16 January 2008

Z for Zebra

I am sure that many Zebras will be gracing the Wednesday ABC posts today, but I cannot resist them as they live on our "doorstep".

We have two of the three species of Zebra in the Eastern Cape - the Burchells Zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchelli), and the Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra).



BURCHELLS ZEBRA

These pictures of the Burchells Zebra were taken at the Addo Elephant National Park. They are not as numerous as they once were, having been decimated through hunting and the encroachment of their habitat



The Northern populations have narrower and clear defined stripes, whereas the Southern populations have brown "shadow" stripes between the black and white coloring.



There are 6 sub species of Equus Quagga. Unforunately the first subspecies to be described, the Quagga which is now extinct, had plain brown hindquarters. There is a project in the Western Cape which is trying to breed the Quagga back from extinction from the local plains Zebra. They are using stock like the one below, which has no stripes on its hind quarters.



CAPE MOUNTAIN ZEBRA

Mountain zebras live in dry, stony, mountain and hill habitats. They prefer slopes and plateaus and can being found as high as 2,000 meters above sea level.
These were photographed at the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock.



The Cape Mountain zebra was hunted to near extinction with less than 100 individuals by the 1930s. However the population has increased to about 700 due to conservation efforts. Both Mountain zebra subspecies are currently protected in national parks but are still endangered.



Cape mountain zebra exhibits sexual dimorphism, with larger females than males, while the other sub species, the Hartmann's mountain zebra does not. It is boldly striped in black and white and no two individuals look exactly alike. The stripes can be black and white or dark brown and white. Their stripes cover their whole bodies except for their bellies



The Cape Mountain Zebra has a dewlap, unlike its plains relatives who have a more streamlined look.



SEMI URBAN ZEBRAS

This group of Burchells Zebras were photographed chilling out near Stellenbosch in the Westen Cape. They are more like farm yard animals than their relatives in the wild.




INTERESTING ZEBRA FACT

In 1890 the Zeederberg brothers, who had a succesful transport business, went into the passenger business at the request of Cecil John Rhodes. They started a coach service from the Cape of Good Hope to Fort Salisbury, in what was to become Rhodesia. They succesfully trained and harnessed Zebras for the job, but only used they on a few trips as they did not have the stamina of the coach horses. Follow the link to see the Zeederberg's Zebras in harness

25 comments:

dot said...

They are certainly beautiful animals. Thank you for a most interesting post.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Fantastic post...so interesting.
All the pictures are very good, but the very first one was a puzzle, I knew there were two there but finding where one ended and the other started was quite a job. :O)

Neva said...

Well, I must say, this was wonderful! I had no idea about Zebras...and no, I won't be posting them for "Z" as they DON"T live on my doorstep.. very good "Z"!

RUTH said...

Wonderful photos...no Zebras on our doorstep eithe :o) Though we do have a Zebra Crossing nearby...although I think they've now been renamed Pelican Crossings.
Rx

RuneE said...

No zebras around here, so I'm glad you took it. Nice pictures and very informative text.

Mike said...

Great photos and an interesting post. Sadly the only Zebras we get over here are in zoos.

Peter M said...

Lovely animals and great photos, Only chance we have of seeing them practically is in a zoo.

Ackworth Born said...

As Ruth remarks Zebra-crossings here have mostly been superceded by Pelican crossings.
This is a great post with lots of fascinating details - I'm amazed at the idea of the zebra stage-coach.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Thanks for posting this , Max. The Zebra is a very exotic animal around here.

bonnie said...

Your zebras are beautiful. Did you know that when you shave a zebra, it's all white? I'm sure you know that already. Have you always lived in Africa. I too am a Johnny Klegg fan.

kml said...

You have some beautiful images!

Scotty said...

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Oswegan said...

Cool photos Max.

Max-e said...

Hi everyone
Thanks for the comments. I cant imagine living without zebras on my "doorstep".

Oh Tom, did I not mention that was a two headed zebra :)

Ruth and Gerald I have never heard of pelican crossings before. I still prefer zebra.

Bonnie, I have been born and bred in South Africa - s true bush baby. I can trace part of my ancestry to the Dutch settlers in the mid 1600's. And Johnny Clegg is great.

david mcmahon said...

Had to look really close at the first shot to see the second zebra!!

Bob Johnson said...

I think Zebras are too cool, great pics and informative post to boot!

Moi said...

sweet!!!! i have never seen zebras with my eyes.......will love to some day...they are one of their kinds :)

MedaM said...

This post is wonderful. I really enjoyed in it and in these beautiful photos of lovely Zebras.

Andrea said...

You captured some beautiful photos of the zebras. Great "Z" post.

Amrita said...

I love zebras. i think i 've seen one in a zoo. I wouldn 't mind having one as a pet. But my favourite animal is a meercat. I want one so bad

Max-e said...

Amrita I hear that meerkats make delightful pets. My mom always wanted one as well, but the one's we had on our farm were far too wiley to be caught.

JB's Big World said...

Thanks for visiting me. I like your blog> Thse zebras are amazing!
--JB

Anna said...

Max-e, I am always amazed by the zebra's stripes, they are so cool. Your photos are stunning, thanks for sharing. BTW I wanted to say how much I really like your top banner, elephants are my favorite. Anna :)

Max-e said...

BHi Anna, thanks for that - the elephants were taken at the a water hole at the Addo Elephant National Park.

Cheesy said...

I am taken back by my instant love of that wee baby striped horse! hehehe