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Grevy's Zebra, Samburu Complex

Most people don't realise there are three full species of Zebra: the Plains Zebra (Equus quagga), the Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi) of the Horn of Africa and the Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra) of Namibia and South Africa. The latter two species are endangered.
Top right, there is a photo of a very young Plains Zebra foal photographed in Samburu, and below that are two pictures of Grevy's zebras - the stripes don't like being JPEGed! The main obvious differences are:
  • The Grevy's Zebra has much finer stripes, and has a 'thumbprint' on its hindquarters as well as its shoulder.
  • The Grevy's Zebra has a white belly, the Plains Zebra is striped underneath.
  • The Grevy's Zebra is rounder, more like a pony; the Plains Zebra is donkey-like.
  • The Grevy's Zebra has broader, rounder ears.

The Grevy's Zebra is Endangered, having experienced a huge contraction of range - in Kenya alone it declined 70% between 1977 and 1988. From being found all over the Horn of Africa, it is now only found in a few national parks in Kenya and Ethiopia. The main threat is increasing livestock farming leading to the exclusion of the Grevy's Zebra from traditional watering holes.
Both Plains and Grevy's Zebras are found in the Samburu complex, but they do not interbreed because of differing social systems.

Baby Plains Zebra (14k*)
Zebras, like other equids, enjoy rolling in dust.  There is sometimes a queue, with the highest ranked zebra rolling first (16*)
Standard Grevy's Zebra identification picture (20k*)
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Text and images © Liz Leyden, 2008
Email: liz [at] v-liz [dot] com
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