On an overland trip through Namibia in the last few days we noticed a melanistic zebra at the widely acclaimed watering hole at Okaukeujo.
Having reported on the zebra with the “saddle” pattern in Hwange at Wilderness Safari’s Makololo Camp it was interesting to see this strange colouring.
We met up with the well known ecologist Roger Collinson who is currently working in Etosha and he had this to say;
“The “black” or melanistic (opposite to albino) zebra you saw are seen quite often in Etosha due to (for unknown reasons – perhaps just chance of genetic drift) a high frequency of melanism genes in the population.
Also, but unrelated to this there is some hybridization between planes and mountain zebra in West Etosha.”
ROGERS BIRD FACT
GREAT WHITE PELICAN
(Pelecanus ono crotalus)
The Pelican mostly breeds on coastal islands and estuaries.
Is an extremely large sea bird, especially adapted for harvesting fish.
The bird weighs in excess of 10kg and is well known for its very long beak and massive throat pouch. This is used for catching fish and also on occasion fresh rain water.
The great white Pelican grows to a length of about 1.8 meters and has a large wing span of nearly 3 meters. These broad wings are well adapted for souring and long distance flight. It is one of eight species globally.
They are known for communal hunting and breeding. There are air pockets between the skin, muscles and skeleton which allow the bird to sit high in the water. This minimises contact with potentially cold water, thereby reducing the need for extra energy expenditure.
At this stage in history our beautiful Great White Pelican does not appear to be threatened, however competition with human beings could be cause for concern.