Wild Baby Grevy’s Zebra
Kenya and Ethiopia
It can be a bit confusing for a young zebra when it comes to telling mum apart from the other grown ups. This 1-month-old baby boy has been alone with his mother for the first weeks of his life, breathing in her scent, remembering her call, and counting her stripes. Now he’s with the herd and there are stripes everywhere, but he somehow knows who to follow. In the distance this baby can see other herds, without stripes, being led by humans- they seem to be taking over the watering hole, meaning he goes without.
With stripes as unique as our fingerprints, the zebra is an iconic member of African wildlife. Grevy’s zebra is both the largest and most endangered of their species; and is more closely related to the wild ass than the horse. Its name comes from the president of France, Jules Grevy who was given a zebra as a gift by the emperor of Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) in 1882. When a French zoologist met the gifted creature, he named it in honour of his president.
Zebras only give birth to one foal at a time, and these babies are born with the ability to walk nearly immediately. This is an essential skill, as they are at a very high risk of predators- and since they don’t hide, they need to be able to run! In the first few days after birth, a mother keeps her foal seperate from the herd as it imprints onto her, before they rejoin the group. The foals must learn their mother's pattern, vocalisations, and scent; and in the first few days of their life, they will follow anyone if the mother isn't careful. However, once the foal has imprinted, they will occasionally be left together in ‘kindergarten’, while the mother goes in search of water. These groups of foals protected by an adult, often a territorial male, and a mare. The rest of the time, the foal will follow his mother wherever she goes- learning what to eat, and the migratory routes of the herd throughout the seasons.
Grevy’s zebra is a very important part of the ecosystem on the dry, semi-arid scrub and grasslands they call home. Grazing with many other creatures such as antelope and wildebeest, the zebra helps them all out by taking off the hard, dry ends of the grass that the other animals can’t digest. They're also well adapted to the limited water supplies of their habitat. Unlike their cousins the plains zebra, who needs lots of water, Grevy’s can go 5 days without a single drop!
Grevy’s zebra has seen one of the biggest declines in their environment out of any African animal. With more and more land being converted to grazing pastures for livestock, the zebra has to compete for both food and water. Because of this, the survival rate of young zebras is very low. In the past 30 years, the population has dropped approximately 54%. In Ethiopia, the main threat is hunting, primarily for their skins but also for their meat and use in medicines.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
Through public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. With this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love, and with love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these babies you can adopt them and help them via the WWF: > Click here: www.wwf.org.au
If you are interested in buying Wild About Babies related art, you will also be directly helping real babies in the wild with 30% going to WWF to continue their fantastic work for animals conservation: Click here to browse art > https://gillieandmarc.com/collections/wild-about-babies
ABOUT GILLIE AND MARC
Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted public artworks can be found worldwide including in New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, and Sydney. They are Archibald Prize finalists, won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, took out the Allens People’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2018 and Kids’ Choice Award in the 2016 Sculpture by the Sea and received the Bayside Arts Festival People's Choice Award in 2019 in Sydney.
The husband-and-wife duo are on a mission to make art for a better tomorrow. They are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together as best friends and soul mates.
Gillie and Marc are also passionate eco-warriors and have dedicated their lives to protecting nature.
Gillie grew up with the wildlife in Zambia and Marc studied chimpanzees in Tanzania as a young man. Over time, the artists developed a deep appreciation for all living things and a desire to preserve the magnificence of the natural world.
Through their art, Gillie and Marc aim to transform passive audiences into passionate advocates for animal conservation. Their mission is to use their work as a platform to continue spreading awareness about endangerment, which will ultimately lead to change and save species from extinction.
Their art has raised hundreds of thousands in donations for the many wildlife charities and causes they support through their project Love The Last.
Please follow @gillieandmarcart