GOING, going, gone - that was the phrase of the night as Marwell’s much loved herd of Zany Zebras made their way out into the world and to their new homes.

The herd of 48 colourful beasts was auctioned off to keen Southampton companies, raising nearly £90,000 towards the zoo’s Grevy zebra conservation programme.

Starting at £1000 apiece, the highest bids were for Snappy, bought by Denplan for £4000, the strawberry-inspired Zeeberry, whose new owner splashed out £3500, Rio, who went to restaurant Casa Brasil for £3000 and the Seafaring Zebra, who was bought by ABP for £3000.

Marwell Wildlife’s flagship ‘poster boy’ sculpture, ‘Gilbert’, went to Gilbert Aviation with a winning bid of £3250.

Southampton City Council spent £1500 on Who’s You - a Saints and Southampton faces-inspired creation who until the auction was quietly grazing on Guildhall Square.

Project manager Kirstie Mathieson said: “It was a great night. You don’t know how it’s going to go but Mike Osman did a great job as auctioneer.”

Marwell’s director of conservation Dr Philip Riordan said: “The money will be invaluable. It will help us over the next three years.

"Much of the land in northern Kenya where the zebras live is being developed with oil pipelines linking up with ports in Sudan and Ethiopia.

"There is a lot of land-grabbing going on but when you work on the conservation of a species it’s always related to the people.”

Although the auction raised £87,550, miniature zebras will be available online until October 25, and money from the sale of merchandise will also be added to the grand total.