Is it a he or a she? It’s not all black and white at Wolds Wildlife Park

The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.
The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.

It’s just after 10 o’clock on Saturday morning at the Wolds Wildlife Park in Horncastle and the latest addition to the ‘family’ is definitely the star attraction.

Hercules, Charlie, Gobi and Zak are peering over the wall into an adjoining indoor enclosure.

The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.

The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.

As camels, you’d be forgiven for thinking the quartet might have ‘had the right old hump’ at all the activity...but nothing could be further from the truth.

They are as keen as anyone to see what all the fuss is about.

The aptly named Hercules (he’s the size of a London bus) even breaks off from munching through a mountain of straw.

In that adjoining enclosure, mum ‘Lucy’ is carefully tending her new-born foal.

The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.

The latest arrival at Wolds Wildlife Park. Picture: John Aron.

It’s a couple of days since the foal entered a brave new world...just as park owners Andrew Riddel and Tracy Walters were sitting down to a cup of tea!

Even before Andrew had time to ask for a ‘choccy’ biscuit, the foal was on its feet.

In the wild - and given the number of predators around - newly born zebras can’t afford to hang around.

Fortunately, Syas (a Bengal Tiger) and Mouse and Lorenzo (adult lions) are well out of the way.

Anyway, their next meal is due to arrive soon...in the back of a local butcher’s van.

Hercules would only be a threat if he fell on the newcomer.

Tracy and two keepers are looking at the foal with a puzzled expression on their faces.

The park has already suggested on its Facebook page that the foal is a she.

Now, they are not so sure.

“I think it’s a boy,” says Tracy who can call on years of experience dealing with horses.

“But I can’t see anything, you know, hanging down,” replies one of the keepers.

“I think it’s a girl,.” says the other keeper.

“I thought that when it was born - and I’m not changing my mind.”

Hercules looks like he isn’t bothered either way and returns to his pile of straw, casually flinging a mouthful in the direction of the photographer.

The foal was born at eleven minutes passed six on Thursday evening.

Tracey amits it was ‘fantastic’ watching it happen on CCTV cameras.

She explains: “Lucy (mum) has been really big for ages.

“We kept thinking today’s the day, but she kept us all waiting.

“We’d kept people updated on Facebook so everyone knew it (the foal) was due.

“Every time I went into Tesco in town, people were coming up to me and asking - ‘is it born yet, is it born yet?’”

It’s the third zebra born at the park - and the third by Lucy.

“I don’t think she’ll be having any more,” says Tracy, now on her hands and knees looking for any signs of the sex of the star attraction.

After a quick nose-rub from mum, he/she is quickly frolicking around like...well, a recently born zebra.

He/she is all legs with the type of spiky hairdo that would delight a trendsetting pop star.

Proud dad Toto is not too far away, but knows to keep his distance.

“What we need,” says one of the keepers, “is to see the foal weeing. Then, we’ll be able to tell.”

Frustratingly, the foal is not going to oblige...not in front of Hercules and other audience members.

If all goes well, the foal should be on view when the park opens to the public again from February 15 to March 1.

“He/she should be outside by then,” says Tracey. “Zebras don’t mind the cold, but we don’t let them out if it’s wet.”

The foal’s birth has created a massive response on Facebook with loads of ‘oohs and ahhs’ and ‘what are you going to call her (or him)?’

Apparently, it’s not the only newcomer.

Tracy reports the new baby capybaras (they’re from South America and are largest living rodents in the world) are also doing well. She’s ‘keeping mum’ about whether there are any other pregnancies.

Mind you, what else is there to do on a cold, wet night in Horncastle, especially if you’re a zebra or a capybara!