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15/06/2008

Hartmann's mountain zebra, Namibia


This photo was taken in the northwest part of Namibia, and shows some Hartmann's mountain zebras (Equus zebra hartmannae). Like all zebras, it is boldly striped in black and white and no two individuals look exactly alike. The stripe can be black and white or dark brown and white. Their stripes cover their whole bodies except for their bellies. The Mountain zebra also has a dewlap. The black stripes of Hartmann's mountain zebra are thin with much wider white interspaces, while this is the opposite in Cape mountain zebra. Mountain zebras live in dry, stony, mountainous and hilly habitats. They prefer slopes and plateaus and can be found as high as 2,000 meters above sea level, although they do migrate lower in the winter season. Their diet consists of tufted grass, bark, leaves, buds, fruit and roots. They often dig for ground water.
The Cape mountain zebra and the Hartmann's mountain zebra are now allopatric, meaning that their present ranges are nonoverlapping. They are therefore unable to crossbreed. This is a result of their extermination by hunting in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Historically Mountain zebras could be found across the entire length of the mountainous escarpment that runs along the west coast of southern Africa as well as in the fold mountain region in southern South Africa.

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