Prado “mothers” a Baby Zebra in Nairobi… by Dave McKelvie

Posted on February 4th, 2011
Categories: News

Not long ago I had an amazing experience, I had a guest here and it was a very hot day.  I had told him not to expect much as it was middle of the day.  Near No 7 dam we saw some Zebra acting funny, I decided to go back and investigate. We went along track near No 7 dam to the inner dam and right next to the dam was a baby zebra about 20m away.  We sat and watched it for a while, now at this point I diversify, my wife thinks I am completely mad, I personally think that I can do a good impersonation of a zebra sound, not the donkey-like “hee haw”, but the spluttering sound they do when in a herd and contented. Suzy just laughs her head off, doubting Thomas that she is. Hand on heart it works.  Proof of pudding was today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well I did my zebra splutter and lo and behold abandoned foal answered with a feeble neigh.  It then came staggering towards us, not too good on its feet, we surmised it was only a day old maybe two max.  Within a few minutes our “friend” was up against the car, rubbing itself and even allowed my guest to pat it.  I was lost for words, OK maybe that’s a first.  Now we were in a predicament, what do we do with this animal that has decided we are its mother?  I called the park warden and reported the problem, he must have thought we were mad, in fact he couldn’t believe what I was telling him, I’m sure the short answer was leave it to nature, but he said pick it up and take it to nearest herd and hopefully it will find its mother. 

At which point it lay down right next to the car, so close I couldn’t get the camera to focus.  So the do gooders got out of the car, muggins patted it, picked it up and handed it to guest and told him to sit with it on his lap until we got to the herd.  It was fine until he tried to get back into the car, which was too much for the baby zebra, and it struggled, the guest put it down and it again stood next to car.  Now what?

“OK let’s drive and see if it follows, we can then head to nearest heard and voila problem solved”.  Bugger me… it followed. We drove slowly with baby zebra hanging on to our exhaust pipe.  Mad or what??  It’s about 100m to the bridge and main road, now coming down road are 2 cars and a mini bus, all open mouthed and cameras out, clicking away and asking “why is a baby zebra following you”  long story blah blah.  As we passed each vehicle, baby zebra sniffed each one and decided to stick with “mum”!!!  All vehicles turned and followed us.  

Eventually got to 10m from the nearest herd and stopped, thinking fine, our friend would decide striped version more attractive than shiny metal one, but no way was she leaving our side!!!  Big problem, we then decide to zoom off and leave it behind with its own kind.  Everyone else thought good idea; they all left and finally so did we.
We sped off, looked in rear view mirror and baby zebra hot on our tail, bloody hell!

So really put foot down and left it to nature, out of sight, definitely not out of mind, but hopefully ok with its own kind!!!!!!!  Definitely don’t want to think otherwise