Our trek to Africa yielded a multitude of animal encounters. Our first experience was a trip to Lilayi Elephant Nursery where we saw the baby elephants fed. They receive a giant baby bottle filled with a special formula every 3 hours. It takes them about 90 seconds to consume it! This orphanage—all the babies are rescues after their mothers had been killed by poachers— is one of the projects of the Game Rangers International, established with the intent to preserve wildlife and resources.
The adventure we had at Victoria Falls probably warrants its own blog. But I must include here the ginormous giraffe who nearly trampled us in its effort to reach a particularly appealing tree whose leaves apparently were irresistible. I had no grasp of how large giraffes are. The zebras were most fascinating to me. They were everywhere at Avani where we were staying, grazing on the grounds, unperturbed by our presence, quite indifferent.
My zebra fascination led me to explore further information when I returned. Found throughout different regions of Africa, the three living species of zebra are the plains zebra, the mountain zebra, and the Grévy’s zebra. All three belong to the genus Equus, which also includes horses and donkeys.
The Grévy zebra, found only in Ethiopia and Kenya, is named for Jules Grévy, a 19th century French president who received one from Abyssinia as a gift. It is the largest of the three, weighing as much as 1,000 pounds. Plains zebras are a bit smaller, weighing up to 850 pounds. They have a range that extends from South Sudan and southern Ethiopia to northern portions of South Africa. The smallest species, the mountain zebra, weighs as much as 800 pounds and is found in South Africa, Namibia, and Angola.
The width and pattern of zebra stripes vary widely by species. The Grevy’s zebra has narrow vertical stripes covering its entire body, including its ears and mane. The striping pattern of the plains zebra varies by location; they have either black striping and a primarily white body color, or lighter, dark brown stripes overall. Mountain zebras have a white or off-white body color with black or deep brown body stripes that are spaced close together. They do not have stripes on their bellies, and those on their head and body are narrower than the ones on their rump. Even within each species, no two zebras have the same stripes; they are as unique as fingerprints.
Stay tuned for next blog for more on our African adventure!
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Zebras have been bred with horses and donkeys which results in zedonks, zorses and zonies….
*Zebra information obtained from Treehugger site.