Grevy's Zebra

Grevy's Zebra

[ Equus grevyi ]

Quick Facts

HEIGHT:  4'7" to 5'3" feet

770 to 990 pounds

WILD DIET: Forbs, grasses
ZOO DIET: Grass hay, herbivore feed pellets, and carrots and apples
DISTRIBUTION: Kenya and Ethiopia and limited population in southern Sudan; In the late 1970’s there was an estimate 15,000 Grevy’s zebras while recent estimate are as low as 2,800; biggest threats are hunting for meat and loss of access to critical resources due to competition from domestic livestock particularly in years of drought.

HABITAT: Arid and semi-arid grass and shrubland


Also known as the "imperial zebra," the name "Grevy's zebra" was derived a historical political gift. French president Jules Grevy in 1882 was gifited with a this species of zebra by Menelik II, King of Abyssina and is the origin of the species name.

Grevy's zebras have large heads,  brush-like erect manes, and round ears. They have narrow, concentric stripes as well as a dorsal stripe and a brown nose. Their bellies are white, without stripes. Zebras may recognize each other by their stripes.  Like human fingerprints, no two zebra's stripes are alike. An individual zebra even has a different stripe pattern on each side of its body.

Stripes may help protect zebras from predators by serving as camouflage. Lions and African wild dogs lack color vision and see the world in black and white. To these predators, the zebra's irregular stripe patterns may blend into the background of tall grass or scrub, particularly in the shimmering heat haze of the African savannah. They walk, trot, and canter, like many other equines. They make a deep, resonant bray, which helps locate other zebras over long distances.

Grevy's zebras are grazers and browsers. They focus mainly on grass, though they will eat leaves from shrubs; these leaves can make up to 30% of a zebra's diet. Herds are threatened by land degradation, which reduces the resources available to them. Females may have to travel long distances to find water, which can be fatal to foals who cannot keep up or are malnourished by poor milk (caused by their mother's lack of water).

Grevy's zebras are currently listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  To help ensure the servival of this species, Brookfield Zoo helps to cooperatively manage Grevy's zebras through a Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.  Under this plan, zoos strive to protect the Grevy's zebra from extinction through long-term captive breeding.


Brookfield Zoo currently has 4 Grevy's zebras - three females and one male.


Get Involved

Conservation Fund of the Chicago Zoological Society