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2014 – San Diego Zoo – Zed the Zebra
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Image by Ted’s photos – Returns 11 Aug 18
Two Chapman’s zebras were first exhibited at the San Diego Zoo in 1924, followed by a Grevy’s zebra male received in October 1940. Today, the Zoo is home to a small herd of Grevy’s zebras in our Northern Frontier, and a young Grant’s zebra named Zari.

Unfortunately, there are some threats—loss of habitat, poaching, and disease—that zebras can’t outrun. With a wild population of about 25,000, the mountain zebra is classified as threatened. The Cape mountain zebra came very close to extinction as a result of hunting and competition with domestic cattle. In 1937, Mountain Zebra National Park was established in South Africa, where only 47 Cape mountain zebras remained. Their numbers have now increased to several hundred, with the majority still in the national park.

The endangered Grevy’s zebra’s population has been ravaged by anthrax outbreaks, dropping its ranks to an estimated wild population of 2,250. San Diego Zoo Global is a member of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, an independent wildlife conservation organization in Kenya, and our researchers are working with other conservation groups to help preserve the population. As of August 2012, we’ve had 128 Grevy’s zebra births at our facilities.

Zebras are equids, members of the horse family. They have excellent hearing and eyesight and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour). They also have a powerful kick that can cause serious injury to a predator, like a lion, a hyena, or an African wild dog. Usually the lead male of the herd, called a stallion, sounds the alarm if danger is spotted and stays at the back of the group to defend against predators if necessary, while the mares (females) and foals (youngsters) run away.

Zebras often trot when moving to new pastures, which is a fairly fast but easy gait for them to use over the long distances they may have to travel. Their hard hooves are designed to withstand the impact of their body weight and to run easily over rocky ground. When resting at night, zebras lie down while one stands watch to prevent an ambush.

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