Oct 3, 2012
Sociable zebra fare better against lions
The solitary behaviour of Grévy's zebra leaves the animals more vulnerable to lion attack, explains Daniel Rubenstein of Princeton University.
The social – or more accurately, anti-social – behaviour of Grévy's zebra leaves the animals more vulnerable to lion attack than herd-dwelling plains zebra, said Daniel Rubenstein of Princeton University.
Generally the plains zebra and Grévy's zebra live in different regions. Plains zebra tend to form harem groups in mesic habitats, where food and water are available in close proximity. Grévy's zebra, on the other hand, make use of semi-arid or arid locations. As a result, lactating female Grévy's must stay near water but non-lactating females can roam further afield in search of the best food.
Where the two species' ranges overlap – in central and northern Kenya – it is the plains zebra that fare better. As if that was not bad enough, in the dry environments typical for Grévy's zebra, which are classified as endangered, the animals must also compete with human pastoralists.
Listen to Daniel to find out more.