WATCH | Why conservationists are reading between the lines to protect zebras
A herd of zebras is known as a dazzle for good reason. When they move together, their stripes create an optical illusion.
It’s believed that this motion camouflage may confuse predators and protect zebras. But these animals face another threat, worse than even the best hunter – climate change.
Three species of zebra roam across Africa, including mountain, plains, and Grévy’s zebra. Weighing up to 450 kilograms, Grévy’s zebras are the largest wild equids.
But they are also the most threatened, with approximately 2 000 left in the wild.
Found in Kenya and Ethiopia, the herbivores are forced to compete with other antelope and livestock for food and water due to droughts.
In the last three decades the species has seen a 54% decline in numbers, and they are at further risk from hunting and habitat loss.
In the face of these challenges, the African Wildlife Foundation trains local communities to monitor zebras and aid researchers in their study of the species.
By tracking zebras with GPS technology and capturing specific details about their movements, habits, and herd sizes, they are driving more effective conservation strategies.
Zebras can deter an attacker with a mean bite and a kick, but dedicated citizen scientists and conservationists are protecting them from a distance.
It’s because of passionate people that zebras can dazzle for generations to come.