When a little zebra baby named Diria lost his mom to a pride of lions in the Tsavo East National Park, the baby was left alone and defenseless. He managed to survive any attacks from lions by hiding with a local goat herd. Daria was briefly looked after by herdsmen before he was transferred to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Reintegration Unit.
Since the baby zebra’s arrival, the gamekeepers with the Kenyan wildlife unit have been pretending to be the zebra’s surrogate parent by wearing black and white striped clothes while they’re around him. They’re trying to give him as normal a rearing as possible, especially since zebras in the wild experience extremely close bonds with their mothers.
That is why little Diria’s caregivers are trying their best to overcome this potential problem by wearing long, zebra-printed outfits when they take care of him so the little baby thinks it’s his mom. Throughout the whole day, they will take turns accompanying Diria on walks in order to get him acquainted with the wild environment as well as helping him to make animal friends. While on these long walks, the caregivers will make sure that the little baby feels protected and secure. On top of that, they’ll always have an extra bottle on hand. Diria spends his nights safe inside a warm stable.
According to DailyMail, a spokesperson for the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust explained that the zebras will often live in very tight-knit families. As a result, the mothers and babies will often be extremely close – with the moms even going as far as separating themselves temporarily from the herd in order for their claves to imprint on them.
The spokesperson further stated, “Our team of caregivers are giving Diria the specialist 24/7 care he needs to give him the very best chance of survival. It’s an example of the extra mile our teams go to make sure these animals, that have already suffered so much, can pull through.”
The executive director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Rob Brandford, was happy to point out that the little zebra baby was really getting along well with the carers and was showing a great amount of affection – constantly nuzzling them. The zebra calf will be continuing under the care of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust until he’s old enough to survive on his own, and then he will be reintegrated out into the wild.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.