Grévy's zebra

Equus grevyi

You only find the striking patterns of the Grévy's zebra in Kenya and Ethiopia these days. This species was once found in Ancient Egypt at the time of the Roman Empire, which goes to show that they were once prevalent in Northern Africa. Strict conservation measures protect the last surviving animals of today.

Striped trio

It is hard to believe, but the world's largest equine animals are actually not horses, but zebras. Grévy's zebras belong to the order of the Perissodactyla and are especially popular because of their distinctive black and white striping of their fur in addition to their long ears. There are three types of zebra: the Grévy's zebra, whose home is the semi-deserts of East African, the plains zebra and the mountain zebra, native to Namibia and South Africa.


  • Origin

    Eastern Africa: Kenya and Ethiopia

  • Habitat

    Semi-dry grasslands and open landscapes, thorny scrublands, dry savannahs

  • Diet

    Tough grasses, leaves and herbs

  • Status

    Approx. 2000 to 2500 in the wild

  • Size

    Approx. 3 m head-body length, 1.50 m shoulder height

  • Weight

    350 to 430 kg

  • Gestation period

    approx. 13 to 15 months

  • Achievable age

    over 20 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

The last of their kind

The number of wild populations of Grévy's zebras has been on a dramatic decline since the 1980s. There is only a small total population of around 2,000 in the wild today. Zebras were previously hunted for their fur, but they are threatened today due to their dwindling habitat. Stringent conservation measures ensure the survival of the last remaining wild Grevy's zebras in Africa.

Lone explorers

The Grevy's zebras are capable of roaming huge grass and bushland territories of up to 10,000 km² to avoid seasonal droughts. While the male Grévy's zebras try to build up their own territory near a water source and to subsequently defend it, mares roam across the land together with their foals or in loose groups.

Zebra stripes – none are alike

The Grevy's zebra has a very narrow black and white striping of the fur in comparison to other species of zebra. The pattern here is as unique to each animal as finger prints are to us humans – no two patterns of fur are identical across the species. The striping really does act as the perfect invisibility cloak because it disbands the body contours from long distances in shimmering heat. Zoo Berlin supports the development of a stripe database for monitoring individual zebras in Kenya.


Did you know that ...

... Grévy's zebras have the prettiest and densest pattern of stripes,
... they can reach a speed up to 80 km/h when chased,
... they are the largest species of zebra?

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