This brave mother zebra risked her life to protect her pony after the wicked father tried to drown him in a watering hole when he learned the child was not hers. The baby is seen upside down as the male holds it underwater at a lake in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
But the baby managed to get up and run away from the attacking father, starting a life-and-death chase. Male zebras regularly kill mares mated by other males to assert themselves as the dominant male in the herd and to ensure that they do not become future rivals.
Killing the young of a female also frees her up to be a potential breeding partner. The mother tries to shove the male away to protect her, which runs towards the bushes.
It’s unclear if the horse survived the encounter as the footage was cut after one minute and 50 seconds. The video was shot by Daniel Tjärnén, a wildlife enthusiast, who called it a ‘once-in-a-lifetime sight’.
He said: ‘We drove to this waterhole, hoping to get some good visibility and especially hoping to see some predators. As always with mother nature, trying to predict what you will see in the bush is never easy. More often than not, you’re taking shortcuts!
We suddenly noticed that a zebra was actively attacking a foal. It was a bit shocking at first but then I thought – that’s nature’s way. Many people are watching the other reaction and want to help the pony.
Mr Tjärnén added: ‘After a long battle between stallions, mother and foals, the zebras disappeared behind the trees. I think the baby survived for the time being, but it appears to be injured. It may have been chased away or was later killed by a passing predator. ‘
Game ranger Richard de Gouveia says it’s not uncommon for males to try to kill a rival’s offspring at the reserve. He added that the zebras would sometimes even go as far as stealing each other’s offspring.
He added: ‘If the captured female is pregnant, the new male will rape her until she has an abortion.
‘The abortion will be done by releasing hormones that cause her body to reabsorb the fetus or miscarry or if she gives birth to a live mare, it will be kicked to death by the male.’