Conservation workers care for baby zebras by wearing special suits.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a leader in Kenya and Africa for 40 years, recently saved a baby zebra and named it Diria. They told her that her mother had died because lions had attacked her. Aime, a representative from the shelter, said, “We have no further updates at this time other than a list of experienced caretakers who continue to look after her, which includes feeding her milk, making sure she has a warm stable sleep in at night and being a protective “mother” presence during the day.” But she also tried to explain something that caught Diria’s eye in the photos: the clothes the caregivers wore. “When they are born, baby zebras need to be able to find their mother. A zebra mother will often separate herself and her baby from the rest of the herd so that the baby can learn her stripes and follow her scent, call, and coat.
“Once the baby knows who its mother is, they will go back to the herd,” Amie from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said. “In the wild, only the mother raises the calf, but in our Reintegration Unit, it’s not practical for a single person to raise a calf when they go on vacation once a year. So, to avoid leaving such a fragile impression on someone, our Guardians wear a specially made striped coat that Diria will recognize as her “mother,” no matter who is wearing it. “A team of caregivers can give Diria the specialized care she needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to give her the best chance of living,” Amie said. The special clothing gives the animal more confidence and makes it easier to adjust. This is a beautiful gesture that shows how much they care about the species here.