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Discovering tomorrow

Centre for African Conservation Ecology

14/08/2015

The findings of a status survey of the Cape Mountain Zebra have been released in the form of an ACE report (#63) by Halszka Hrabar and Graham Kerley.  Given the endemic status of the Cape Mountain Zebra, this comprises a global status report. The survey showed that the global population of Cape Mountain Zebra is now at least 4 791 individuals, spread over no less than 75 subpopulations. This is a gratifying recovery from the population nadir of less than 80 individuals in the 1950s, and the previous ACE survey (ACE Report #59) which in 2009 provided a minimum estimate of 2790 Cape Mountain Zebra. There has been an annual increase of 9.2% in zebra numbers since 2009.

The populations are spread between state reserves (17 populations, and 69% of the global population) and private land (56 populations), emphasizing the role of private landowners in establishing new populations of Cape Mountain Zebra.

The report highlights a number of concerns, including the lack of mixing of the original three relict populations, the large number of small, isolated sub-populations, particularly on private land, and hybridization with plains zebra. So while numbers of Cape Mountain Zebra are apparently growing comfortably, the subspecies is at increasing risk of genetic threats. These need to be addressed urgently, as identified in the report.

ACE thanks Wildlife Ranching South Africa for supporting this survey and all the CMZ  managers and landowners for providing data.