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Grevy's Zebra

CONSERVATION STATUS : ENDANGERED
COMMON EXTINCT
Classification:

Order: Perissodactyla
Genus & Species: Equus grevyi
Family: Equidae

Status:

Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.  In 1977, the population of Grevy’s was 15,200.  In 2006, the population was estimated as 2,200.  Cause for the population decline is attributed to crowding out by grazing livestock and irrigation water being drained from their habitat.

Range:

Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya.

Habitat:

Grasslands are the preferred habitat but moves into shrubby areas when grass is not available.

Activity:

Primarily diurnal (daytime) activity, but sometimes feed at night.

Size:

Adult males up to 950 lbs.; females slightly smaller. Four to five feet high at withers.

Longevity:

20 or more years in the wild; up to 30 years in captivity.

Diet:

Grasses and browse (bark & leaves).

Description:

Grevy’s  Zebra is the largest of the zebras and the most similar to horses in body shape.  The belly is white and the head, back, sides, and legs are a dazzling array of stripes. The stripes are light brown on babies and black on adults. The narrow stripes form a complicated pattern, especially on the hindquarters. No two zebras are alike in the details of their stripe pattern, even if born to the same mother.

Reproduction:

Gestation: About 13 months.

Offspring: Usually a single foal. Birth interval is often 2 years.

Parental Care: Foals can nurse for approximately 6 to 13 months.

Ecology, Adaptations, Etc:

Zebras are fast animals.  Foals are born with disproportionately long legs (they must spread their legs to reach their mouths to the ground) and can run a few hours after birth.  Zebras main predators are lions, but hyenas and leopards also kill some.  The zebra’s stripes are believed to confuse predators by seeming to blend into a sea of stripes going from one animal to the next in a herd and thus making it difficult to single out one animal to pounce on.  The stripes may also make it hard to focus on a particular spot to grab during an attempted kill.  The zebra’s defenses are kicking with the hind legs, striking with the front legs, and biting.  Zebras are latrine animals, depositing their feces in huge dung piles. At the border between two males, these dung piles serve as territorial markers. Although the group of females belonging to a male remain in his territory for several months after giving birth, social bonds are not strong in this species of zebras.

Comments:

Grevy’s Zebras are often the first herbivore to move through an area and are important to those who follow because they eat off the coarse, tough grasses and leave the more delicate parts for other species.