Three stars with stripes on the hoof for breeding plans

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THEY may hail from the plains of Africa but there is nothing plain about Zoodoo's Wildlife Park's newest residents.

Three young zebras arrived at the Southern zoo yesterday, just in time for lunch. It was a first for Tasmania and part of a new era of breeding for Australia.

The two females and one male, aged five to six months, were part of a breeding program in Texas and imported into the country in collaboration with mainland zoos.

Zoodoo's Trevor Cuttriss said their arrival had been a long time coming. ``It's been a big project,'' Mr Cuttriss said.

``We're looking to develop an African safari, importing more hoofed plains animals and giraffes.''

Zookeeper Ashlie Burnett was heavily involved in the process, flying to Texas for eight weeks to help prepare the animals for import. Miss Burnett went as far as to travel in the plane cargo with the zebras, whom she has named Zinty, Duchess and Beyonce. The trio flew into Queensland, where they were driven down with the help of escort and donkey Jorge.

Jorge, like most donkeys, has a quiet temperament and kept the zebras calm, Mr Cuttriss said.

Zinty, Duchess and Beyonce are not related and Zoodoo hopes to hear the clip-clop of little stripy hoofs soon.

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