The development that is characteristic of the modern world has come with its share of problems against nature. One of these problems is the numerous numbers of endangered species. Various materials have been written to cover the endangered species. However, there is very little material covering the mountain zebra in depth. This paper focuses on the mountain zebra entirely. All the resource and habitat needs of the zebra are outlined as well as the competitors for the same needs as the zebra. Also outlined are the steps that are been undertaken to preserver this endangered species (Barr, 1997).
Needs and Competition for Resources of the Mountain Zebra. As their name suggests, the mountain zebras prefer to habitat the mountain areas with lots of vegetation cover. However, they can also be found in other areas such as the woodlands and grasslands. Their eating habits mainly constitute tufted grass, roots and leaves. Since that leave in dry mountain areas, they are often seen digging the ground for drinking water (Barr, 1997). The mountain zebra is subject to both human and other carnivorous predators including the mountain lion. The hyena is also a constant threat to the survival of the zebra.
The mountain zebras are a rare species and therefore they do not crossbreed with other zebra species. Observers have identified that the female zebras, also known as the mares can give birth to one foal after within a period of 12 months. The mares are usually found in groups of five being led with a single male zebra, also known as the stallion. The young ones are observed to be capable of standing, running and feeding within hours after their birth. In most cases, the foals suckle their mothers for as long as a period of one year, and this period may vary from one mare to the next. (Penzhorn & University of Pretoria, 1999).
Why the Mountain Zebra Specie is Endangered. The mountain zebra is a herbivore and this means that it is lower in the list of the food chain. As a result, the specie is under constant threat from the higher members of the food chain such as the carnivores. The most notable threats to the endangered species are the lions and the hyenas that constantly hunt the zebra for food. However, humans are the greatest threat to the existence of the zebra in more than one way. Poachers hunt the zebra for its valuable components other than its delicious meat.
The skin of the zebra is a high target for poachers for its ornamental values (Grolier Educational Corporation, 1993). Other than poaching and predators, the other biggest threat to the zebras is human development. Population growth has led to encroachment into the forestland for habitation. The development of agriculture has not spared the forests either (Sheehan, 2009). The habitat of the zebras is endangered by these human activities, which have extended to the zebra’s habitat. Human development has also led to environmental pollution. Most of these animals are found dead after drinking water that has been polluted by chemical from industries. Global warming caused by harmful air pollution has also led to several deaths of the specie (Grolier Educational Corporation, 1993).
Efforts to Protect and Preserve the Mountain Zebra. The mountain zebra faced extinction as early as the 1930s. These periods saw only 100 mountain zebras remaining in the whole world. However, efforts from various groups spread across the world have helped in raising the number to over 2000 in the whole world. A number of zoos established in the southern African states as well as internationally are in the forefront in the campaign of saving the mountain zebra. One of the best efforts taken to save the species was the establishment of the endangered species act in the southern African states (Nagel, 1999). This act also propagated the formation of the mountain zebra national park.
These efforts have helped a great deal in increasing the population of the mountain zebras. Other than the zoos, a number of legal measures for the protection and preservation of the endangered species are available. One of the moist important ones is the international treaty forbidding the international trade on endangered species convention. This convention included 144 countries and it has witnessed more countries joining up the fight to protect endangered species (Grolier Educational Corporation, 1993). In this treaty, there are laws formed including a law forbidding commercial trade on endangered species worldwide. The mountain zebra was included in this list and as a result, there is high surveillance for threats to the species. A number of game parks and game reserves have also aided in the protection of the mountain zebras. Now about 1800 mountain zebras are protected within the confines of these institutions. Also available for this course is the worldwide cooperate for management of the population in the zoos. This organization accounts for the worldwide population of the endangered species including the mountain zebras (Nagel, 1999).
How the Efforts Fare in Protection and Preservation of the Mountain Zebra. Both humanitarian and governmental efforts are fighting a tough war to ensure the survival of the mountain zebras. The aim of all these groups and organizations is to eliminate the mountain zebra from the list of endangered species. The efforts of these groups have been rewarded with a significant increase in the number of the mountain zebra. The number has increases from an alarming 100 in the 1930s to about 3000 (Nagel, 1999). The number in the national parks is increasing steadily. The same results are obtained in the wild. However, these efforts are not enough to see off the mountain zebra from the Red List of endangered species. The increase in the number is very slow both in the wild as well as in the national parks and game reserves. Even though the increase in the animal protection centers such as the zoos, animal orphanage, national parks and game reserves is higher as compared to the number in the wild, the zebra is still not likely to beat the endangered species list (Sheehan, 2009).
Major Setbacks in Protecting the Mountain Zebra. The efforts in preserving and protecting the endangered mountain zebra are facing a number of challenges. The challenges range from resources, habitat as well as financial constraints. The habitat of the zebras is facing the highest challenge from both human and livestock. The livestock feed on the same grass that the zebra feeds on and thus there is a very big competition for food between the zebras and livestock. Humans also kill the zebras to avail more pastures for their livestock. The zebras also face a stiff challenge from human encroachment into their habitat. The agricultural sector has experienced vast growth in the recent past.
As a result, most of the natural habitat is being cleared up to make room for expansion of plantations as well as livestock ranches (Stevenson-Hamilton, 2011). This has resulted in a very big decrease in the size of the natural habitat. The zebras thus lack room for feeding as well as for breeding. The lack of living, feeding and breeding room is a major cause for the depreciation of the population of the zebras. Financial constraints also contribute to the hardships in the protection of the species. There is lack of enough financial back up to transport the species to protected areas. Financial setbacks also prevent the establishment of enough natural parks and game reserves for the protection of the species (South Africa, 2010).
Proposals to Save the Species. A number of options are available for the bodies involved in the protection and preservation efforts to saving the mountain zebra. One of the efforts that can be considered is the protection of the natural habitat of the zebras. The government as well as the nongovernmental organizations should set up measures to prevent human encroachment into the natural habitat of the zebras. Acts of parliament should come in aid of establishing lines beyond which no agricultural or any other human activities should exist. This will prevent agricultural expansion efforts by human beings from interfering with the natural habitat of the zebras. Protection of habitat should extend to prevention of industrial pollution of the habitat of the zebras (Stevenson-Hamilton, 2011). Environmental organization should monitor the amount of pollutants released from the industries into the air as well as into water channels. Industries should consider adopting sustainable business enterprises that are focusing on environmental protection. Another effort that can be taken for radical increment of the population of the species is engaging them in breeding programs. These programs will improve the rate of increment in the number of the species. More zoos should be constructed specifically or this species of zebras. The existing zoos should be upgrade to further aid in the protection of the zebra (Wagner, 2008).
The mountain zebra is facing a lot of competition for its habitat as well as its feeds. The species is endangered due to poaching activities as well as deterioration of the natural habitat. There are organizations that are gearing towards protecting and preserving the species. These organizations have led to the enactment of protection acts of parliament and the establishment of national parks. Setbacks to protection efforts include human development and financial constrains. Some of the proposals for saving the habitat include preservation of their natural habitat as well as increasing the breeding programs.