This is an archived article that was published on in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The baby zebra bounded into public view Monday at Utah's Hogle Zoo just as she came into life two weeks earlier — ready to gallop around and kick up her heels.

"This is the 'first howdy,' " animal-care supervisor Gina Phillips said of the unnamed female zebra's introduction to the big, wide world outside of her mother, Zoey, primary keeper Jill VanMilligen and a few more zoo staffers.

She pranced into a corral from the pen where she'd spent most of her life since birth, her mom protectively trotting behind her shoulder. A chain-link-style fence separated them from two other zebras, a female named Zemy and the baby's dad, Ziggy, who didn't really give a hoot that that's his kid. But he was still excited by the arrival of someone new and brayed loudly as he approached the fence.

"We call that the howdy barrier," Phillips said. "They can see and smell each other, say hi, but there's a barrier between them."

Even though this is her first baby, 5-year-old mom Zoey instinctively made sure nobody messed with her offspring as the youngster bounced, stepped sideway and let out graceful kicks.

She stared down a human crowd and a row of photographers whose clicking shutters appeared to trigger the baby's bursts of activity. When those outbursts took the babe close to the fence and the other zebras, Zoey quickly wheeled around and inserted herself in between. Having worked for the past decade with Hogle Zoo's big cats, zookeeper VanMilligen was taken aback as her new charge took on life at full speed.

"It was mind-blowing to me how quickly this one developed," she said, noting that being near the top of the food chain without many predators, baby cats can take a week or two just to open their eyes.

But this zebra, by contrast, was "running around the stall and kicking within an hour," VanMilligen said.

"She reached her terrible twos in two weeks," Phillips quipped.

The young zebra's rapid maturation shouldn't be surprising, VanMilligen said. "Because they are prey species in the wild, they have to hit the ground running … [especially since] when they're born, the scent of fluids and blood is so strong that predators gather quickly."

No predators were present Monday at the zoo, just appreciative observers.

Salt Lake City resident Debby Fleisch was living a grandmother's dream day, taking grandchildren Harper Fleisch, 3, and Blake Fleisch, 2, to see the new arrival.

"They love the babies," she said before asking Harper if she saw the baby zebra snuggling up to her mother's side. Harper nodded knowingly as her grandma added, "She's giving her momma hugs."

In a onesie outfit, 19-month-old Chauncey Davis of Salt Lake City pointed at the baby zebra and excitedly told his mom, "Zebra yip, yip, yip."

"Is that what the zebra says?" mom Chelsea Davis responded, clearly pleased at watching her boy react to the animals.

The baby zebra, which weighed in at 87 pounds but is already up to 104, was a welcome arrival for a zoo staff still mourning the April 8 death of Rizzo the polar bear.

"This is an exciting new chapter for us," said zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen, noting this is the first zebra of this species — Hartmann's mountain — born at the zoo. The last zebra born there, in the 1980s, was of the Grevy's species.