The mountain zebra (Equus zebra) is a species of zebra that is notable for its comparably smaller body frame. These diurnal and herbivorous zebras consume diets full of grass, foliage, bark, grains, seeds and nuts, and roam and live throughout the southwestern region of Africa -- particularly in rugged mountain environments, as their names signify.
Mountain Zebra Geography
Mountain zebras live exclusively in southern Africa. A couple of different mountain zebra subspecies exist, which are Hartmann's mountain zebras (Equus zebra hartmannae) and Cape mountain zebras (Equus zebra zebra). The former resides both in South Africa, in the western region of Namibia and in the very southwestern portion of Angola, while the latter lives solely in South Africa. Hartmann's mountain zebra lives in South Africa's Namaqualand, while the Cape mountain zebra lives in the nation's Western and Eastern Cape provinces.
Natural Habit of the Mountain Zebra
Mountain zebras typically live on plateaus and in mountains. Slopes are a particularly common setting for these zebras. They also sometimes inhabit arid semidesert and desert regions, as well. Hartmann's mountain zebras also spend time in salt flat areas, too, usually on quests to track down grass. Cape mountain zebras frequently remain in areas with elevations as high as 6,562 feet, but during the wintertime generally travel to locations of reduced altitudes. True to their names, mountain zebras are usually very skilled at rock climbing, and tend to be very comfortable on rocky and rugged grounds.
Mountain Zebra Population Status
Mountain zebras are a "vulnerable" animal species, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as of 2008. Ruination of habitat is a risk for these zebras, particularly as a result of crop cultivation, agricultural expansion, invasive pests and the presence of domestic cattle. Hunting is also a problem for mountain zebras, along with extended dry spells.
Predators of the Mountain Zebra
Habitat loss is just one of the problems that mountain zebras face in their environments. The social equines also have a wide array of predators. The many common predators of the mountain zebra include spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, lions and hunting dogs, among others.