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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The public got its first look at one of the newest arrivals at the Louisville Zoo earlier today.
One Jan. 18, "Morena," a Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, gave birth to the first zebra ever to be born at the zoo. That five-week-old zebra -- which has yet to be named -- made its first public appearance Friday morning before dozens of delighted students and a handful of media.
"This is kind of a big deal for us," said Michael Jones, assistant curator of mammals at the zoo.
As onlookers watched in wonder, the baby zebra pranced around its pen -- generally staying close to mamma -- and even paused occasionally to check out a small pile of hay that had been left for it to eat.
Or to consider eating.
"Right now she's still on her mom's milk," Jones said. "Ironically, she started nibbling on hay the first day or two – she was doing that a little bit today – but she mostly nurses, and will nurse for quiet a while, but they will slowly start to eat solid foods."
Jones recalled the day the little zebra was born. In particular, he notes the phone call he got at roughly 2:00 in the morning -- and the excitement that followed.
"They called me at home, and I pretty much knew when the phone rang that was probably what it was," he said. "We were expecting her. But I remember coming in and – about two hours after she was born – she was running around the stall. I thought that was pretty interesting: to just hit the ground and not only be standing, but to be physically running around in circles!"
"At one point she even kicked her mom in the face!" he laughed.
All in all, he said mother and daughter are doing well.
"This one went perfect," he said. "It's about as easy as it gets from our end. She's doing everything she's supposed to. Mom's doing everything she's supposed to. So it's the best case scenario."
Kyle Shepherd, the zoo's media relations manager, said curators had to put the zebra back in its holding pen -- a heated barn with a yard, surrounded by a privacy fence -- but the general public should be able to view the zebra sometime next week.
The zoo plans to hold a contest this Spring in which it will ask the general public for help in naming the new zebra.
To view images of the zebra, click on the "filmstrip" above.