What’s stripy, dazzling and celebrated today? International Zebra Day!
A trio of male zebra at Monarto Safari Park got double the treats today with special enrichment and a return to the Waterhole habitat.
The dazzling trio of Timbavati, Intengo and Umbani returned to the Waterhole habitat in time to delight the onlookers.
Ungulate Keeper, Vaughan Wilson, said the bachelor group recently spent some time behind the scenes while the latest giraffe calf settled into life in the waterhole habitat.
“Zebras may be one of the smaller species on the savannah but they are very dominant, so we gave the giraffe herd a little bit of space while the calf was a newborn.
“It’s great to have zebra back in the habitat for International Zebra Day and it’s a fantastic experience for the public to come along and see the dazzle (a herd of zebra is known as a ‘dazzle’) living amongst Eland and giraffe as they would in the wild,” said Vaughan.
Not only is Monarto Safari Park celebrating the day but they’re finally putting paid to the question – are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes?
The experts at the largest safari outside of Africa can reveal that they are black with white stripes! And that despite their name, Plains Zebras are anything but, with their iconic striped pattern doubling as camouflage.
“On green grass it’s very easy to see this black and white animal, however it’s disruptive camouflage so when a herd of zebras is running next to each other it’s very difficult to tell the edge of one zebra and the beginning of the next.
“So if they are being chased by a predator like a lion, the lion might leap and misjudge where the zebra is. So this camouflage disrupts the outline of each zebra,” said Vaughan.
The Plains Zebra is listed as near threatened by the IUCN Red List, with wild populations estimated to be between 150,000 and 250,000 individuals. Sadly, population numbers are experiencing a declining trend due to hunting for their meat and skin.
The relatively large population in the wild means there is still time to save this species from extinction, making Zoos SA’s work all the more important.
Zoos SA supports conservation of Plains Zebras through the breeding program at Monarto Safari Park, which has seen around 30 foals born at the park.
The conservation charity also extends it efforts to protecting wild zebras in Africa. Through support of the Sera Conservancy in Northern Kenya, local community members are employed as scouts to patrol the Sera conservation area preventing poaching.
Zebra lovers can make a dazzler of a difference by adopting a stripy and leggy pal. Zebra adoptions make wonderful gifts (for loved ones or yourself). Find out more at https://www.zoossa.com.au/animal-adoption
Monarto Safari Park’s dazzle of zebra is proudly supported by Bleasdale through sales of their Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon.