Welcome to our article highlighting facts, images and video of the endangered Grevy’s Zebra
The Endangered Grevy’s Zebra
The Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) is also called the imperial zebra. It is the largest almost extinct wild equid and the and most threatened of the three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra.
It owes its name to Jules Grevy, who was once the president of France. It was given as a gift to Jules Grevy by one Menelik II, emperor of Abyssinia in 1882 and hence the name Grevy’s zebra was coined. It is the only remaining extant member of the sub genus Dolichohippus.
Grevy’s Zebra Physical Appearance
It is the biggest of all the wild equines (horse family). It has a long,narrow and large head with elongated nostril openings. It’s quite tall compared to other zebras; it has narrow stripes, a white belly, and black dorsal stripe. The ears are very large, rounded and conical with a short but thick neck.
The muzzle is ash- grey to black color with a mane that is tall and erect in mature Grevy’s zebra. It has white and black stripping pattern like the other zebras however its stripes are narrow, close set, broader at the neck and extend all the way to the hooves.
The unique feature about its stripping pattern is that its belly and the area around the base of the tail lack stripes. These features make the Grevy’s zebra easily distinguishable among the more common plains zebra.
Grevy’s Zebra Habitat
The grevy’s zebra lives largely in northern Kenya and some isolated population in Ethiopia. It resides in acacia- commiphora bushlands and plains. This amazing species is has been known to occupy the niche between arid- living African wild ass and water dependent plains zebra. The non- lactating females and territorial males use areas with green, short grass and medium dense bush less than lactating females and non- territorial males.
They rely on legumes, grasses and browsing for replenishment (nutrition). They browse in seasons when grass is limited. The Grevy’s zebra can survive for five days without water but will drink daily when it is in plenty however female require slightly more water when they are lactating.
It’s different from the other zebra species in that it does not live in groups and has few long-lasting social bonds. Mother–foal relationships and male territory form the basis of the social system of the Grevy’s zebra.
The Grevy’s zebras population was reported to be approximately 15,000 in the 1970s with a progressive decline in the subsequent years, by 21st century the population wasreportyed to be lower than 3500, a reported 75% decline.
The current population estimation is said to be at less than 2500 Grevy’s zebras. There are said to be an estimated 600 Grevy’s zebras in captivity. However the population trend of the Grévy’s zebra is considered quite stable as of 2008.
Reasons for Extinction
In the past, the Grevy’s zebra were majorly threatened by hunters who hunted them because of their skin which fetched a high price in the market however hunting has significantly reduced after the hunting ban and legal protection was put in place. The main threat currently is habitat loss and competition for food with livestock for instance cattle gather around watering holes and Grevy’s zebra are fenced from those areas.
Grevy’s Zebra Conservation Efforts
In Kenya the Grevy’s zebras are protected by the hunting ban of 1977 while in Ethiopia they are legally protected. Community based conservation efforts have shown to be most effective in preservation of Grevy’s zebras and their habitat.
In Kenya the protected areas include: Buffalo Spring, Samburu and Shaba National Reserves while in the Ethiopia the protected areas include: Alledeghi Wild Reserve, Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary, Borana Controlled Hunting Area and Chalbi Sanctuary.