Thursday, March 1, 2007

Cuddling zebras

The picture shown below I took in Etosha NP, in Namibia on 31st of August 2006. The striking thing about zebras is their high degree of sociability. Zebras pair up or form threesomes, cuddle and nibble legs, shoulders and necks of other zebras. They not only socialize with each other, but also with the other herbivores (mostly with wildebeasts and antelopes). We encountered a lonely zebra only once, and it clearly felt out of place.
Usually, zebras live in herds of 30 or more. There are two major types of herds: the family and the bachelor one. The family herd consists of one stallion that takes care of up to six mares and their foals. This herd is under constant attack from the side of males from bachelor herds who try to abduct sexually mature females.
I wonder how it happened that zebras and humans have such different family models.