They are unpredictable and are known to attack people. To be domesticated,
animals must meet certain criteria. For example, they must have
good disposition and should not panic under pressure.
Zebras' unpredictable nature and tendency to attack preclude them
from being good candidates for domestication. For more information
about the criteria for domestication see : The
Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Animal Attraction Fact
Why were so few animals domesticable?
While attempts at domestication have failed, some individuals have
had success training and even hybridizing zebras! Common zebra hybrids:
Zorse (horse + zebra) and Zonkey (donkey + zebra). Zebra hybridization
has actually been in existence at least a century. One of the pioneers
in the field was J.C. Ewart, author of The Penycuik Experiments
J.C. The Penycuik experiment. London, A and C Black,
1899. 177 p.
Edward. Animals in the service of man: 10,000 years of
domestication. London, Dent, 1972. 209 p.
Dorcas. A natural history of zebras. New York, Charles
Scribner's Son, c1976. 134 p.
Elizabeth Cary and William J. Sheffield. Exotics on the
range: the Texas example. College Station, Texas A&M
University Press, 1994. 254 p.
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Horses and their wild relatives. New York, Holiday House, c1981. 122 p.
Lynnette J. and Derek E. Tribe. Domestication, conservation,
and the use of animal resources. New York, Elsevier,
1983. 357 p.
more print resources...
Search on "domestic
animals," "domestication," "hybridization," and "zebras"
in the Library of Congress Online
on a tame zebra jumping a fence in East Africa. [between 1890
and 1923] Photographic print, LOT 11356-45 [item], LC-USZ62-40646,
(b&w film copy neg.), Prints
& Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
1899 photograph of a zebra-horse hybrid, or zorse, from J.C. Ewart's
Penycuik Experiments. "Romulus: one year old."
Eve, a baby zonkey. Photo courtesy of the American
Donkey and Mule Society.