Grévys Zebra now protected in Kenya by Samburu Warriors

Grevy's zebra rolling in dust at dawn (Equus grevyi), Samburu National Reserve, Kenya (Photograph by James Warwick /
Grevy’s zebra rolling in dust at dawn (Equus grevyi), Samburu National Reserve, Kenya (Photograph by James Warwick /

More closely related to an ass than a horse, the Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) is the world’s largest living wild equid.

The Grevy’s zebra has a stripe pattern as unique as a human fingerprint, and large round ears. Once used in Roman circuses, it was forgotten by the western world for a millennium, until it was named after a 19th century French President who had been given one by the Emperor of Abyssinia. Today, Grevy’s zebras are Africa’s most endangered large mammal and can now only be found in northern Kenya and southern and eastern Ethiopia.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the global population was estimated at approximately 15,000 animals; today, it is thought that no more than 2,500 roam across the arid grass and scrubland habitat of its Horn of Africa range. Numbers have plummeted by up to 87%, primarily due to poaching, loss of habitat and access to water and hot droughts.

But dedicated efforts by conservationists including the Grevys Zebra Trust (GZT) means that prospects are finally improving for the animal. Aware that, “Conservation of the species cannot be viewed in isolation of local people,” as Belinda Low, Executive Director of Grévy’s Zebra Trust says, GZT recently launched an initiative with warriors from the indigenous Samburu and Rendille tribes. The ‘Grévy’s Zebra Warriors’ (GZT) monitor Grevy’s zebra, raise awareness, and provide protection to the species. They are trained in GPS skills, datasheet recording and photography. “Working with local pastoral communities is critical to the long-term survival of Grévy’s zebra,” says Belinda. “Their outreach to communities has created a large network of local support through which conservation messaging is disseminated and practical conservation action, including dry season water management, —> Read More