New zebra filly is a Rey of sunshine

Toronto Zoo's new baby zebra is possibly named after the Star Wars character, definitely adorable
zebra filly mom Rey is a brand new filly born to six year-old Tori at the Toronto Zoo. (C. Thompson/Toronto Zoo)

Baby animals.

That's really all anyone needs to say to get someone else's attention. "Hey, look. Over there. Baby animals."

Zoos know this better than most people. That's why it's always a big deal when a new cub or foal or kit or pup is born. And it's extra important when the baby animal in question is an endangered species. And it's even more fun when that endangered baby animal may or may not be named after an awesome Star Wars character.

So everyone, look. Over there. It's Rey, the baby zebra.

Born in July

zebra filly
Rey, you're already getting so big! (K. Haider/Toronto Zoo)

The new filly was born July 26th to Tori, who is six years old. Tori has already given birth to another filly back in January 2014 named Leia (again, Star Wars!). Rey and Leia's dad is a zebra named Jake. Rey was walking within 10 minutes of being born. According to the zoo, she has already developed a strong and confident personality. Zoo officials say that visitors will be able to see Rey as she will periodically be out on display.

Endangered due to hunting

Rey and her family are Grevy's zebras, which is a rare breed native to Kenya and Ethiopia. There are only about 2,000 of them left in the wild. It is also the largest breed of wild equine (equines are horses and horse relatives). The zebras were hunted in very large numbers in the 1970s, and by 1986 they had been placed on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as a threatened species. Today, the zebra also faces problems due to a lack of grazing areas and water sources.

"The birth of Tori's filly is a great opportunity to spread the word on the plight of Grevy's zebras in the wild," says Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, in a Toronto Zoo press release. Now we know that a lot of people have complicated feelings about animals in captivity. But it would definitely be a duller world without the chance to enjoy the birth of other animals like Rey. Welcome to the world, little filly!

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