The hide of a zebra is one of the most striking and memorable souvenirs of an African safari, even if you have actually never been on one.
There are several versions as to the natural purpose of why the zebra has stripes: one of the more credulous being against predators. When thrown into a herd of zebras, it is impossible to concentrate one’s focus on any one of them, for everything immediately starts flashing around. I don’t exactly know why, as I have never put myself in the skin of a lion pretending to hunt for a zebra, but when you do land up among a large herd, then one’s head really does start to hurt with stripes running and flashing around all over the place.
The African (plain) zebra or Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga burchellii) has a wide natural habitat and covers southern and eastern Africa.Burchell’s zebra doesn’t figure on the list of protected species and goods that are derived from them are permitted for export sales.
Burchell' Zebra - Equus burchelli
Hartmann' Zebra - Equus hartmanni
What must be said, is that the strips of a zebra, just like human fingerprints are always unique. I would also like to mention that a zebra constantly has to fight for survival from the masses of wild animals that surround it, which is why those in the designer world value hides which still have stripes on them, scars from lions claws, marks from hyena fangs or acacia thorns. These are what give a hide its individuality, its brand personality, and safari charm of your unintentional familiarization with ‘wildlife’.
The Hartman zebra, Equus zebra hartmannae, or ‘mountain zebra’ (pictured above right) – is a protected species in South Africa, however, there is a surplus of animals which can be found in Namibia and Botswana, from where they are exported to the south, to Europe and America. The size of a zebra hide can reach 2.25 m from its nose to its hind legs, plus about 30 – 40cm of tail.
There is a contingency against all illegal exports of any species of zebra, our partners, however, are officially certified suppliers and taxidermists of the national organization CITES. If we ourselves shoot off animals, please be assured that this is done with utmost care, practically painless for the animal and without detriment to the populations in this or the other nature reserve and also under observance of all legal and ethical instances.
Please may remind you of the beautiful antelope: which has enough names to make your head spin, impala, springbok, wildebeest-gnu, suni, hartebeest, bushbuck, duiker and many more. One day, they will all, in one way or another, become deprived of their hides, some of which could well become yours!
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© Tokkroos Safari, 2013