In Kenya, there are three main species of Zebra and several other subspecies. This comes as a surprise to many, considering most Zebras are hard to tell apart. However, just like fingerprints, no single Zebra has the same print pattern as another. The number of stripes, body shape and other physical features tell the different species apart. Here is a brief look into the Grevy’s Zebra.
The Grevy’s Zebra was named after an 1800’s French president, Jules Grevy. This was because the scientist to first describe this species of zebra was French. Being predominantly abundant in Kenya and Ethiopia, the then-Ethiopian government gave Jules a zebra as a gift.
The most distinct feature on these animals are their huge ears that are constantly wafting at the sides of the Zebra’s head. The Grevy’s Zebra is relatively tall with some individuals reaching up to 1.6 meters. The zebra looks almost similar to the mule with a long face and short neck. The mane growing on its back and the top of the head shortens, as the zebras get older. The black and white stripes of the Grevy’s Zebra are thinner and more compact compared to the mountain and plains zebras. The reason for the stripes have gathered many theories from camouflage to confusing predators thanks to visual illusions.
The Grevy’s Zebra is mostly found in Ethiopia and Kenya. The animals can live in semi-arid regions such as Gilgil but thrive in greener areas. In Kenya, you can see the Grevy’s Zebra in northern areas such as Samburu and Laikipia. Major conservation points include the Bufallo Springs Conservation, Samburu Reserve and the Shaba Reserve.
The Grevy’s Zebra enjoys grass-based meals but will be seen to browse in times of drought. Although a zebra can stay almost 7 days without water, it constantly hydrates in times of plenty. There are not many dietary differences between male and female, although lactating mothers will eat and drink more.
There are territorial and non-territorial males. Non-territorial males may end up living in small groups with other bachelors for company and protection. Territorial herds may consist of head stallion, young males, females, mothers and their foals. New mothers do not leave their children with any females as newborn zebras can easily follow any animal. The mothers are careful to stay by their foals until they are old enough to distinguish their mother’s stripes and calls.
The Grevy’s zebra is categorized as endangered with its population dropping to almost quarter in 30 years. Main dangers to the animals include hunting for their skin, loss of habitat and climatic changes. It is therefore protected in most of the places it exists in