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WHY DO ZEBRAS HAVE STRIPES?  We can learn from zebras about abuse.   How?  Click ZEBRAS!


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If you or a friend has been abused, talking to a trusted adult is smart and good.  Remember someone being hurt is never good.  Click here to learn more.

Be a Zebra
Zebra Couple

Why do zebras have stripes?

There are several theories.  One is that when the zebras pack together as a group, predators get confused.   A lion might be dazzled by a big pile of crisscrossing lines, not knowing where one zebra ends and another begins. For zebras, there is safety in numbers.


Zebras do not stay alone with animals that hurt them; they go back to the herd. 

Zebras are “horses in pajamas” - they are both members of the Equidae family (known as equids)

That's the WHY.  But the HOW do they come together?

So, say you are a zebra, happily eating in the grass.  You hear a lion growl.  What do you do?


A world-renowned scientist named Dan Rubenstein studies zebra behavior.  His team built an artificial lion built on a robot frame - he calls this the ROBO-LION.   Using a remote, his team drives the Robo-lion into herds of African zebras to understand zebras’ evasive actions to a danger.    He uses data from flying drones to create computer models to understand this behavior.

What does the science say?  Zebras are social, protective animals like us.   As zebra herds run from the danger, they protect the young.   At the first sight of danger, the young zebras start to gallop away, followed by the mother zebras to help guide them.   Other members of the herd follow.   The male parent zebras follow last.  This approach maximizes the protection of the younger zebras.

The young are protected by a tightly moving group and are safely kept furthest from the lions. 


What is child abuse?

Abuse happens when someone hurts us physically, bullies us, or touches us in a private place. Abuse is wrong because it is against the rules and it can cause harm to you or to others.


What do you do if abused? (Hint: Think zebra)

If you are being abused, find a trusted adult and tell them about your situation.  You find protection from the adults who take care of you and that you trust - like a zebra!   Abuse is a grown-up problem, and it’s our job to help.   If you don't find an adult that believes you, find another trusted adult and tell them.  


Some examples of trusted adults?  

 A trusted adult is someone you know has got your back. This could be your mom and dad, a teacher, a grandparent, school guidance counselor, doctor.  These are the people who care about you and want to help you.  They are the adults in your herd.

What if your friend tells you they are abused?


Remain calm & comforting.  It’s hard to speak up about abuse, so make sure they know you care about their feelings.   Help them find a trusted adult that can help stop the abuse. You can go with them when they tell.

Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya

Summary:  What can we learn from zebras? 

1. If in danger, get help from a safe, trusted adult. Speak up!


2. Do not be alone with anyone who hurts you. Go to the herd!

Who to talk to?
Who do I talk to?

Abuse can be both physical or emotional.   It can happen on and offline.  

Do not be alone with anyone who hurts you.

There are people who care about you and want to help.  The best thing to do if you or your friend is abused?  Find an adult you trust and tell them what is happening. If they don’t believe you, keep telling other adults until someone does believe you.

A trusted adult can be a teacher, a mom or dad, a doctor, a policeman... or a Childhelp hotline counselor at the phone number below.

If one of your friends tells you they are being abused, comfort them! It’s hard to speak up about abuse, so make sure they know you care about their feelings.
But the most important thing to do is help them tell a trusted adult.

Abuse is serious, and no one should have to go through it by themselves.  No one has the right to abuse you or anyone you know.

You can always talk to or text  - for free - very nice experts at 1-800 422-4453.   There's more information if you click here.  

Remember if you are ever in immediate danger, call 911

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