Meet Zoo Atlanta’s New Star: Imara the Plains Zebra

January 2, 2024
1 min read
Meet Zoo Atlanta's New Star: Imara the Plains Zebra

Amid the fresh hopes of the New Year, risT brings a delightful addition to Zoo Atlanta. Meet Imara, a 2-year-old female plains zebra, the latest arrival to grace the zoo. Her journey to Atlanta, starting December 27, marks a new chapter both for her and the zoo.

Imara, whose name in Swahili translates to “solid” and “strong,” comes from an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facility. Her name, chosen by Zoo Atlanta’s Zebra Care Team, reflects not just her physical traits but her resilient spirit. Before Imara joins the African Savanna exhibit, she will undergo a routine quarantine period, ensuring her health and well-being.

Her relocation to Zoo Atlanta is not just a change of scenery. It’s a strategic move, recommended by the AZA Species Survival Plan. This program aims for genetic diversity and sustainability of animal populations under professional care. Imara’s arrival is particularly significant for Wembe, a male plains zebra who has been at Zoo Atlanta since September 2023. As social animals, the interaction between Imara and Wembe is eagerly anticipated.

But it’s not just about Imara and Wembe. Zoo Atlanta’s African Savanna is a hub of diversity, home to male reticulated giraffes Calvin and Lennard, and female ostriches Purple and Orange. This mixed-species habitat mirrors the communal nature of these species in the wild. The process of integrating Imara into this environment will be gradual, focused on careful observation and adjustment.

Sam Rivera, DVM, Vice President of Animal Health at Zoo Atlanta, shared the team’s excitement: “Zoo Atlanta is very happy to welcome Imara, particularly as a social companion for Wembe.” He also emphasized the iconic status of zebras in African wildlife and their role in illustrating the interconnectedness of life on the savanna.

The story of plains zebras like Imara is a bittersweet one. While once common in sub-Saharan Africa’s southern and eastern regions, their numbers are dwindling. Classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they face threats from habitat alteration and competition with domestic livestock. Zoo Atlanta’s African Savanna complex serves as a reminder of the delicate balance in these ecosystems and the role humans play in preserving them.

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