Hartmann's mountain zebras are the largest of the mountain zebras. They look whiter than the Cape mountain zebras because their black stripes are narrower and more widely spaced.
There are two kinds of mountain zebra. They are the Hartman's mountain zebra and the Cape mountain zebra. Taxonomists placed them in the subspecies group because the original mountain zebras may have changed morphologically through geographic isolation. The Hartman's mountain zebra is an endangered wild equid living in a harsh yet fragile environment. This subspecies is differentiated from it's close relative, the Cape mountain zebra because of it's body size, ears and stripes. This Mountain Zebra is named after Dr. George Hartmann, 4-8-1865 to + 1945. Hartmann was a geographer, explorer, colonial politician and Major of the German land resistance. Hartmann is said to have named this zebra after his wife whose maiden name was Anna Woermann daughter of a ship-owner in Hamburg Germany.
Hartmann's zebras have broad black stripes with an off-white, creamy color between them. The black stripes on the animals' sides do not meet on the belly. The leg stripes extend horizontally, all the way down to the top of the hooves. These leg stripes can be thin and wrap around the entire leg. The stripe that covers the spine and top portion of the tail is said to be "zipper-like" in appearance. The most characteristic and interesting feature of both mountain zebra subspecies is a square flap of skin on the throat just below the head. This flap of skin, or dewlap, is larger on the males.
The average adult height at the shoulder is 120 - 130 cm or 4 - 4.3 ft. and the tail length is 50 cm or 20 in. The body length is 220 cm or 7.3 ft. The weight is 260 - 370 kg or 572 - 814 lb. There is no significant size difference between the sexes except the stallions are usually heavier.
Foals weigh about 25 kg or 55 pounds at birth. The foals' white stripes are more brown in color than white. As a foal matures the stripes become white. Foals nurse for as long as 7 months. They are capable of grazing when they are 2 weeks old. Like many zebras the foal can stand on its feet within an hour after its birth and can run with the herd after a few hours. This adaptation gives zebra foals a much better chance of escaping from predators. Both male and female Hartmann's mountain zebras sexually mature after two years.
The longevity of Hartmann's mountain zebras is between 25 to 30 years. They are not considered seasonal breeders since mares can foal any time of the year, but most foal sometime during the rainy season when the grass is at its best. Gestation, is 300 to 365 days.
Hartmann's mountain zebras live in family groups that are made up of mares, foals and a dominant stallion. The normal size of a family group is 5 to 10 zebras. Stallions must fight for a dominant position in a family group. The winning stallion passes on his physical abilities for fighting to his foals. In this way zebras maintain the best physical shape for survival. After two years a male foal leaves his family group to form a bachelor group with other males. The males challenge stallions to get their own group or start new ones if enough mares are available from oversized family groups.
Some authorities have observed that Hartmann's mountain zebras orient their bodies with the sun during the day. Hartmann's mountain zebras will climb eastward facing slopes to absorb the sun's morning warmth. As the day progresses they find shade. In Africa's Namib desert Hartmann's mountain zebras have been observed to sniff out water on the surface of dry river beds. They paw at the ground with their hooves to get to water that is sometimes three feet below the surface. By doing so these zebra's benefit other desert dwelling animals. It has also been mentioned that Hartmann's mountain zebras can go without water for four days.
Hartmann's mountain zebras are diurnal. Most activity is during the coolest hours which is the morning and late afternoon. More than half of their day is spent eating and looking for food. They take dust baths once or twice a day.They are also excellent climbers and more sure-footed compared to zebras that live on the flat plains. Family groups are often found grazing with other animals.
Parts of the Namib desert in which these animals live are covered with pink or peach colored sand dunes. The area is cris-crossed with granite river ravines that sustain a diversity of plant and animal life. Hartmann's mountain zebras depend very much on these rivers for survival. The Naukluft region of Namib has been set aside as an African national park. Many Hartmann's mountain zebras live in the Naukluft region. Some of the trees that grow in the ravines are Sycamore figs (Ficus sycomorus), sweet thorns and ebonies (Euclea pseudebenus). The grass grows as tall, tough mounds.
Somewhat unrelated to the Hartmann's mountain zebra is a rare and unique plant that grows in their habitat called Welwitschia Mirabilis.
Hartmann's mountain zebra mix freely with groups of other grazing animals; the significance of this being that the combined sharp senses of a group of animals help detect predators. Together they form an effective early warning system against the areas predators; leopards and hyenas. Mammals that live in the same habitat are: steenbok, springbok, oryx, kudu, Dassie Rat, Chacma Baboon, rock dassie, klipspringer and ostrich. Many of these animals have adaptations that enable them to live in such a harsh habitat such as Namib and Naukluft. Herbivores like the Hartmann's mountain zebra have special stomach fauna (animals mentioned above in "Life Cycle" as micro-organisms) to digest rough forage that other animals could not use. Also mentioned is the ability of the Hartmann's mountain zebra to find and expose water for themselves and other desert dwelling animals.
Status in the Wild
IUCN 2000: Endangered.
CITES: Appendix II.
362 Hartmann's mountain zebra can be found within 47 zoos worldwide.
25,000 are known to exist in the wilds of Nambia.
(Maps are approximations)
The Hartmann's mountain zebra were found primarily in the western half of Namibia with part of their range in the southern most part of Angola and the most northern part of South Africa. There was another large population in the southern end of South Africa.
Scattered range lands in the Namib desert and small scattered ranges in South Africa.
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