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Cape Mountain Zebra

Cape Mountain Zebra
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Subgenus: Hippotigris
Species: Equus zebra
Subspecies: E. z. zebra
Trinomial name
Equus zebra zebra
File:Equus zebra.png
Range map (includes Equus z. hartmannae)

Cape mountain zebra, Equus zebra zebra, is a subspecies of the Mountain zebra found in the Western and Eastern Cape in South Africa. They mainly eat grass but if little food is left they will eat bushes. It has been argued that it should be considered a separate species than the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, but this is not supported by genetic evidence (see Taxonomy of the Mountain zebra). Consequently, it was "only" considered a subspecies in Mammal Species of the World.[1]


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. [1]


Its broad black stripes are closely spaced on a pure white body. Overall it is stockier than the Hartmann's zebra, has longer ears, and has a larger dewlap.

Prevention of extinction

The Cape mountain zebra formerly inhabited all the mountain ranges of the southern Cape Province of South Africa. By 1922, however, only 400 were believed to survive.[2] To counteract the continued decline, Mountain Zebra National Park was established in 1937 [3] on acacia veld near Cradock, South Africa, but its small population of Cape mountain zebra became extinct in 1950. That same year reintroductions from nearby remnant populations began.

Eleven animals were donated from a nearby farm in 1950, and in 1964 another small herd was added. By the late 1960s, the total Cape mountain population was only 140 but grew to 200 by 1979, with 75 percent of the animals in Mountain Zebra National Park . In 1984, the population was back to 400 head. Since then a few zebras have been reintroduced to the Cape Point Section of Table Mountain National Park.


  1. Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M, eds. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3. 


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