Grevys Zebra

Grevy's Zebra

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Grevy's zebra
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Perissodactyla
Family
Equidae
Genus Species
Equus (horse) grevyi

Fast Facts

Description
The long-legged Grevy’s Zebra is the largest of the wild equid. Dark brown stripes on the body are narrow, positioned close together, and do not cover the belly which is white. Mane is tall and erect, unlike a horse's; ears are large with thick fur inside.
Size
1.25 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft.) at withers
Weight
350 to 430 kg (780 to 950 lbs.)
Diet
Grevy’s zebras are extremely mobile grazers, and they can digest many types, and parts, of plants that cattle cannot. Despite their mobility, Grevy’s are water-dependent and will migrate to grazing lands only within reach of water.
Gestation
380 to 390 days
Nursing Duration
Foals nurse for 6 to 13 months
Sexual Maturity
Male: 6 years
Female: 2 years
Life Span
20 to 25 years in the wild, 25 to 30 years in captivity
Range
Historically, the Grevy’s Zebra inhabited the semiarid scrublands and plains of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Kenya in East Africa. However, due to rapid declines in their population, they are now confined to the Horn of Africa, primarily Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.
Habitat
Semi-arid scrub and grasslands
Population
Global: Around 2000 individuals; about a 50% populations decline in last 30 years
Status 
IUCN: Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS: Threatened

Fun Facts

  1. The Grevy’s zebra was named after the former King of France Jules Grevy. He received a zebra as a gift from the King of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1882.
  2. Grevy's zebras are unusual because they do not form long lasting bonds like the plains zebras and horses. Their group composition may change on an hourly basis.
  3. Newborn foals are able to stand after just six minutes, and they can run after 40 minutes.
  4. Stripes may cause confusion by making it hard for a predator to single out an individual.
  5. Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, like a person's fingerprint.
  6. A Grevy’s Zebra can run up to 40 mph.
     

Ecology and Conservation

Grevy’s zebras have undergone one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal.

Habitat loss in an already restricted range is a serious threat to the Grevy’s Zebra's survival.

The Grevy's zebra is threatened by the introduction of livestock that compete for grazing land. These zebras are beneficial to other wild grazers because they clear off the tops of coarse grasses that are difficult for other herbivores to digest.

Hunting is the primary cause of decline of Grevy’s zebras in Ethiopia. They are primarily hunted for their striking skins but will occasionally be killed for food, and in some regions, medicinal uses continue.

Grevy’s zebra may fall prey to lions, cheetahs, hyenas, hunting dogs and leopards.

Bibliography

Elzenga, Johan W., "Why Zebras are Striped." SWARA, July-Aug. 1992, pp. 29-30.

Nowak, Ronald (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol 2. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1991.

Rowen, Mary, and Joshua Ginsberg. "Grevy's Zebra: Equid of a Different Stripe." African Wildlife Update, Jan.-Feb. 1994, p. 4.

Stevens, Jane E. "Zebras in Turmoil." International Wildlife, Sept.-Oct. 1994, pp.6-12.

Walther, Fritz R., Communication and Expression in Hoofed Animals. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

African Wildlife Foundation – Grevy’s Zebra Species Profile. https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/grevys-zebra/. Downloaded 16 October 2018.