Zebras are members of
the horse family native to central and southern Africa. All have
vividly contrasting black and white vertical stripes (hence the
zebra crossing named after it) on the forequarters, often tending
towards the horizontal at the rear of the animal. Most zoologists
believe the stripes act as a camouflage mechanism; although some
believe it plays a role in their social interactions, acting as
a means to distinguish an individual from all of the others in
slight variations of the stripes.
There are three species and many subspecies. Zebra populations
vary a great deal, and the relationships between and the taxonomic
status of several of the subspecies are unclear. The Plains Zebra
(Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchelli) is the most common, and
has or had about 5 subspecies distributed across much of southern
and eastern Africa. It, or particular subspecies of it, have also
been known as the Common Zebra, the Dauw, Burchell's Zebra (actually
the extinct subspecies, Equus quagga burchelli), and the Quagga
(another extinct subspecies, Equus quagga quagga). The Mountain
Zebra (Equus zebra) of southwest Africa tends to have a sleek
coat with a white belly and narrower stripes than the Plains Zebra.
It has two subspecies and is classified as endangered.
001-003.jpg courtesy: Us Fish & Wildlife Service
004-006.jpg courtesy: Fun Group Inc.
007-024.jpg Copyright Scotch Macaskill