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Baby zebra born at Idaho Falls Zoo just in time for opening day

Idaho Falls

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Ayana, the baby plains zebra with her mother Autumn at the Idaho Falls Zoo | Courtesy Idaho Falls Zoo

IDAHO FALLS — When the Idaho Falls Zoo opens for the season Saturday, a days-old baby zebra will greet visitors.

Ayana, a plains zebra, was born Tuesday, just in time for the opening day. David Pennock, director of the Idaho Falls Zoo, said having this new little addition to their zoo means a lot to staff, who have been working hard to get ready for opening day.

“Getting ready to get open is an extremely challenging thing. It takes an awful lot of people who work extremely hard to do it. The best part about it is knowing the response that we will get from the community because of the hard work,” Pennock said.

Having the birth of the zebra is part of a worldwide conservation project led by zebra experts across the world, Pennock said. He said right now the zoo is supporting a conservation project at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.

“It means that when this baby was born, it was a step forward in providing a healthy, happy, genetically viable population of zebras,” Pennock said.

Ayana is the offspring of the zoo’s beloved Oblio, who passed away last winter from complications associated with old age. Pennock said Oblio has fathered zebras in zoos across the country and having his last foal is one way to keep him part of the zoo.

“His legacy at the zoo is all across the county,” Pennock said.

He said says over the past several years, the “best little zoo in the West” has averaged more than 144,000 visitors.

“People love the zoo. They love to meet new wonderful animals like our little Ayana, and we think we are going to have a lot more surprises coming during the course of the season,” Pennock said “The animals are extraordinary. You can see them up close and personal.”

Ayana can be seen daily with the other zebras in the exhibit. However, the little zebra will have to stay inside the barn if the weather is poor.

The zoo is the home to 330 animals, representing 130 species from around the world. More information about the zoo can be found at its website.

Opening day for the Idaho Falls Zoo begins at 9 a.m.

Eric Grossarth,