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Mountain Zebra Project


Titre : Mountain Zebra Project

Pays/Région : Namibie

Date : 2005

Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae) is Namibia’s only large mammal endemic (except for small numbers in southern Angola and northern RSA) and is a Specially Protected Species in Namibia. It is a subspecies of mountain zebra and together with the Cape mountain zebra (E.z.zebra) in South Africa is of global conservation importance (IUCN Red List Category : Vulnerable). While Hartmann’s populations in Namibia are healthier and more widespread than Cape mountain zebra, they are vulnerable to severe droughts, particularly where fences prevent movement to scarce grazing.

The aim of the Mountain Zebra Project is to promote the study of mountain zebras for scientifically based population management and as a flagship species for wider ecosystem conservation in Namibia. Like many large mammals in human-dominated landscapes, mountain zebras have a complex relationship with people. They are a threatened sub-species and in places suffer from unsustainable exploitation, but they can also become locally abundant and cause overgrazing, particularly in the arid, fragile habitats that are typical of most of their range in Namibia and where their natural predators have been reduced or eliminated. In addition to their significance as an iconic member of Africa’s equids and deserving of conservation in their own right, they are also an economic resource of great value when properly managed. They represent a subtle variation on the equid theme and their biology, including the population processes that underpin variation in abundance contains many unsolved problems.

Zebra stripe patterns, like human fingerprints, are individually distinct and once photographed in a standardised way, animals can be followed throughout life. This allows an individual- based approach, a suite of techniques now widely used in behavioural and population biology, and provides the basis for quantifying such key processes as age-dependent survivorship which is needed to understand and model population dynamics. Mountain zebra are water-dependent and camera traps set at waterholes are being used to monitor entire populations and their movements, even those in inaccessible mountainous areas such as the Naukluft extension of the Namib-Naukluft NP, a mountainous area that was designated for mountain zebra conservation. Mountain zebra are also monitored in Etosha National Park with the help of ‘citizen scientists’. Visitors to the Park submit their photographs of mountain zebra and individual zebra are identified and used to track life-histories and for mark-recapture estimates of the population.

Partenaires  : Namibia Nature Foundation, Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Gondwana Canyon Park, Ai-Ais/Fish River National Park, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Büllsport Guest Farm, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Gondwana Namib Park, Solitaire Land Trust, Hobatere Tourist Concession and Etosha National Park, University of Newcastle.

Financement : Rufford Foundation, Parc Zoologique de Montpellier, Gaia Nature Fund.

Namibia Nature Foundation

Page publiée le 11 septembre 2022