CapeNature committed to saving the Cape Mountain Zebra
Cape mountain zebras (CMZ) once roamed over most of the Western Cape’s mountainous areas where enough water, shelter and grazing were found. However, illegal hunting and competition for natural grazing with livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, saw their numbers plummet until conservation measures managed to reverse the trend.
During the 1950s, the Cape mountain zebra was reduced to a mere 80 individuals. However, the conservation efforts by provincial reserves and national parks have paid off. The Mountain Zebra National Park at Cradock, proclaimed in 1937, was the first reserve to offer them protection. Various conservation programmes, such as re-establishing them at De Hoop Nature Reserve in the 1960s, were established.
Today the total global population is estimated between 3500 and 4000 CMZ in total and is therefore listed as threatened.
The Mountain Zebra Working Group, initiated by CapeNature (the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board as it was known then) and South African National Parks, is responsible for determining priorities for its conservation.
Major threats to these animals include the possibility of hybridisation with Hartmann’s mountain zebra, as well as the loss of genetic diversity within and between the various populations.
CapeNature, the conservation authority for the Western Cape, today aims to ensure effective management of on- and off-reserve Cape mountain zebra populations. The organisation has also identified the need to investigate incentivising the “stocking” of Cape mountain zebra on private land and are dedicated to providing management support.
Having partnered with Perdeberg Winery, CapeNature is committed to establishing and maintaining collaborations and partnerships with organisations, research institutions and other entities with vested interests in the conservation of Cape mountain zebra and to contribute to creating awareness.