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NEWS: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Zebra Foal

With all of the uncertainty right now, it’s comforting to know that life still goes on. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, even though the park is closed to guests, the Disney Animal Care team is working to provide care to the animals that call the park home. This week the team welcomed a new addition to the Disney animal family. Catch all the details below.


Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Dr. Mark Penning:

Although Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, Disney’s Animal Care team is continuing to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s black and white and cute all over. A Hartmann’s Zebra foal was born early Saturday morning (Mar. 21) to first-time-mom, Heidi… and we’re pleased to share the baby is a girl!

On March 21, 2020, the animal care team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed a new female Hartmann’s mountain zebra foal to the herd. The 65-pound zebra was born to mom Heidi (pictured) and was up and moving just a few minutes following her birth. (Disney)

The foal, who has yet to be named, is about 65 pounds, and is quite strong – she was standing within 30 minutes of birth. Already very active and curious, this little lady is much like her mother and has very long legs.

Check out this video captured by one of our animal keepers to see a few moments of sweet mother-daughter time.


Heidi is showing she’s a natural at parenting skills as she stays close to her baby to bond with her and nurse. Bonding is especially important, as a young zebra will imprint on its mother’s scent and memorize the unique markings on its mother’s hind legs to tell her apart from the rest of the herd. In a few weeks, after the pair develop a strong bond, they will be introduced to the Kilimanjaro Safaris savannah.

Credit: Disney

The foal was born as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals. Her arrival marks the third zebra birth at Walt Disney World this year.

Hartmann’s mountain zebras are found in sub-Saharan Africa and are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and hunting. To learn more about zebras and other species we are working to protect, visit and follow me on Instagram: @DrMarkAtDisney.

With so many families at home together right now, we look forward to sharing more stories and insights about our animals and amazing cast who are caring for them. Keep an eye out for #bettertogether learning opportunities soon.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Things You’ll Love About Africa in Animal Kingdom 

by Cindy E. Nykamp

It’s no secret that I love Animal Kingdom Park and that I think it should be a stop on everyone’s itinerary (Here’s why). Once inside the park, Africa is by far my favorite section. I could spend hours here (and I have). The theming is everything and more that you expect from Disney! It feels so authentic and I love it. Here are the 5 things I love about Africa in Animal Kingdom Park.


5 – Zuri’s Sweets Shop

The sweetest shopping destination at Animal Kingdom is Zuri’s Sweet Shop. If you are looking for some unique and tasty desserts, then you’ll want to stop in for almost 80 products, including Africa-themed cookbooks and housewares. The shop is right behind Mombassa Marketplace and across the street from Harambe Market.

Zuri Sweets

4 – Harambe Market

Harambe Market is a fantastic dining option in the Animal Kingdom and is located in the ever-expanding African Village of Harambe. Harambe Market is actually multiple food counters with unique offerings at each stand. The flavors are very similar to what you would get at either Boma of Tusker House, just in counter service form. If you are a fan of either of these restaurants, then Harambe Market will be a great quick service choice for you. For more information about Harambe Market read our 7 Things You Need to Know About Harambe Market.


3 – Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Kilimanjaro Safari exits into Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail where you can explore and interact with many different animals. Follow the trail along winding paths where you’ll be treated to exotic animals and birds in their natural habitats. The gorilla habitat is my absolute favorite place to visit. First, you find the “family” group. You’ll be treated to three young gorillas. You’ll be treated to many young gorillas, the youngest having been born on May 1, 2019. It’s such a treat to see these young gorillas close up. Follow the path over the bridge, and you’ll get to observe the “Bachelor group” of five male gorillas. With playful and unique personalities, the gorilla habitat could provide hours of entertainment over and over.

Note: You do not need to ride Kilimanjaro Safari to explore the trail. To go directly to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, walk past the entrance to the Safari and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You’ll be walking against traffic, but don’t worry. The Trail entrance will be ahead on your right.


2- Kilimanjaro Safaris

If you love animals, then a ride on the Safari is a must. The sheer size of Kilimanjaro Safaris is terrific. The Safaris, at roughly 110 acres, occupies almost the same area as the entire Magic Kingdom Park. That size allows guests a way to observe and interact with animals like never before. We’ve had giraffes come up right to the truck. At the end of the safari, you’ll be treated to a Pride Rock type habitat with the lions. You may not see a lion every time, but when you do, it’s a real treat.

Tip: Have your cameras ready by putting them in a “sport” or “action” mode. If you have more controls on your camera, then make sure to choose a high shutter speed since this ride is very bumpy! Click away, and you may find a real winner in the bunch!

1 – The Lion King Festival

The Festival of the Lion King is hands down the best Disney show. Ever. This is not an opinion; this is a fact. 🙂 The stage production, dancing, and singing inspired a Broadway show, but this one is good enough to be on Broadway. There is something about that show that makes me cry almost every time we see it. ‘Amazing’ doesn’t begin to describe it. You won’t want to miss this incredible show!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!