The Great Zebra Exodus

Zebra’s are an interesting animal, not a horse and not a donkey, they display strong family ties.  Behaviorist have found Zebras observe a close social hierarchy in which a single stallion is the head of each family unit.   As head of the families he takes charge and protects them from danger while still managing to share a bond with his harem of mares and foals. Not surprising, much like human behavior, not all the wives are equal. The most dominant mare will take the lead as the family groups make their way across the pans of Botswana, marching more than 2500 miles a year to feed themselves.

The dry season signals the start of the zebras’ march west toward the Boteti River for fresh drinking water.  Dust, hunger, exhaustion and lions lie in wait for the moving pack.  And they make this journey from the grazing land to the drinking water over and over everyday.  It’s a grueling routine, especially for the pregnant mares and older family members.  Finally the storm clouds return and the dry season ends.  Eventually, as the circle of life continues, the zebras will head home where they will welcome newborn foals to their families.

This is an interesting NATURE that helps to demystify the Zebra, at least this one herd.  The stunning visuals of Africa we see are an added bonus.  I hope you’ll tune-in or set your DVR for NATURE: THE GREAT ZEBRA EXODUS Wednesday, May 15 at 8pm on WOSU TV or catch the encore presentation on Thursday, May 16 at 8pm on WOSU PLUS.