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