Zebras: One of the most recognisable, colourful and popular mammals in the wild

Image of zebras in a wildlife park. Credit: Selwo Aventura, Estepona.

The breed that resides in Selwo Aventura in Estepona is the plains zebra (equus quagga), the most common and widespread type of zebra.

The plains zebra lives in all habitats in Africa – mostly in the southeast – from sea level to 4,300 metres on Mount Kenya, with the exception of rainforests, deserts or dune forests.

The white stripes on their dark body characterise them and distinguish them from their relatives, the horses.

It is still not clear why zebras are striped animals and why they have evolved in this way. There are different theories: from those that claim that the stripes serve to regulate body heat to those that claim that they are a protection against insects and predators, or those that speculate that they may serve to distinguish the different individuals in the group.

Of particular importance is that the pattern of each individual is unique (like the fingerprints of humans, for example), while other distinguishing features are the scent and vocalisations of each individual.

Zebras are herbivorous, and diurnal, and are grouped in stable families, usually consisting of a male stallion, one to six females and their offspring. Each mare gives birth to a single foal after a 12-month gestation. The threats to this species are, as usual, of human origin: the loss of habitat, the blocking of their migratory routes due to the expansion of crops or illegal hunting.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.