born to mom, Peri, on Feb. 25. If you’ve seen the One Day at Disney documentary on Disney+, you may remember seeing Peri participate in an ultrasound with Disney veterinarian Dr. Natalie. And after a long-awaited arrival, the team is delighted to welcome this cutie to the Disney family. Here’s a closer look:
Cast members like Walt Disney World Veterinarian Dr. Natalie provide continual care for Peri – from annual exams to pregnancy check-ups, the birth of her porcupette, and of course, post-partum care.
Porcupettes are covered in a fine red fur coat, but they’re also born with their tiny quills underneath, which begin to harden hours after birth. Those quills are actually what helped the team determine the baby’s gender. And guess what? It’s a girl! Coming to this conclusion required science and more than just a neonatal exam from the veterinary team. Prehensile-tailed porcupines have internal sex organs, so to determine the baby’s gender, the team actually had to send some of her tiny quills off to a lab for DNA testing.
As with all of our animals, there are plenty of big hearts caring for this little mother-daughter duo. Peri continues to thrive in her role as a mother, which is part of why she was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP). This program is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals.
Even in these difficult times for us all, thanks to the magic of Disney and nature, there is always something to smile and looking at these two brand new additions to the cast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is heartwarming to hear stories such as these. To learn more about zebras and other species Disney is working to protect, visit DisneyAnimals.com and follow Dr. Mark Penning on Instagram: @DrMarkAtDisney. What do you think about these two new additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and what are some other things you’d like to learn about from Dr. Mark and his team?