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Stripey the orphaned zebra finds happiness again after keepers dress up as its mother 

Ma and stripes: Stripey the orphaned zebra finds happiness again after keepers dress up as its mother

  • Stripey was orphaned after his mother was killed by a pride of lions at Tsavo East National Park in Kenya  
  • The youngster managed to survive the mauling by hiding himself among a herd of goats nearby 
  • He was then brought to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Reintegration Unit, where he lives now 
  • In the wild zebra calves are raised by their mother alone and the pair usually form a very strong bond 
  • Caring keepers wear a specially made black and white striped coat so that Stripey will recognise them as his ‘surrogate mum’ regardless of who is wearing it

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An orphaned baby zebra has found happiness once again thanks to his keepers who wear a black and white stripy coat and take it in turns to become his ‘surrogate mum’. 

Stripey had a traumatic start in life after his mother was killed by a pride of lions at Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.

Miraculously the youngster escaped the attack by hiding with a nearby herd of goats.

He was initially cared for by herdsmen, before being brought to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Reintegration Unit.

In the wild zebra calves are raised by their mum alone and the pair usually form a very strong bond.

As this isn’t possible at the unit, caring keepers wear a specially made black and white striped coat so that Stripey will recognise them as his ‘surrogate mum’ regardless of who is wearing it. 

Pictured: Orphaned baby zebra Stripey and one of his keepers, who wear a black and white stripy uniform to take it in turns to be the animal’s surrogate mother 

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket feeds baby Stripey milk from a bottle

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket feeds baby Stripey milk from a bottle 

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket feeds Stripey and another Zebra at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Voi Reintegration Unit in Kenya

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket feeds Stripey and another Zebra at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Reintegration Unit in Kenya 

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket pats Stripey on the neck at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Voi Reintegration Unit in Kenya

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the special jacket pats Stripey on the neck at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Reintegration Unit in Kenya

From dusk until dawn a keeper accompanies Stripey- as his mother would have done – providing comfort, security and regular bottles of milk.

During the day, he wanders around the unit getting a feel for his wild environment and interacting with other animals, and at night he sleeps in a warm stable.

A spokesperson for Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said: ‘Plains zebras live in close-knit groups and the bonds between mother and baby are especially strong. 

Pictured: A keeper wearing the special black-and-white striped jacket groom Stripey at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Voi Integration Unit in Kenya

Pictured: A keeper wearing the special black-and-white striped jacket groom Stripey at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Voi Integration Unit in Kenya

Pictured: A keeper wearing the special black-and-white striped jacket groom Stripey at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Voi Integration Unit in Kenya 

Stripey has found happiness once again thanks to his keepers who wear a black and white stripy coat and take it in turns to become his 'surrogate mum'. The baby zebra was orphaned after his mother was killed by a pack of lions

Stripey has found happiness once again thanks to his keepers who wear a black and white stripy coat and take it in turns to become his ‘surrogate mum’. The baby zebra was orphaned after his mother was killed by a pack of lions 

The young Stripey escaped the attack on his mother by hiding among a nearby herd of goats

The young Stripey escaped the attack on his mother by hiding among a nearby herd of goats  

‘Baby zebras need to be able to recognise their mother from birth to survive so mothers will often keep their fluffy newborns away from the herd to ensure their calves imprint on them, recognising their unique bar-code coat, call and smell. 

Once the calf can identify its mother, the duo will return to the herd.

‘Our team of caregivers are giving Stripey 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’. 

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the black-and-white striped coat feed milk to baby Stripey

Pictured: One of the keepers wearing the black-and-white striped coat feed milk to baby Stripey 

Pictured: Baby Stripey follows one of the keepers at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Integration Unit in Kenya

Pictured: Baby Stripey follows one of the keepers at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Integration Unit in Kenya 

Rob Brandford, executive director of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, added that Stripey, ‘is incredibly affectionate with his carers and, perhaps with the exception of his milk, loves nothing more than nuzzling into them as they comfortingly groom him.

‘With the help of our supporters, we are proud to be in a position to help this baby boy after such a traumatic start to his life.’

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will continue to care for Stripey until he is old enough and has the survival skills needed to reintegrate into wild populations in a protected area.



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