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Zebra


Any of three species of strikingly black-and-white-striped mammals of the horse family Equidae and genus Equus: Burchell's zebra (E. quagga), found in rich grasslands over much of eastern and southern Africa; Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi), of arid, sparsely wooded areas in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia; and the mountain zebra (E. zebra), of dry upland plains in Namibia and a few scattered areas in western South Africa.

Zebras stand 120-140 cm tall and are easily distinguished by the pattern of stripes. These are individually wide and widely spaced in Burchell's zebra, some races of which have lighter "shadow stripes" between the main stripes. The northern races of this species are more fully striped than the southern ones, in which the striping of the lower legs tends to give way to white. Grevy's zebra's stripes are narrow and closely spaced, and the belly is white. The mountain zebra is small, with a peculiar grid like pattern of stripes on the rump.

Zebras live in small family groups consisting of a stallion and several mares with their foals. In Grevy's zebra the mares may form separate groups from the stallions. With plentiful food, small groups may coalesce into large herds, but the smaller groups retain their identities. Zebras often form mixed herds with antelopes, such as wildebeests, which gain protection from predators by the alertness of the zebras. Herds may migrate long distances to find suitable grasses on which to feed. All three zebra species have decreased in abundance through human activities, and the mountain zebra and Grevy's zebra are endangered. The readiness with which most zebras breed in captivity offers hope of maintaining reservoirs of zebras from which wild populations might be restored.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

 

 

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