Thu, Feb 06, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Visit zebras in the Year of the Horse: Taipei Zoo

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Chapman’s zebras, which do not only have black-and-white stripes, but also gray stripes, huddle in meager sunlight at the Taipei Zoo yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei Zoo

Other than visiting the panda cub Yuan Zai (圓仔), this year — the Year of the Horse — is a good time to see the different species of zebras at the Taipei Zoo.

The zoo’s first panda cub has attracted wide attention since its birth last year and broke the zoo’s daily visitor record over the past 10 years during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, drawing 68,188 visitors on Sunday.

However, aside from the black-and-white panda, visitors can also see the three species of zebras at the zoo.

The three species differ in terms of size, shape and stripes, the zoo said, adding that individual zebras belonging to the same species still differ in their stripe patterns.

Zebra stripe patterns are like human fingerprints, as each zebra has its own unique pattern, it said.

The Chapman’s zebra has three colors in its stripes: gray, black and white. The endangered Grevy’s zebra has the thinnest stripes and the largest body size, while the vulnerable Hartmann’s mountain zebra has the thickest stripes, the zoo added.

While a zebra’s black-and-white stripes may seem eye-catching, they can protect the zebra from predators, the zoo said.

By standing together in a group, the zebras appear to be melded together, creating the impression of a larger black-and-white animal, so that even lions find it difficult to discern which zebra to target as prey, the zoo said.

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