9×12 watercolor enhanced colored pencil. Original unavailable and in a private collection.
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There are two distinct species of mountain zebra: the Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra) and the Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus hartmannae). Until 2004, these were regarded as subspecies of one mountain zebra species.
Mountain zebras are native to South West Africa and are found in dry, stony, mountain and hill habitats. Their diet consists of tufted grass, bark, leaves, fruit and roots.
Zebras’ dazzling stripes may be a signalling system for the herd and may also be useful in confusing predators
Species Hartmann’s mountain zebra In 2004, C.P. Groves and C.H. Bell investigated the taxonomy of the zebras genus Equus, subgenus Hippotigris and published their research in Mammalian Biology. They conclude that Equus zebra zebra (Cape mountain zebra) and Equus zebra hartmannea (Hartmann’s mountain zebra) are totally distinct, and suggested that the two subspecies are better classified as separate species, Equus zebra and Equus hartmannae.
Groves and Bell found that the Cape mountain zebra exhibits sexual dimorphism, with larger females than males, while the Hartmann’s mountain zebra does not. The black stripes of Hartmann’s mountain zebra are thin with much wider white interspaces, while this is the opposite in Cape mountain zebra.
The Cape mountain zebra and the Hartmann’s mountain zebra are allopatric, meaning that they occur in separate, nonoverlapping geographic areas. They are therefore unable to crossbreed. The Cape mountain zebra can be found in the southern Cape, South Africa. They mainly eat grass but if little food is left they will eat bushes. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra can be found in coastal Namibia and southern Angola.
Hartmann’s mountain zebras prefer to live in small groups of 7-12 individuals. They are agile climbers and are able to live in arid conditions and steep mountainous country.
Conservation Some populations are protected in national parks. There is a European zoo’s Endangered Species Programme for this zebra as well as co-operative management of zoo populations worldwide.