Zohra, the remaining Namib foal

Pitted against the predatory intentions of a spotted hyena clan, the day to day existence of the Namibs is perilous.  The situation has been hotly contested polarising the conservation community – there are those who are for the hyenas and support a policy of non-interference and those who strongly feel obligated towards relocating the horses to a place of safety, or moving the hyena.  The debate has been going on for years without much action from the conservation authorities until recently when the plight of the horses became critical.  Meetings were held between Minister Shifeta from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Wild Horses Foundation last month with the MET concluding they would draw up a draft management plan, with further consultation “BY THE END OF MAY.”

Meanwhile as the weeks pass there is collective anxiety over the welfare of the remaining foal.  Checking the latest Namibia Wild Horses Facebook post she is still alive and doing well.  Named Zohra, – in Persian translates as “flower blossom” or in Arabic “Venus, jewel of the sky” which is so aptly descriptive of the white flash on her forehead.

Returning some months to the scenes on 22 February we watched, poised at the viewing site above the waterhole as pairs of horses came into view.  The first little foal looked very vulnerable, staying close to mother’s side –


We learned that it had been attacked by spotted hyenas (an injury which looked to be healing, was visible just above the belly on the left side), though it appeared to be coping.

As they moved off after drinking at the waterhole, the little one fell behind, lagging some distance.  Concern for it’s well being was justified as shortly afterwards this precious creature did not survive.

The second foal was smaller than the first, coming in on ungainly legs.  There she was – little Zohra with her mother Zen.

Into the waterhole she trotted, getting under underfoot and not quite too sure where she should stand.

If you’re interested in more information a good documentary by CNN is here.     Or follow the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation on Facebook for the latest updates.



21 thoughts on “Zohra, the remaining Namib foal

    1. Yes, let’s hope so…. the Foundation will keep pushing – the part they play has a strong influence on the MET. Fingers crossed that the hyena are moved, or the horses relocated.

    1. Yes, lets hope so. The NGO fighting on behalf of the horses will keep up the pressure. They have been wanting to relocate the horses to an area where they will be safe from predators. Waiting to see if that is the viable outcome.

  1. Thank you Liz, for the post and the video. I know that wild horses are struggling everywhere to survive with so many complications and issues to overcome, I do hope that a long-term solution is found to save this beautiful herd of Namib, especially since the little one lost its precious life.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Laura. Yes, so hope that a long-term solution is found. The herd is a popular tourist attraction which may well work in their favour and influence the Ministry to ensure their survival. Fingers crossed!

  2. Oh my this is heartrending to a horse lover such as myself. These horses are surviving in a harsh environment and I know that horses are capable of doing that in other parts of the world. It would be good to know however that something can be done to help these horses survive. If their numbers become too diminished they will perish. Thank you for posting this.

    1. It’s so interesting to see other comments coming in on wild horses in other parts, the Takhi in Mongolia, the Nokotas, the Andalucian Retuertas…. those incredible white horses of the Camargue. I’m hopeful that the Namibs will survive given the commitment of those who are fighting for their continued safety and this awareness of the fragility of these wild creatures.

    1. There’s a collective hope that’s swelling their survival rate…. and the MET is being pressured into action…. fingers crossed that these incredible animals beat the odds.

  3. Oh Liz what a lucky sighting for you, how beautiful it must have been to witness the horses, and the little foals. Let’s hope the powers that be do something in time to save Zohra, and the rest of the horses. Beautiful photos.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Alison. Their sense of wildness really conjures up existential imagery. But their plight grips the heart. Yes, lots of hope pinned on those watching out for their welfare!

  4. Usually |the gmail option allows wordpress posts to be read offline via inbox, but the images do not load. It’s oftentimes nice to first read the narrative and later see the images – like now! I was very anxious to see this post in its entirety.

    Thank you for being such a kind and sensitive person, and for sharing your love for our natural world.

    1. Appreciate your comments, thanks Lisa. Changes are happening on such a large scale where life is threatened and hangs in the balance that one can get so caught up in the personalised detail – the visuals of a story can really get a hold of one’s heart! Hope springs up though, there are people out there making a difference….

      1. Yes, I go through periods of incubation after reaching ‘heart-wrenching’ overdose of the visuals.. for me it’s the ongoing destruction of what’s left of the protected forest… ?There are so many views, especially when the people cutting the trees are ‘dirt poor’ – yet our planet is getting so sick.. like when a brood mare finally needs to be put to pasture!

    1. Yes, it’s so concerning, they’re so vulnerable and only a slim chance that Zohra will make it. But it does sound as though the MET are committed to helping the horses survive. Let’s hope so.

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