Zebras earn their stripes on long journey to Darling Downs
THEY mightn't change their stripes, but the newest residents at the Darling Downs Zoo have dealt with a distinct change in habitat.
The Darling Downs Zoo at Pilton has just imported 10 young zebras from Texas - a collection that has been in the works for six years.
The zebras left Texas in the midst of a cold snap sweeping the United States, in a climate of about minus 11 degrees, only to be greeted by 40-degree weather on the Darling Downs.
Zoo director Stephanie Robinson said she was relieved to have the zebras in the zoo, with a change in import health protocols with the spread of equine flu stretching out the process.
"They aren't getting as heat stressed now - the first four or five days, we had a hose on them virtually all day, keeping the whole stable complex cool," she said.
"They're somewhat more stressy than horses - there's no domestication whatsoever, they're really a pack animal. As long as they stay with the pack, they're fine. But as soon as one stresses, 10 stress."
Mrs Robinson said the zebras would be out of quarantine in three weeks time, after which five will depart for zoos in other states.
"They're doing well, starting to become confident in their surroundings, even with the lions making noise," she said.
"As soon as they went into a little yard, quite heavily grassed … they literally ran in and kicked up their heels.
"It's quite unusual not to lose zebras - in transit like that, they stress themselves, that's why we've had people over there the whole time. We're very proud of that.
"Some of them are really sweet, and quite handle-able and almost cuddly - others are a little more standoffish."
The zebras can now be viewed by the public at Darling Downs Zoo, Pilton.