On a recent trip to the Mountain Zebra National Park in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, I was astonished to see the intricate patterns on the rump and tail of this Cape Mountain Zebra, almost as if they had been braided. One article calls it “a fetching gridiron pattern”. As I discovered, the Cape Mountain Zebra is different to the common zebra which is known as a Burchells zebra. Apart from the patterns on the tail and rump, the stripes are more defined, without the grey stripes in between the back and white that a Burchells zebra has. The stripes also stop before the belly.
This photo shows some of the obvious differences in their markings (left: Burchells zebra, right: Cape mountain zebra) but there are other differences too. Cape mountain zebra are smaller than other kinds, they prefer rocky highlands, they have a small dewlap on their necks, larger ears and fully striped legs.
I am always amazed at the diversity in nature. Things that you take for granted (in this case zebra) are always worth a closer look. When you do that, you discover so much more. Nature never fails to surprise me.
The Cape Mountain Zebra lives freely in this national park dedicated just to its species. It was almost extinct but was saved through the creation of the park in July 1937 initially with five stallions and one mare in 17.12 sq. km of land. In the early years of the park, local farmers donated animals to build the population. There are now over 700 of these zebra in the park, which has expanded to 284 sq. km. (Facts from Wikipedia)
All photographs on taken by the author and are subject to Copyright © D.A. STOTT (Greasley) 2016 All Rights Reserved