THE IMPERIAL ZEBRA
HOW THE GREVY GOT ITS NAME
It may sound like something delicious we drizzle over our Sunday roast, but the name ‘Grevy’s zebra’ has rather regal beginnings. In 1882, the Abyssinian Emperor thought the beast so majestic, he gifted one to the French President, Jules Grévy. The species is still sometimes referred to as the ‘Imperial zebra’.
Grevy’s zebras inhabit semi-arid grasslands where they have access to a permanent water source.
WHY SO STRIPY?
Like the other two species of zebra (plains zebra and mountain zebra), every Grevy’s zebra has a unique pattern of stripes, just like a human fingerprint. Some scientists think this is so that they can recognise each other. Most theories agree that zebras have stripes to create an optical illusion for predators.
due to rapid declines in their population, they are now confined to Kenya and Ethiopia.
Grevy’s have narrower stripes than plains zebras.
WHAT MAKES GREVY’S ZEBRAS UNIQUE?
Of all three zebra species, Grevy’s are the tallest. In fact, they are the largest of all wild equines. Most noticeably, their stripes are thinner, perhaps for even better predator camouflage, and they have beautiful conical ears which stand upright and alert. A striking black dorsal stripe spans the length of their back.
Grevy’s are made of hardier stuff than the common plains zebras. This is because they are uniquely adapted for the harsh arid environment of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, which is where they live.
Amazingly, they can survive without water for five days. They also have digestive systems which allow then to eat a wider range of leaves, grasses, fruit and bark than other zebras.
THE GREAT GREVY’S RALLY
On the 25th and 26th January 2020, the third national census of Grevy’s zebras will take place in northern Kenya. It will be the first-ever global census of this species due to the involvement of Ethiopia.
This citizen science in action will see members of the public embark on an exciting two-day photographic census safari throughout the habitat range of Grevy’s zebras.
There are approximately 2,800 Grevy’s remaining in the wild.