Date Published: March 2011
The Plains zebra (Equus quagga) is one of three zebra species in the world. It has previously been called 'Burchell's zebra' (E. burchelli), however recent genetics-based research has shown Burchell's zebra to be a subspecies of the Plain's zebra.
The Plains zebra is native to eastern, southern and western Africa, and has been re-introduced into private properties and reserves to restock populations. No exotic populations have been noted.
The species is closely related to horses and donkeys, and feeds primarily on grass. It is unlikely to have an impact on agriculture, although an exotic population in Tasmania has the potential to impact on threatened lowland grassland communities through heavy grazing. Modelling suggests that Tasmania's climate is moderately suitable for this species.
The Plains zebra is currently listed as a species of 'least concern' under the IUCN Red List, with primary threats including overhunting and habitat loss. As E. burchelli, the species is listed as an 'extreme' threat under the Vertebrate Pest Committee's threat categories, and live specimens may be imported for non-commercial purposes (i.e. zoos) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Plains zebras are 'controlled animals' under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002.
This risk assessment concludes that Plains zebras are a moderate threat to Tasmania and recommends that imports be restricted to those license holders approved for keeping moderate threat species.
Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) (1Mb)