Scientific Name: Equus grevyi
The Grevy’s zebra was not named for its discoverer, but rather for Jules Grevy, a former president of France who received the first known specimen in 1882.
The stripe pattern of a Grevy’s zebra is as distinctive as human fingerprints. It is also the most important adaptation for its survival, as movements of stripes within the herd are very confusing to a predator.
STATUS: Endangered; competition with livestock, reduced access to watering holes and habitat destruction all contribute to a decrease of the species. The L.A. Zoo participates in Species Survival Plan efforts to preserve the Grevy’s zebra.
HABITAT: Grevy’s zebras inhabit semi-arid and open scrub grasslands of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.
DIET: They are herbivorous, primarily feeding on the stems and leaves of the taller grass and browse on shrubs and trees.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Grevy is the largest of the wild equids, with the males five feet tall at the shoulders and weighing as much as 990 pounds. Females are about 10% smaller. They have a larger head than the other zebra species, with a thick, erect mane and short, tufted hair at the tip of the tail. The underbelly is white. The voice of the zebra is quite different than that of a horse, consisting of a series of loud yelping barks and long drawn out grunts, divided by shrill whistles.
A Stripe Like No Other
Unlike the kinship of other zebra societies, the Grevy’s is not a permanent one. Males are solitary and defend a huge territory of up to six miles, while females come and go. Breeding and birthing occurs throughout the year. When a foal is born, the mother will walk around her newborn so it will see only her stripe pattern. This allows imprinting to occur, which is extremely important for survival. If a foal loses its mother, no other female will adopt it. Foals will nurse for six months and will remain with their mothers for two to three years until they reach sexual maturity. The Grevy’s life span is about 18 years.