Equus zebra hartmannae
With stallions weighing around 300kg and standing 1.5m high at the shoulder, the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra is slightly larger than its close relative, the Cape Mountain Zebra. They share a similar liking for arid, broken terrain, though Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra will also exploit sandy plains adjacent to their preferred rocky, hilly abodes. Mountain Zebras are almost exclusively grazers and require regular access to a reliable water source – Hartmann’s Zebras have been known to dig wells in dry riverbeds to access clean water.
Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras occur in small family groups consisting of a dominant stallion, up to 5 mares and their offspring of various ages that may roam over vast areas. Unattached adult males come together in bachelor groups until they can establish a group of their own. Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras are diurnal animals and will rest in the shade during the heat of the day. Foals may be born at anytime of year, though there is a peak in births during the wetter summer months.
The Augrabies Falls National Park (where the herd below was photographed) is one of only two national parks in South Africa where a small population of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra can be seen – the other is the Richtersveld National Park. Small herds can also be found in a handful of provincially managed reserves and private farms in South Africa (the latter also outside the natural range of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, posing a risk of crossbreeding with the Cape Mountain Zebra). The total population of the subspecies was estimated at around 25,000 (of which 8,300 mature animals) in 1998, with the majority of these occurring in neighbouring Namibia. The IUCN considers the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra to be vulnerable, siting a probably declining population.
One of the protected areas outside the natural distribution of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra where it can be seen is the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve in South Africa’s Gauteng Province.