On this Wildlife Wednesday, lets talk about Grevys zebras - and finally figure out what the deal is with all those stripes.
What’s black and white and red all over? A blushing Grevy’s zebra, of course!
They’re most definitely not mules that had suffered an unfortunate encounter with a dropped pail of white (or maybe black?) paint. But with their big, round ears and thick neck, they might look that way at first glance. On this Wildlife Wednesday, let’s talk about Grevy’s zebras—and finally figure out what the deal is with all those stripes.
Grevy’s zebras, like other zebra species, make their homes in Africa’s semi-arid grasslands. Most specifically, they can be found munching their way through the open fields that dot the landscapes of both Ethiopia and Kenya.
Why are they threatened?
In recent years, the zebras have seen a drastic population decrease, from about 15,000 animals in the 1960s to no more than 2,400 in 2008. Their range has been similarly restricted—they no longer roam through their historical home of Somalia, and their ranges in both Ethiopia and Kenya are greatly reduced.
Hunting for skins, food, and in some cases traditional medicines is a major threat to these hoofed herbivores, and is thought to be the culprit behind the decline seen in Kenya in the 1970s, which continues in both Kenya and Ethiopia today.
Competition and reduced accessibility to food and water is another concern—the use of the Ewaso Ng’iro River in Kenya for irrigation is one notable example, since the flow of this river has been reduced by up to 90 percent over the past 30 years.