Plains zebra are the commonest grazers in the Nairobi National Park: we’ve got over 3,000 of them, which is a surprisingly large number given that the range available is adjacent to a city of 5m people & comprises not much more than 200 sq kilometres.
Tales of meat poaching are rampant & if these are to be believed, then zebra would be a major target for illegal hunters. As it is, numbers are holding up well & this year, at the end of a very dry period for the ecosystem, the only grass bank is within the boundaries of the park, which is besieged by hungry cattle.
Thankfully as the following pictures show, grass availability in the park is widespread for the grazers (both wild & domestic) but will it be enough until Rains come in October?
Here’s a zebra with unusual markings: a patch of spots on her back. Each zebra has a unique pattern of stripes, like human fingerprints….
With cattle having come into the park & environs from all over Kajiado district, there is precious little grazing in the dispersal area, so the zebra have responded by trekking into the park in numbers.
The plains zebra is extraordinarily well adapted to a nomadic, very social life on the African savannah. Unlike wildebeest, which have practically disappeared from the park ecosystem in recent years, zebra numbers might even be going UP!
Edging around the top of the Sosian valley to get to the short grass plains in the north of the park.
The zebra is ever on the move, restlessly moving to look for new pastures & able to make use of all types of grazing.The plains resound with the calls of the stallions trying to keep their family herds together “quagga, quagga……”. Strange to think that this superabundant mammal was completely eradicated in the Cape in the 19th century…..let us hope that the same fate does not await our maginificent wild equines.
Below a herd of zebra in a sea of grass with the Ngong Hills in the distance, to the east of the park.