The Cape Mountain Zebra 
( Equus zebra zebra )

The Cape Mountain Zebra is one of the rarest mammals in the world. In 1986 total numbers were around 500, where 200 to 230 were in the Mountain Zebra National Park and about 90 in the Karoo National Park.
Cape Mountain Zebras have a slightly smaller body than their close relatives the Hartmann's Mountain Zebras from Namibia and south–west Angola. The mountain zebras differ appreciably from the Burchell's Zebra Equus burchelli, the common zebra of the African plains. In contrast to the Burchell's Zebra the mountain zebra has a prominent dewlap, a reddish brown nose, a white stomach, a gridiron pattern on the rump and no shadow stripes. Cape Mountain Zebra
Cape Mountain Zebra

Burchell's Zebra

PREVIOUS DISTRIBUTION:
During historical times the Cape Mountain Zebra was confined to the mountain ranges of former Cape Province south of the Gariep, from the Paarl district eastwards to the Amatola Mountains, and northwards to the Nuweveldberg and Stormberg.

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR:
Mountain Zebras associate in small groups. Two types of groups can be distinguished, namely family groups and bachelor groups. A family group consists of a mature stallion and between one and five mares (usually two or three) and their offspring. Those stallions that cannot obtain mares associate in loose bachelor groups. The members of a family group normally stay together for many years. One stallion in the Mountain Zebra National Park, born in 1959, established himself as a herd stallion in 1965 and was still with the same mares' fifteen years later.

When the herd stallion becomes old and loses condition another stallion displaces him, often after a fight, and the mares are taken over by the newcomer. Both colts and fillies leave their parents' group just before they reach two years of age. They are not forced to leave by the group stallion but depart on their own accord. When the colts leave their group they wander alone for a while, but eventually they associate with the bachelor males. Fillies are just approaching sexual maturity when they leave, and they either join another group or are herded by a bachelor male to form a new family group.
Each family group remains within a specific home area, on average nine to ten square kilometres in size. The home areas of different family groups may overlap considerably.

FOOD:
Cape Mountain zebra feed mainly on grass, the red grass Themeda triandra and other climax grasses such as finger grass Digitaria eriantha and terpentine grass Cymbopogon plurinodis being particularly favoured. The height of grass is important – the zebras favour grasses between 50 and 150 mm in length. They will accept forbs and dwarf shrubs, but only during dry periods when grass is scarce.
AGE OF FOALING:
A mare can give birth to her first foal when she is three years old. However many mares are five or six or even older when they foal for the first time.
Stallions are probably sexually mature at three years of age, but competition from older and stronger stallions normally prevents them from obtaining mares until they are at least five years old.

GESTATION PERIOD:
About one year.

FOALING RATE:
The average foaling rate in the Mountain Zebra Park is 32 foals per 100 mares per year. The time interval between foals varies between 13 and 69 months.

BIRTH SEASON:
Foals can be born any time of the year but the majority is born during the rainy season (November to March).

LIFE SPAN:
25 to 30 years.

MORTALITY:
Most deaths occur during the driest time of the year (July to September) when food is scarce and poor in quality.
 
Text : Elfriede Sack - Mountain Zebra National Park 

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